With their upcoming move to the Big Ten, USC and UCLA have received ample amounts of criticism regarding their complete lack of care for the student-athlete experience. Balancing academics and athletics is difficult enough, but throw in a routine of five-plus hour plane trips to the East Coast and you’re more of a traveler than a student.
Regardless, money seems to be winning and the Pac-12 could now be forced to take similar measures to stay alive. One potential option is a merger with the ACC. The Colorado Buffaloes, at least, would have a competitive advantage over the Pac-12’s remaining West Coast teams based on their location. Yet for those near the Pacific, this solution is far from perfect, even if it means keeping the Pac-12 “alive.”
Pat Rooney of Buffzone gave his thoughts on the Pac-12 merging with the ACC:
Perhaps more out-of-the-box than other solutions, but merging the west coast with the east coast again would allow the Pac-12 to keep pace with the SEC and Big Ten. The ACC also features larger TV markets than the Big 12 but, like the Pac-12, its football brand for any school not named Clemson has lagged in recent seasons. Travel would be more demanding, but at least CU is better situated for regular east coast trips than the bulk of its Pac-12 brethren. The unfortunate reality is that survival for the Pac-12 might require a coast-to-coast footprint, regardless of the scheduling demands that puts on most non-football sports.
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Each remaining Pac-12 team’s desirability rating according to Sports Illustrated