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Conference Realignment: Pac-12 Expansion Could Reunite USC & UCLA With Cal & Stanford

The USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins could soon be reunited with their California brethren in Cal and Stanford in an expanded division if Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott can nail down expansion with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and potential other schools like Texas or Kansas.

The USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins might have had pretty big concerns about expanding the Pac-10 to twelve teams last season (especially regarding revenue sharing), but they've been quiet about the current movements that would suggest a Pac-14 or Pac-16 would be on the way. There might be some academic concerns (as would be expressed by Cal and Stanford), but for the most part neither school has addressed the issue since Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott decided to take a backseat to the current bartering between conference members. A vote is expected soon, and it's likely the Bruins and Trojans will try their best to take the side of the consensus. That consensus would in turn most likely approve the admission of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to the conference.

If expansion did take place, what would really concern USC & UCLA is the future status of their football rivalries with their fellow California schools. Even though the two schools were separated by conference last year, Cal and Stanford playing USC and UCLA every season was a salient provision of conference expansion to placate the four schools. It did seem to suggest that Commissioner Scott believed that a twelve-team conference was not the end-game, and that the California schools would eventually end up back together in subsequent realignment.

Here are potential arrangements.

  • If a Pac-16 comes into place, the original Pac-8 would be reconstituted with Cal, Stanford, USC and UCLA all in the same division with Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State.
  • If it's only the Pac-14, either a zipper format would be put in place with one Northern California school and one Southern California school in each of the two divisions. I'd imagine the same provisions would apply with the current Pac-12, where all California schools are guaranteed to play each other.
  • In a Pac-16, pod scheduling is likely in four-team units, and the California schools would all be paired together to guarantee they play each other every year.

Whatever happens with regard to future expansion, it's likely UCLA and USC will be willing to back whatever the commissioner wants.

For more on the Pac-12, head to Pacific Takes. Bruins Nation (UCLA) and Conquest Chronicles (USC) are also suggested destinations.