Washington Huskies: Realignment leaves UW with 3 options – #1 Stay in the Pac-12

Since USC and UCLA decided to leave the Pac-12 Conference last week, the Washington Huskies are at a crossroads. Option 1 is to stay put.

After the departures of Southern Cal and UCLA, the Pac-12 is obviously weakened. A situation that cuts into the Washington Huskies‘ prestige, recruiting, and, most importantly, revenue.

They have come to a fork in the road. Ahead there are three paths. One, they could stay in the conference they’ve been a part of for over a century (1917). Or maybe UW goes in another direction. Washington could wait for a Big Ten invite, or they could go to the Big 12.

We look at each option. First up is remaining in the Pac-12

Washington Huskies Stay Put

Remaining in the Pac-12 sounds easy, but it actually puts the most strain on the Washington Huskies athletic department. Monday, the conference said they are a full go to negotiate their next set of television contracts. But are they really?

Anyone who knows college sports also knows that Texas, Oklahoma, USC, and UCLA joining new conferences isn’t the end of this shakeup. More is coming. Television network executives know this too, which is why the Pac-12 won’t get a decent offer at this time.

There is no chance the Pac-12 will become Pac-10 again. In this environment, stagnancy means death. Especially with albatross known as the Pac-12 Network weighing them down.

Pac-12 Expansion

Additionally, the Pac-12 will have to expand to make up the media footprint they lost when the Los Angeles schools left. Although it’s impossible to replace the country’s number two media market, they can regain some of it.

The two top candidates from a media market perspective are San Diego State and Nevada-Las Vegas. San Diego is the 17th largest media market, and SDSU has a large presence in the greater L.A. area.

Vegas is less than a five-hour drive from Los Angeles. Also, it’s in one of the fastest-growing regions of the country. Although athletic success has been hard to come by in recent years for the Runnin’ Rebels, this school is a sleeping giant.

The best of the rest include Colorado State, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Fresno State, and Nevada.

With the exception of SDSU, none of these other schools do much to boost the Washington Huskies’ football profile. The rub against San Diego State is they are not a Tier 1 research university. That’s been a deal breaker for the Pac-12 in the past.


In this scenario, Washington becomes the big fish in a much smaller pond. For a year or two, it’s okay. But as the pond dries out due to external forces, like hungry gators picking off what’s left, sticking around living in that pond becomes less of an option.

Check back with us tomorrow for Part 2, Can the Washington Huskies play the long game.

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