The Big Ten is expected to add Oregon and Washington to the conference and here’s what it means for Michigan football.
The college football world is changing. The Pac-12 appears to be in its final moments, as the conference has been unable to satisfy its members financially. It’s disappointing to see the traditions of college football come to an end, but it’s also a very exciting time.
After adding USC and UCLA, it now appears that the Big Ten will be poaching Oregon and Washington from the Pac-12 as well. The Big Ten has now poached arguably the top four football schools in the conference.
With Colorado and Arizona appearing to head to the Big 12 and others likely on their way out as well, 2023 will likely be the final season of the Pac-12. At least as we know it.
But what does all this poaching mean? What is its impact on Michigan football? Well, there are many consequences of the additions. Some good, some bad. In my opinion, there are more pros than cons, but in this article I’m going to outline them, allowing you to make the decision for yourself. Starting with the cons.
The Big Ten is going to be extremely tough to win. Michigan football is the favorite to win their third straight Big Ten title this season. With the heavyweight additions to the conference in 2024, it’s tough to envision such a stretch of dominance. Every season is going to be a bloodbath in the Big Ten, and I find it extremely unlikely that one team will be able to dominate consistently.
Yes, Michigan football will still have success and should make the 12-team playoff more times than not. But winning the conference will be a battle.
There are going to be seasons when Michigan football could have 8+ highly ranked opponents on the schedule. No matter how good of a team they are, there’s almost no chance of going through that without 1-2 losses.
Another negative here is that due to Michigan’s brand, they’re going to get the tougher matchups. The Big Ten makes more money when Michigan plays USC or Oregon versus Maryland or Rutgers. While it’s not fair, that’s how the business works. Expect Michigan to get tough schedules every season.
Recruiting could also be more difficult as well. Oregon is an NIL powerhouse. Now that they’re going to be in an elite conference, they’re likely going to see a big increase in interest from kids around the nation. They’re going to steal some recruits from Michigan and other programs around the nation that they would not have won in the Pac-12.
Traveling to and from the West Coast also has the potential to introduce new struggles and disadvantages to teams. It’s a big adjustment going from one coast to the other, and it’s going to be exhausting for the players.
I expect the Big Ten to address this and ensure that this is minimized, but it’s going to be existent. When a team travels to the West Coast, they’re going to be at a disadvantage. Likewise, West Coast teams will be at a disadvantage when they travel to the Midwest/East Coast.
Another small con is that this additional expansion likely means that Michigan football will be canceling its series against Texas and Oklahoma. It doesn’t make sense to add another ranked opponent to the schedule when there are likely going to be 10 conference games on the schedule.
While this isn’t too much of a con, it is a bit disappointing. Many fans were looking forward to those heavyweight matchups.
To me, those are the biggest cons. Now, let’s look at the pros!