With recent news about the Big 12 potentially losing two of its biggest brands, it has become impossible to ignore the growing power of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in college football. In a move that shook the college football world, Oklahoma and Texas officially accepted invitations to join the SEC on July 30, effective July 1, 2025. This move signals the end of the Big 12 as a traditional power conference in college football.
Despite the additions of BYU, Houston, UCF and Cincinnati, these teams don’t represent the powers that Oklahoma and Texas do. With this massive change in college football, it is time to acknowledge the Power Five conference that finds itself in the worst position.
Meanwhile, it’s no secret: The PAC-12 has the weakest resume of any of the Power Five conferences, including the Big 12. Its last trip to the College Football Playoff was courtesy of the Washington Huskies in 2017, and the only other appearance came in the inaugural playoff for the Oregon Ducks.
The PAC-12 has long been the laughingstock of the Power Five and, with the changes in the landscape, it’s quite possible now is do or die time for the conference — especially with the way this season started. Oregon’s upset of Ohio State in Week Two followed UCLA’s victory over LSU in Week One, and both wins helped catapult the two teams up the standings. However, with UCLA’s loss last weekend, the window may be closing on the conference.
If the conference fails to return to the College Football Playoff this year, some of its bigger brands may question the viability of ever making it back. USC has long struggled to capitalize on the size of its brand, but if Texas wanting to leave the Big 12 after years of disappointment is any indication of what a brand can do for a school, the Trojans may be ready to high-tail it to a conference that will allow them to succeed.
Oregon may also be able to capitalize on the size of its fan base and brand in order to give itself a better opportunity to reach playoff success. With those two schools out, the PAC-12 would likely struggle to remain relevant in the college football landscape. Teams like Washington, ASU and Utah do not have the historic success to secure a playoff spot on their own, showing just how crucial this year is for the conference.