Updated: Aug 4
Here we go again with conference realignment and this time an entire conference might be completely done with thanks to it. This whole round of conference realignment was started two years ago with Oklahoma and Texas announcing their intention to join the SEC. The Big Ten responded with USC and UCLA being taken from the Pac-12, and last week, Colorado joined the Big 12.
And now the Pac-12 is on the brink.
Update - 5:30 p.m. ET, Friday
With Oregon and Washington now headed to the Big Ten, attention has turned to the remaining schools.
Arizona, which has already been accepted into the Big 12, is expected to officially be announced on Saturday.
Also, the process has begun for Arizona State and Utah to be added as well.
Should Arizona, Arizona State and Utah head to the Big 12, it leaves just four remaining schools in the former Pac-12 - Cal, Stanford, Washington State and Oregon State.
Update - 12:40 p.m. ET, Friday
After some public posturing and back and forth, Oregon and Washington were officially invited to the Big Ten.
It is an insane reversal from just a few hours ago, when it was believed - whether realistic or not - that the Pac-12 could be held together.
They will become the 17th and 18th members of the Big Ten and begin league play in the 2024 season.
Update - 12:00 p.m. ET, Friday
After an early morning back-and-forth, it appear as though Oregon and Washington are again intent on looking into their options in the Big Ten.
UPDATE - 11:00 a.m. ET, Friday
After much fan-fare, the Pac-12 school Presidents largely came to no major resolution following their Friday morning board meeting.
Essentially, the decision all boils down to two separate issues.
The first, what's best for Oregon and Washington. The two schools are weighing the cost-benefit of taking a reduced share in the Big Ten, and the impacts of cost of travel, path to the expanded 12-team playoff and other variables.
Second, is the situation in Arizona, where the Board of Regents - which controls both Arizona and Arizona State are trying to figure out what's best for the pair. Arizona seems intent on leaving for the Big 12, while Arizona State has some hesitancy.
As always, we'll keep you updated as new information emerges.
UPDATE - 10 a.m. ET, Friday:
We have a major mid-morning, update on all things Pac-12, as it appears as though the league may be salvaged.
Multiple reports as of Friday morning, are that at least eight of the nine remaining schools will vote to stay together - and accept a largely-streaming Apple TV deal.
The genesis for the change, appears to be multi-fold.
First, as Yahoo's Ross Dellenger explains, no one party - be it Oregon and Washington, or Arizona and Arizona State - want to be seen as the ones who killed off the conference. There also appears to be hesitancy on further expansion from the Big Ten's perspective.
There are other variables too, including potential travel costs for Washington and Oregon - which would be especially hefty, with a potential partial share to the league.
Finally, there is access to the expanded College Football Playoff. Starting in 2024, there will be six automatic bids to the expanded 12-team field, making entry potentially easier from the Pac-12 than the Big 12 or certainly the Big Ten.
Despite it, it appears as though Arizona is still on board to leave the Pac-12 and head to the Big 12, in what appears to be a solo move.
We'll keep you updated as more information comes out.
UPDATE: 9:00 p.m. ET - THURSDAY
Arizona and Arizona State:
Arizona and Arizona State are primed to kick things off Thursday night for the Pac-12. Colorado may have gotten impatient, but now that the Arizona schools have seen the abysmal numbers from a potential Apple TV deal along with the fact that most of the games will be streaming and not linear it appears as though the two schools in the desert aren't happy.
And could be the next dominoes to fall.
A special Arizona Board of Regents meeting has been scheduled for Thursday night at 6 p.m. Arizona time. It is expected to bring some clarity to the overall situation and make sure everyone is on the same page with both Arizona schools making the jump.
It’s been reported by 247Sports, that Arizona State has made a complete 180 on the idea of joining the Big 12 and a lot of that has been because of how receptive Arizona has been to that idea and Arizona State fearing they might get left behind when it comes to money too.
A lot of media people nationally and locally think that an announcement is coming by Friday that both Arizona schools are joining the Big 12.
Utah seems like they are about to follow the Arizona schools and be the last piece to the four-corner school puzzle joining the Big 12. There seems to have also been a massive shift with Utah recently after the initial numbers were presented to the Pac-12 this week. Utah has been a great supporter of the Pac-12, and the thought was that they would like to stay, especially with a pathway for five automatic bids to the upcoming, expanded College Football Playoff.
But their hand is being forced, and like Arizona State, they don't want to get left behind.
The hatred for BYU is real and that has also been a major factor. Still, expect a board meeting to be announced sooner than later by the Utes and for them to also leave the Pac-12.
Oregon and Washington:
Washington and Oregon are the two biggest fish left in the Pac-12 and the Big Ten in circling with the conference on its deathbed. Dan Wetzel first reported that the Big Ten was looking at these two with the Pac-12 facing impending doom. The two schools have been vetted already by the conference and it seems like it’s only a matter of time before both decide to join and are accepted into the Big Ten.
Washington added another wrinkle to this by scheduling a Board of Regents Thursday night at 9 p.m. Washington time.
These two are massive schools and athletic brands and would be huge gets for the Big Ten to continue to grow.
It seems like Oregon has become the biggest factor in the entire Pac-12 and if the Ducks want to leave then the whole conference is done and blows up.
Stanford and Cal:
Stanford and Cal were in Wetzel's initial report, but it appears as though interest has cooled. While there's certianly interest from the school presidents in adding two high-achieving academic schools - and a pathway to the tech-rich Bay Area - there likely isn't much traction from the television networks.
If a Big Ten invite doesn't materialize, it'd be interesting to see what happens next.
Stanford seems like they would be fine as an independent, but Cal might be even more lost than they seem now. Cal football has struggled for a long time and Cal basketball is undergoing a rebuild. Stanford's two primary sports aren't significantly better, but again, it seems at least feasible that Stanford could try the independent route and hope for a Big Ten invite down the road.
The Bay Area schools are the biggest mystery when it comes to this because while they each have potential none of them have been able to reach that potential recently, on top of the fact that a lot of Stanford fans and Cal fans don’t share the same passion that others have in the conference.
Washington State and Oregon State
The two schools that seem like they might be stuck completely are Washington State and Oregon State. And it's unfortunate as Oregon State is coming off a 10-win season a year ago and has one of the brightest young coaches in the game in Jonathan Smith. Meanwhile, Washington State is coming off its own bowl appearance and appears settled under second-year head coach Jake Dicket.
In the age of media rights with conferences and branding, neither school offers much for any “Power” conference to be interested in. Both schools are very small and don’t have any sport where they become a massive factor in.
When the dust settles if you feel bad for any teams from the Pac-12, Oregon State and Washington State are it.
Follow Jake Faigus on Twitter - @Jake_Faigus