While the Pac-12 has been decimated by departures — there are up to eight teams now leaving the league beginning next year — that attrition has at least left the potential for college football’s top two teams conferences out West to combine forces.
On Monday, Yahoo Sports’ Ross Dellenger reported that MWC presidents are meeting Monday night to discuss the conference’s “possible acquisition” of the four remaining schools in the Pac-12, specifically Oregon State and Washington State.
With Oregon and Washington headed to the Big Ten next year along with USC and UCLA, as well as Utah, Arizona, Arizona State and Colorado all joining the Big 12, that leaves just California, Stanford, Oregon State and Washington State in the Pac-12 beginning in 2024.
On Monday, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported that the ACC is having preliminary talks about potentially adding California and Stanford.
Even if Cal and Stanford weren’t on the table for a potential merge with the MWC, Oregon State and Washington State look like potential candidates for such a move.
Dellenger said a decision isn’t expected Monday night.
Consider Utah State’s Blake Anderson a fan if those talks lead to some sort of merger.
“I know our league has talked about maintaining its integrity and being ready for something like this. I know it makes way too much sense for us to partner up with the four teams that are left on the West Coast,” Anderson said during a team video segment shared on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“It just seems like the landscape that we’re in, that would make a lot of sense and have a lot of really competitive football and have a presence on the West Coast.”
That would not only be a boost for the Aggies, but also for annual MWC conference contenders like Boise State, Fresno State and San Diego State, among others.
“Personally, I would love to see it. I hope it happens. We’d be ready for it. We’ve played a lot of those teams already and played well,” Anderson said. “Our league has played well against that league. A merger sounds like it just makes a lot of sense for moving forward. We’ll see what happens.”
Utah State has had recent success against the two most likely merger candidates.
Historically, Utah State and Oregon State have played just four times, with the Beavers holding a 3-1 series edge. When they met recently, though, the Aggies beat Oregon State in the 2021 LA Bowl. That year, Utah State won its first MWC championship.
Utah State and Washington State have split four total meetings, though again, the Aggies played (and beat) the Cougars in the 2021 season, the first game between the schools in 50 years.
The Aggies, meanwhile, have little history with Cal and Stanford. Utah State lost to the Cardinal in 1904 in the two programs’ only meeting, and the Aggies have never faced the Golden Bears.