USC, according to many sources, has grown to be upset with the Pac-12 for many reasons in the past few years. The biggest being that Southern Cal along with Oregon, UCLA, and Washington make as much or less revenue than smaller market schools in the Pac-12. The Athletic’s Andy Staples detailed his thoughts on what the Trojans should do moving forward in a podcast back in March of 2020.
Staples reminded listeners that in 2011, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott tried to raid the Big 12 to add the likes of Texas and Oklahoma among others to make a power league that would’ve been know as the Pac-16. The Big 12 and Pac-12 then ended talks prematurely and the move never happened. But, this time the Big 12 television contract ends a year before the Pac-12’s does. The Big 12 needs to do the same thing the Pac-12 did a decade ago. Big 12 leadership needs to be aggressive come 2023 and 2024 because the moves will never happen if they are not. If the moves go through (adding Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington, and Washington State), a conference network would not be the most enticing. USC would most likely love the idea of making something similar to The Longhorn Network so they can make not only that revenue but the revenue from being in a new sixteen team league. Here are the different ways the conference could look:
No divisions, everyone team plays their two rivals and rotates everyone else.
Or add more from the Big 12. I got this idea from a fishduck.com article. In this scenario, the Big 12 would keep West Virginia in the league, and split the so called “Big 16” into east and west divisions. California, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington State would be left out of the conference and would likely join the Mountain West. For future scheduling, teams like Oregon and Washington, who have left their instate rivals behind, can choose to schedule them during their nonconference slates. With the Pac-12 basically out of the window, the Rose Bowl would pick this conference up to match up with the Big Ten in Pasadena every January.
East:Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech, TCU, West Virginia
West: Arizona State, Arizona, Kansas, Kansas State, Oregon, UCLA, USC, Washington
Or, USC could join historic rival Notre Dame as an independent. If USC were to leave, “the conference of champions”, then Oregon and Washington would also likely consider it. If UCLA didn’t end up joining USC as an independent, the two schools would still likely play annually. USC would likely have to schedule a few more Pac-12 games and look elsewhere to finish out its schedules every year.