According to the Associated Press, the Big Ten voted to accept USC and UCLA into its conference starting in 2024.
So, barring any last minute shenanigans, the Bruins and Trojans are bailing on their feckless, drought-ridden conference and moving to greener pastures.
I’ve been screaming to the hills for over a year on how this needs to happen. Some suits in LA finally saw the light. But there are some heavy prices to pay. A Winners and Losers list, obviously, is warranted here.
Pac-12 fans who are vegans or diet conscious.
If the discriminating foodie in West LA is content noshing on sushi, Beyond Burgers and edamame, bring a sack lunch for those conference road trips. Stern-gating with salmon and chardonnay is out. Cheese curds in Wisconsin (hell yes) is in.
Travelling to Iowa will be a gastric delight: Pork, corn and yep, Scotcheroos are on the menu.
A road trip to the Hoosier state is not complete without corn and Sugar Dream pies. You’ve got Philly cheesesteaks and Shoo-fly pie in the great state of Pennsylvania—make sure you leave all your white tee shirts at home or you’ll blend in with the Penn State fans at a whiteout game.
A trip to the Big House is not complete without a chipati sandwich, Detroit-style pizza and Traverse City cherries! If you’re heading to The Shoe, Buckeye candy is in your future. But not before some Skyline chili.
Maryland has crab cakes to die for and New Jersey has chicken savoy, hot dogs and tomato pie. Finally, when in Chicago, no trip is complete without Chicago-style deep dish pizza, Italian Beef sandwiches, a Maxwell Street Polish or Portillo’s hot dog.
Me? I cannot wait to dig in to these treasures.
OK, we Californians love bragging about 80-degree weather in November. Northwestern fans cannot wait for this experience until they find out just how much this experience will cost them! But back to this weather thing.
We really do not own any rain gear—we drive to CVS to buy an umbrella when we get caught in a downpour while our Mercedes Benz’s top is down . We don’t own coats—we wear sweatshirts with our favorite cannabis store’s logo on them. Anyhow, just a heads up for the average USC and UCLA fan: start shopping for some late-fall clothes now.
OUT: bikini tops, tank tops, Daisy Dukes, sundresses or flip flops.
IN: down coats, gloves, balaclavas (admit it, you don’t know what those are), flannel-lined jeans and a raincoat that is not made out of Saran wrap or a trash bag.
We are not sure of the current state laws but don’t count on a cannabis delivery service while staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Happy Valley.
Side note: weed is legal in Michigan, New Jersey and Illinois. All of a sudden that weekender to Rutgers is looking pretty good, isn’t it?
The fans who leave early to beat traffic
We get it. Unless the Trojans or Bruins are in a close game (which lately has been a thing), nobody stays until the last tic of the clock. The beach, mountains, desert, LA Live, The OC and freeway traffic await. Heck, it takes an hour just to get out of the parking lots. Unfortunately, popping out of your seat in the third or fourth quarter at the Big House, for example, is not advised.
These people are real football fans. The worse the weather elements, the better the Big Ten game. Remember people, Ohio State fans love three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust/mud/snow/sleet/ice/tornadoes/lightning/thunder.
Watching their team lose in a gut-wrenching manner is also part of the loyalty they show their teams. Some of their fans are literally famous for their reactions to a loss. It’s just best not to leave. Wallow in self-pity instead.
Rutgers and Illinois
The schedule just got a little tougher for those two teams. Sure, there’s always hope for a turnaround season but the last five years’ records of Rutgers (15-43) and Illinois (23-38) are not a good indicator.
Count on USC or UCLA to lose to one of them in the first season thereby inducing “Welcome to the Big Ten” signs.
USC and UCLA fans east of the Mississippi
The Pac-12 Networks are not available on satellite TV. Granted, more and more people are cutting the cord completely from cable TV. But satellite TV is still very important to many football fans, especially those who go to bars to watch games they cannot get on their own TVs.
The Big Ten Network is available on satellite TV. In fact, already there is an increase of questions on Google regarding the Big Ten Networks. In a very un-Larry Scott fashion, the Big Ten proclaimed that every sports fan should be able to watch their athletes compete.
Midwest and East Coast sun worshippers
Bring your sunblock, sunglasses, flip flops and jorts to So Cal and watch your team play in 80-degree weather.
Trojan and Bruin fans on a budget
Yes, Virginia, there are places that don’t charge $8.00 a gallon for gas. Nor $350 a night for a “decent” hotel. Fans will be shocked when they rent a car and have to gas it up—it will cost less than a Coliseum dog and Coors Light.
The Big Ten Giant Killers
Last year the Fighting Illini beat favored Nebraska, Penn State and Minnesota. Purdue beat favored Iowa, Nebraska and Michigan State. Let’s also not forget perennial favorite Indiana, who in 2020 beat Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin. Purdue beating USC and USC beating Ohio State is in the cards.
The fun never ends.
The Big Ten broadcasters pronouncing numerous Polynesian names
We know they try. And broadcasters do get a cheat sheet on how to pronounce potentially problematic names, especially Polynesian and African names. But during a broadcast, when you’re doing play-by-play, trying to say quickly, “Stanley Ta’ufo’ou and Tuli Tuipuluto in on the tackle” could be a mouthful. Perhaps, maybe… even entertaining?
Kind of like “Mosiula Tatupu tackled by Manu’ula Tuisosopo.” That really happened in the 1970’s. It was glorious. The broadcaster nailed it and he was pretty happy about it.
“No cupcakes” bragging rights for the Big Ten
Only three schools have never played an FCS team on its schedule: USC, UCLA and Notre Dame. UCLA has Alabama State on its schedule this year, so the Bruins get knocked off the list. That leaves USC and Notre Dame.
Don’t ruin it for us, guys. Make the Cardinal and Gold and the Big Ten proud.
Finally, I saved the best for last….
No more Pac-12 Officiating
Need I say more?