Paul Finebaum predicts Pac-12 will collapse by 2026

On3 imageby:Alex Weber06/20/23

On Tuesday morning, the SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum touted the inevitable demise of another power conference: the Pac-12. The league just had its two Los Angeles schools (UCLA and USC) poached by a conference on the opposite side of the country and have more members attracting attention from other leagues. According to Finebaum, this version of the Pac-12 won’t last very long and he predicts the conference will be completely dismembered in the next few years.

He joined McElroy in the Cubelic in the Morning to discuss the state of the Pac-12 amid other college football discussions. Towards the end of the interview, McElroy asked Finebaum flat-out if the Pac-12 will still be around by 2026. The SEC Network host’s answer:

“I don’t believe so. I don’t know how it can, Greg,” Finebaum declared, giving a harsh review of the conference’s recent leadership. “Because it’s — the situation is so fragile right now. The leadership is better than it was. It’s still not very good. And, you know, I think you give the new commissioner, George Kliavkoff, a pass because maybe a year, a year and a half ago, his predecessor literally ran this thing into the ground. But he’s had enough time and I think, so far, you have to give him a failing grade.”

Finebaum went on to say the bigger conferences may not even want to expand but may be forced to go ahead and stake their claim with the Pac-12 conference schools since they could be available.

“And ultimately, as much as big conferences don’t really want to expand at the moment, I think they’ll be forced to take the cream of the crop out there, whether it’s the Big Ten going after the northwest schools, whether it’s Colorado or Arizona or somebody else just deciding to go to the Big 12 — I do not believe the Pac-12 can exist.”

There you have it: a bold prediction from the SEC talking head that the Pac-12 as we know it will likely be turned to dust and eaten alive by the other major leagues. That cannibalization process is already underway with the USC and UCLA moves and more possibly on the way soon in the form of Oregon, Arizona or any number of the biggest west coast powers that could be chased by the Big 12, Big Ten or SEC. It’s going to be a whole new world by 2026.