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Oregon State and Washington State: The Last Survivors in the Pac-12’s Collapse – What’s Next for Them?

As the Pac-12 conference crumbles, the future for Oregon State and Washington State looks uncertain. With the recent departures of Stanford and Cal to the ACC, the once-thriving conference is now reduced to just two teams.

Historical Context:

  • Not long ago, the Pac-12 boasted 12 teams.
  • A few weeks back, it had 11.
  • Just a month ago, it had four.
  • Now, only Oregon State and Washington State remain, and their options are limited.

Options for the Two Schools:

  • They initially hoped to rebuild a “Pac-4,” but that dream has faded.
  • The American Athletic Conference recently closed its doors to West Coast schools, leaving the two Pac-12 leftovers with two choices.
  • Choice 1: Attempt to recruit other schools to form a new Pac-12, which seems unlikely.
  • Choice 2: Search for a welcoming conference.

Priority Shift:

  • “Group of 5” options are available, but they aren’t the priority for Oregon State’s AD, Scott Barnes, who expressed this sentiment before their choices dwindled.

The Mountain West Option:

  • Appears to be the front-runner, offering some logistical advantages despite recent conference realignment decisions not always prioritizing logistics.
  • Conference commissioner Gloria Nevarez has already pitched the idea to both Oregon State and Washington State.
  • Joining the Mountain West would make them the conference’s 12th and 13th members.
  • Potential for regional matchups and reduced travel costs.
  • Financially, it’s a step down from the Pac-12, but it’s better than the alternative.
  • Reference to the media rights deal with CBS and Fox Sports that runs through 2025-26, providing each member school with $4 million annually.

Slim Possibilities:

  • Mention of the slim possibility of future conference realignment, offering another chance to improve their situation.
  • Alternatively, both schools could try to persuade Mountain West and AAC members to revive the Pac-12, but that’s a long shot.

Conclusion:

  • Reflecting on how conference realignment often has “winners” and “losers.”
  • Unfortunately, Oregon State and Washington State find themselves in the latter category, abandoned by their Pac-12 peers.
  • Now, it’s up to them to make the best of a challenging situation.
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