Jumping Ship

USC and UCLA planning 2024 exodus for the Big Ten, because nothing makes sense and everyone’s a traitor

Alright, that’s it. We’ve had it. Enough is enough. The straw just broke the camel’s back. The drop in the bucket just jumped the levee. After an endless parade of also-ran golfers ditching the PGA Tour for the LIV league seconds after saying they wouldn’t a la Saban’s Dolphins disasterclass, reports have now surfaced from the world of college football that USC and UCLA are plotting an audacious defection from the Pac-12 in 2024. Their rumored destination? The Big Ten.

Is there no limit to the treachery? Is there no empty, echoing bottom of the loyalty tank? Does tradition matter? Hell, does anything? At least when Oklahoma and Texas sickeningly joined hands to grab the SEC bag, it made some degree of geographic sense. There was some modicum of cultural logic. But if Wilner’s report is accurate—and the general consensus is that is—the premier universities of La La Land will soon be facing off against Purdue on Saturday mornings. They don’t even have avocados in West Lafayette. Golden Gophers fans think an “audition reel” is some kind of fishing pole. These teams may as well be playing different sports. Oh, and we say “mornings,” because Los Angeles is 2,767 miles and three damn time zones from Rutgers on the Big Ten’s other, only-slightly-less ridiculous edge.


Then there’s the Rose Bowl, which has been corrupted and co-opted by the College Football Playoff and is now poised to become what? A second Big Ten championship game? A biannual chance for USC to play actual rivals like Stanford and Oregon? Oh, and how about Lincoln Riley? This dude! It wasn’t enough to NetJet out of Oklahoma in the dead of the night, now he’s gotta have a mistress conference for his mistress conference. His dogs will still be named Boomer and Sooner by the time he’s two power fives removed from Norman. Whatever you do, do not let this guy’s daughters date your son.


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If the Big Ten really wants to expand, why not go for Pitt? Why not court West Virginia? These are working-class, rust-belt football programs that set up knock-down, drag-em-out rivalries for years to come. Instead we get Chip Kelly’s baby blue bear cubs and the school that produced two crappy Jets quarterbacks. Puke. But hey, whatever, that’s just our two cents. The future is a freight train that always leaves early and never arrives late. Maybe we just missed the boarding call. Maybe we’re just getting old. Or maybe, just maybe, we like Big Ten football the way it is.