Well, it might be time to say goodbye to the the Pac-12 – or Pac-9 or whatever it is anymore. The league is going, going … soon to be gone. If the Pac-9 were a horse, they would shoot it. The league has been seriously wounded and it’s difficult to imagine how it can be saved.

All that’s left for the schools who are clinging to the sinking ship is to jump over the side and find a new home, and with the Big Ten shopping on the West Coast that seems like a foregone conclusion.

For more than a year, the “Conference of Champions,” as it calls itself, has been trying to secure a long-term media rights deal — the lifeblood of college football. It is the only league among the Power Five conferences that has not obtained a long-term deal. With their current media rights deal expiring and other conferences securing lucrative deals through the end of the decade, the league has lost UCLA and USC. More recently, with TV negotiations dragging on, Colorado moved on as well.

Well, finally, something is happening. It has been reported this week that Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff is going to offer a proposal to the league’s school presidents. It’s a deal that is probably too little, too late.

According to ESPN, Kliavkoff is presenting a streaming arrangement with Apple TV, which consists of financial incentives based on the number of subscriptions league members can secure for Apple. A streaming-only deal is not welcome news for the league’s schools.

The problem, as @WestCoastCFB tweeted, is that diehard Pac-12 fans will subscribe to watch the games, but casual fans around the country will not. The league has several inherent problems anyway, not the least of which is its geographic location, where games are played too late for the rest of the country to watch even if they wanted to. And now the league has only nine teams (at best) to offer subscribers.

Related
Report: Big Ten exploring further expansion involving as many as 4 Pac-12 schools
Analysis: What a potential Apple TV deal could mean for the Pac-12
Pac-12 day of truth? Further Big 12 expansion could bring about big changes

The 108-year-old league of John Wooden, Marcus Allen, Lew Alcindor and Olympic track and swim champions, is toast. Washington and Oregon, which reportedly contacted the Big Ten when UCLA and USC made their move, are still in the Pac-12 but only because the Big Ten decided at that time not to expand.

It seemed inevitable that the Big Ten would change its mind given the vulnerability of the Pac-12, and sure enough the league reportedly has begun to consider further expansion. Yahoo reported that the league is considering the addition of as many as four Pac-12 schools — the no-brainers, Oregon and Washington, plus perhaps Cal and Stanford. That gives the Big Ten the West Coast. It’s just a matter of time before Utah and the Arizona schools flee to the Big 12.

College football is rapidly contracting from the Power Five to the Power 2 1/2, with the Big 12 losing Texas and Oklahoma, and the Pac-12 losing UCLA, USC and Colorado. The SEC and Big Ten are the big dogs, with the ACC yapping at their heels.

Shortly after USC announced it was leaving the Pac 12/9, athletic director Mike Bohn told the Los Angeles Times, “I don’t believe there’s a college administrator in the country that didn’t recognize that clearly there were two conferences that were separating themselves from everyone else.”

It seems likely those two conferences eventually will strike out on their own someday.

For its part, the Pac-12 has been getting outmaneuvered at every turn. While the Pac-12 dithered, the Big 12 picked up five new schools to replace Texas and Oklahoma — BYU, Central Florida, Houston, Cincinnati and now Colorado.

The Pac-12 could’ve turned to San Diego State, which seemed prepared to make the leap. In June, the school informed the Mountain West Conference that it was leaving the league, but two weeks later it decided to stay after it became clear that the Pac-12 was struggling to obtain a TV deal.

San Diego State was up against an MWC deadline that would’ve doubled its exit fee of about $17 million. MWC officials refused the school’s request for an extension (and why wouldn’t they?). Now San Diego State appears to be committed to the MWC for at least a couple of years; if the school decides to leave before then it would have to pay a buyout of $34 million.

SMU also was viewed as another potential replacement for the Pac-12, and there was mutual interest. But interest seems to have cooled at SMU since San Diego State pulled out.

Any way you cut it, the Pac-12’s inability to strike a TV rights deal in 13 months has been costly — the loss of two schools to the Big Ten, the loss of one school to the Big 12, the loss of replacement schools. And it seems inevitable the league is going to take some more hits in the ruthless business of college football.

The field at Sun Devil Stadium bears a Pac-12 logo during an NCAA college football game between Arizona State and Kent State in Tempe, Ariz., Aug. 29, 2019. | Ralph Freso, Associated Press