What would a Pac-12/Big 12/ACC super-merger look like?

Previously, we hypothesized what is a The Pac-12/Big 12 merger might look like, and there are reports that could happen. But some reports indicate the Pac-12 might be thinking even bigger, which may be a requirement when competing with the Big Ten and the SEC for TV money.

Could the Pac-12, Big 12 and ACC merge their most attractive schools into a super conference that could compete with the Big Ten and SEC for TV rights? One would have to believe that this crossed the minds of those responsible for these three conferences.

There’s also the possibility of the Pac-12 merging with the ACC and leaving the Big 12 out of sight, but we’ll explore that option another day. For now, we’re looking at the Pac-12/Big 12/ACC trifecta fusion.

The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami makes a suggestion:

And ESPN’s Pete Thamel offers a wide-ranging report on the situation against the Pac-12, the Big 12 and the CAC, and what each could do.

Here is an excerpt from that story regarding the Pac-12.

Obviously this league [the Pac-12] is the most vulnerable in the future. There isn’t a strong appetite among the remaining 10 members to add a few Mountain West schools like San Diego State or Boise State or WCC’s Gonzaga in basketball and private.

They want to think bigger, but the loss of USC and UCLA has resulted in a loss of leverage. Perhaps the most trying thing for Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff is that any school can leave without penalty after 2023. Just like USC and UCLA did. It is therefore difficult to poach when the contract leaves you vulnerable to poaching.

And later comes this projection. . .

For Kliavkoff to save the league, he needs to be aggressive and creative in some type of merger, because his league is hurt and the timing of the TV contract leaves them exposed.

Always remember that Fox and ESPN will play a major role in determining whether a conference merger can be finalized, and the Pac-12 has already begun these negotiations with the media.

OK, so let’s project what a Pac-12, Big 12, and ACC super-merger might look like, given that all 36 schools might not be included.

Format Option #1 – Two divisions of eight teams.

This would mirror Big Ten and SEC member totals from 2024, but eliminate more than half of Pac-12, Big 12 and ACC schools. Cal could be one of the eliminated schools in this scenario. Washington and Oregon would definitely be included, and Washington State and Oregon State would likely be dropped. That would leave the other Pac-12 schools — Cal, Stanford, Arizona State, Arizona, Utah and Colorado — in limbo.

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury-News has a pessimistic view of Cal’s football future, so the Golden Bears have to look for solutions like this.

Although football would be the driving force, basketball would have some consideration. For our purposes, we’ll assume Cal and Stanford would make the cut, but that’s not a certainty.

western division

cal

Stanford

Washington

Oregon

Arizona

Arizona State

BYU

TOS

.

Eastern Division

Clemson

state of florida

Miami

duke

North Carolina

Kansas

Cincinnati

Oklahoma State

In football, each team would play their seven division opponents, two rotating opponents from the other division, and three non-conference games. The two division winners would play for the conference title.

This format did not include Utah, Colorado, Louisville, Boston College, Houston, Texas Tech, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Virginia, among others, and any of them could be included instead from Cal and Stanford. This is why the following formats may be more appealing.

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Format Option #2 – Three Seven-Team Divisions

This would add five teams.

western division

cal

Stanford

Washington

Oregon

Arizona

Arizona State

TOS

.

Midwest Division

Utah

BYU

Kansas

Oklahoma State

Texas technology

Scroll to continue

Houston

Louisville

.

Eastern Division

Clemson

Cincinnati

state of florida

Miami

duke

North Carolina

Virginia

The teams would play six football games within the division, three against teams from the other division, and three non-conference games. The two division winners with the best records would play in the title match, or the three division winners and the best second-place team would play semi-final matches, with the winners playing each other in the title match ( assuming an additional match can be approved).

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Format Option #3 – Four Six-Team Splits

Pacific Department

cal

Stanford

Washington

Oregon

Arizona

Arizona State

.

Mountain Department

Utah

BYU

Colorado

TOS

Texas technology

Houston

.

Midwest Division

Kansas

Louisville

Iowa State

Oklahoma State

Cincinnati

Virginia

.

Eastern Division

Clemson

duke

North Carolina

state of florida

Miami

Syracuse

Teams would play each of their five divisional opponents, four rotating opponents from other divisions, and three non-conference games. The two division winners with the highest CFP ranking (or whatever the ranking system was at the time) would play for the conference title, or the four division winners would play semifinals, with those winners playing each other in the conference title game.

This model would have eight teams from the Pac-12, eight from the Big 12 and eight from the ACC, but some top-notch sports schools would still be left out.

Twenty-four teams would be a logistical challenge that might be untenable, but it might take something creative like that to land a lucrative TV deal.

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Cover photo by Kelley L Cox, USA TODAY Sports

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Valerie J. Wallis