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The times, they are a-changing

What is next for the Big Ten now that USC and UCLA are officially members of the conference?

Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual - Oregon v Wisconsin Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Welcome to the new age of the Big Ten, Badger fans!

It had been a quiet few weeks in the sports world so it’s only fitting that something seismic was on its way. USC and UCLA are joining the Big Ten. My head is spinning. Nine months ago we were talking about how bad it was that Texas and Oklahoma were leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.

Remember the Alliance the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 had? It’s on fire somewhere between Chicago and Los Angeles right now. We aren’t surprised though, right? It was a laughable response to the SEC picking off the Big 12’s biggest revenue programs.

I am allowing myself to accept this for what it is, the end of another college football era. The Big Ten is no longer 14, it’s going to be 16…or more? At this point, things are very fluid but here is what I know is going to change.

The East-West divisional model is not going to work in the Big Ten as it stands today. There were talks earlier this off-season that this was going to change as soon as the 2023 season but with the addition of USC and UCLA, it might as well be a done deal.

Does the big ten move to a pod model similar to the ACC? Or is something totally new to college football on its way? Can we keep Minnesota and Iowa permanently on the Badgers schedule?

It’s fair to say that this is going to make it a lot harder to justify playing three non-conference opponents every year. Especially the ones against opponents that are from smaller schools. Yes, I hear the argument that those small schools need the game for revenue purposes but there is more money in an extra Big Ten game then there is in putting a crappy non-conference game on.

If you are offended by this, I am going to direct you to Ross Dellenger’s tweet on USC and UCLA making DOUBLE what they make in the Pac 12. It’s all about the money, folks. Maybe they keep one or two non conference games but I am struggling to see a way they keep three without adding another game to the season.

Big Ten recruiting is going to pick up on the West Coast. With that, NIL money is going to continue to ramp up at every school. It’s only natural that a lot of the recruits coming to the Big Ten have multiple Big Ten team offers.

Throw a few California schools in the mix and we’ll likely see more west coast recruits getting offers from schools like Wisconsin, Iowa, or Nebraska. To compete for those recruits with USC and UCLA, schools are going to need collectives and boosters to continue to find new ways to keep recruits interested.

Lastly, the Rose Bowl game (traditionally featuring a Big Ten school vs. a Pac-12 school) will either become even less important than it has been since the inception of the College Football Playoff, OR maybe it could become the new Big Ten Championship game destination?

Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual - Oregon v Wisconsin Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

No one needs to see the second place Big Ten school beat up on a weak Pac-12 championship team. Especially if the rumors about other Pac-12 schools like Oregon, Washington, or possibly Utah joining the Big Ten are true. Hopefully the game is able to move on from whatever is left of the Pac-12 and recreate itself, hopefully with at least one Big Ten school participating.

It’s the wild, wild west out here, people. All I know is that I am going to do my best to soak up every Big Ten game for the next two years before the addition of at least two and maybe four new schools join the party.