Paul Finebaum considers why Big Ten would add Oregon, Washington

On3 imageby:Dan Morrison07/07/23


In the latest round of conference realignment, both Oregon and Washington have been rumored to want to leave the Pac-12. The main conference that the pair are rumored to want to go to is the Big Ten.

The question is then what do these schools add to the Big Ten? In the past, the Big Ten looked to add media markets, with schools like Rutgers filling in for New York. During an appearance on The Marchand and Ourand podcast, Paul Finebaum explained that adding those schools was a mistake but Washington and Oregon have their own appeal.

“You’re going to force me to admit that the Big Ten made a mistake with Maryland and Rutgers to get to this point,” Finebaum said while Ourand joked about Rutgers not deserving to be in the Big Ten.

“A couple years ago I landed blurry-eyed at 11:45 at LaGuardia, and the first thing I saw was ‘Welcome to Big Ten country,’ and I swear I don’t know how many drinks I’d had on the plane, but I could not come up with the Big Ten school that was connected to New York.”

Finebaum explained that he doesn’t think that the Big Ten needs to add any new schools. However, in the rush to expand, Oregon and Washington offer valuable viewers who care about what happens to those programs.

“But, I think, back to the question, they really don’t need them, and knowing the intricacies of conference realignment, it takes a long time to bring a school in. I’ve watched this in the SEC a couple of times,” Finebaum said.

“It’s a nightmare from a scheduling standpoint, but I think it’s a grab, right now, and they’re attractive. Why do you want them? Because people are interested in watching Oregon and Washington. They’re very big names and very big brands. And forget geography, we’ve exhausted that conversation.”

The Pac-12 is watching Colorado

One troubling situation for Pac-12 schools like Oregon and Washington has been the long and drawn-out process trying to find a new media deal. With reports that Colorado has had substantive talks with the Big 12, the entire conference is watching what Colorado does for the future.

ESPN’s Heather Dinich explained on SportsCenter.

“Well, everyone is still keeping an eye on Colorado to see whether or not they have the patience to wait to see if there is a new TV deal that is acceptable. But the bottom line here, Hannah, is that the presidents and chancellors need to see the money, show me the money, before we can make a decision and if it’s good enough, and on par with the Big 12,” Dinich said.

“They’re almost likely to stay intact and stay together. If they’re not satisfied with the Pac-12 TV deal. then you start to see deflection and all of those things can happen extremely quickly. But the order of events is the TV deal happens, then they need to sign the grant of rights. Who’s really in this thing, who’s showing their commitment that they’re talking about right now? And then they decide whether to stay or to leave.”