Ohio State football vs. Oregon every year? Maybe not as Big Ten expansion talk cools

Colin Gay
The Columbus Dispatch

Big Ten expansion talks seem to be cooling down. 

After Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren hinted at expanding further into the Pac-12 during Big Ten football media days along with bringing in USC and UCLA in 2024, the conference is no longer as interested in adding schools like California, Oregon, Stanford and Washington, per CBS Sports

The Big Ten instead has turned its focus on its new media deal in 2023, while still trying to bring in Notre Dame, which has an open invitation. However, stakeholders believe Notre Dame will remain independent. 

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Karl Benson, the former commissioner of the WAC, told CBS Sports that if the Big Ten added schools like Washington and Oregon along with UCLA and USC, further action could have been taken against Warren by the Pac-12. 

"Maybe the reason Washington and Oregon didn't go with USC and UCLA [to the Big Ten] at the same time is the fear of collusion," Benson said. "That's a legitimate concern of the damages that one conference does to another."

During the conference's media days, Warren said the Big Ten was "ahead of the curve" in terms of changes in the landscape of college athletics, including conference expansion

"Where expansion goes? I don't know," Warren said. "I do know this: it is important for all of us in business to realize that we are in a time of change. 

"I'm embracing change. I'm going to be very aggressive. We want to be aggressive in how we build this. We're in a stage of probably a five-year period of change." 

The Big Ten commissioner said athletics were a big component to the decision of adding USC and UCLA, along with academics and expanding the conference's footprint to the west coast. 

"I get asked every single day what's next," Warren said. "It may include future expansion. But it will be done for the right reasons at the right time.

"We will not expand just to expand. It will be strategic. It will add additional value to the conference."

Warren also confirmed that the Big Ten's next media rights deal is being "finalized" and will be announced soon. 

How many teams are in the Big Ten?

UCLA and USC will join these teams in the Big Ten to give the conference a total of 16 teams: 

East: 

  • Ohio State
  • Michigan
  • Michigan State
  • Penn State
  • Rutgers
  • Maryland 
  • Indiana

West

  • Wisconsin
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Minnesota 
  • Nebraska
  • Northwestern
  • Purdue

cgay@dispatch.com 

@_ColinGay

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