Big 12 Votes to Add Arizona After Colorado Leaves Pac-12

Posted on: August 4, 2023, 12:20h. 

Last updated on: August 4, 2023, 12:53h.

The University of Arizona could follow Colorado to the Big 12 conference, which could spark an exodus of Pac-12 schools willing to join the Big 12.

Fans at an Arizona football game unfurl a flag to support their team, but their days in the Pac-12 could be numbered if they join the Big 12. (Image: Getty)

A pair of super conferences, now dubbed the Power 2, have emerged due to aggressive expansion by the SEC and Big Ten.

The Big 12 embraced expansion efforts after the SEC lured away two of its original members, Texas and Oklahoma, who will join that conference in 2024. Cincinnati, Houston, BYU, and UCF joined the Big 12 starting this season, and the conference is currently 14 teams deep.

The Big 12 already poached Colorado from the Pac-12, and they are also interested in other teams from the four corner states, including Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah.

The Big 12 will say goodbye to Oklahoma and Texas next season, but they added Colorado and can remain at 14 teams if Arizona agrees to leave the Pac-12.

Pac-12 Weak After Losing USC, UCLA to Big Ten

The Pac-12’s current deal expires at the end of this upcoming season. Without a new deal on the horizon, UCLA and USC agreed to leave the Pac-12 last year and they will join the Big Ten next season. Colorado left for the Big 12 for similar financial reasons.

The Big Ten is exploring another expansion out West, and they’re targeting four other Pac-12 schools, including Washington, Oregon, Stanford, and Cal Berkley.

Pac-12 conference officials have a potential deal to stream games on Apple+, but that new contract isn’t as lucrative as the $8 billion deal the Big Ten signed with its network partners. It’s also not even close to the $2.2 billion extension that the Big 12 inked with ESPN and Fox last October.

While the Big Ten potentially gobbles up four teams from the Pac-12, the Big 12 is targeting three more Pac-12 teams to expand its conference.

The Pac-12 is doing everything in its power to prevent the conference from breaking up.

Colorado Leaves for Big 12, Arizona Schools Next?

Colorado was the first Pac-12 team to leave for the Big 12. The Buffs were previously in Big Eight for nearly a half-decade, which was the precursor to the Big 12. They were a member of the Big 12 for 14 years before they joined the Pac-12 after the 2010 season.

With Colorado returning to the Big 12, the Pac-12 was down to nine original teams after USC and UCLA bolted for Big Ten.

On Thursday, Big 12 officials and school chancellors voted to approve Arizona joining the conference in their latest expansion efforts.

Arizona’s Board of Regents met on Thursday night. While Arizona wants to join the Big 12, Arizona State is a staunch supporter of the Pac-12. The Board of Regents doesn’t want to split up the intrastate rivalry and prefers that Arizona and Arizona State play in the same conference.

Arizona State has been a loyal member of the Pac-12. The lackluster Apple+ deal, the departure of Colorado, and the addition of Arizona could change Arizona State’s mind.

Utah is also on the fence and knows it must pick a side before other schools from the East make a pitch, or the two Pac-12 teams without a suitor, Oregon State and Washington State, cozy up to Big 12 officials.

ACC Shakeup Coming?

The emergence of the Power 2 with the creation of the SEC and Big Ten super-conferences generated a tsunami of problems for the other original Power Five conferences. With the Pac-12 facing its own problems and losing members, the ACC has multiple schools that are unhappy with their unfavorable TV deals.

Several big-time football programs in the ACC would like to leave the conference and join the SEC super conference. Florida State, Clemson, and Miami want a bigger chunk of the SEC’s TV revenue.

In 2020, the SEC agreed to leave CBS for ESPN/Disney in a deal worth $3 billion and run through the 2033-34 season.

The ACC, which has 14 teams, has a TV deal with ESPN through 2033, which is approximately $400 million per year.

We of, course, are not satisfied with our current situation,” said FSU president Richard McCullough. “We love the ACC. We love our partners at ESPN. Our goal would be to continue to stay in the ACC, but staying in the ACC under the current situation is hard for us to figure out how we remain competitive unless there were a major change in the revenue distribution within the ACC conference itself.”

North Carolina is the fourth ACC school that could leave the conference in favor of the SEC.

If that happens, the ACC will attempt to lure Notre Dame to join the conference. It’s a far-fetched notion and seems like a Hail Mary effort, but the ACC is in big trouble if it loses three Florida-based schools to the SEC.

In the meantime, the Pac-12 is trying to work out a partnership with the ACC in an attempt to avoid losing any more teams to the Big Ten and Big 12.

Big 12 Futures: Last Hurrah for UT, OU

Texas and Oklahoma are the top two betting favorites to win the Big 12 Championship Game in their final season in the conference before they migrate to the SEC. Texas is +100 odds and ahead of Oklahoma (+340), Kansas State (+500), Texas Tech (+1200), TCU (+1600), Baylor (+1800), UCF (+3500), and Kansas (+3500).

Iowa State is a long shot to win the Big 12 title at +8000 odds. They won’t have starting quarterback Hunter Dekkers this season. Dekkers stepped away from the team after being charged in a sports betting sting.

Texas is +2200 odds to win the College Football Playoff national championship. They are the highest team from the Big 12 on DraftKings’ futures board, and listed ninth overall. Oklahoma is +6000 odds to win the national title, and they’re ranked #16 on the futures board.