It’s official: USC and UCLA are the newest Big Ten programs.
Both schools announced on Thursday evening that they have joined the Big Ten, starting with the 2024 football season.
The schools will be Big Ten members in all sports, but this move is all about football. It’s football that generates the enormous television revenues that enrich college administrators, and it’s football that motivates every conference realignment.
For the Big Ten, getting USC and UCLA is a huge step into the lucrative Los Angeles television market. For USC and UCLA, the move puts them squarely into the middle of one of the two major college football conferences.
With this move and the departure of Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 to the SEC, the Big Ten and SEC are now so far ahead of the other conferences that there really aren’t a “Power Five” anymore, but a Power Two, with the Big Ten and SEC serving as the marquee conferences in college football. It’s likely that more moves are coming, with the remaining top programs outside the Big Ten and SEC trying to join one of those two conferences, and the future of college football being centered around two major conferences that have far more resources than the rest.