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Next Pac-12 Expansion Team Odds: SDSU Still in Play To Fill SoCal Void?

Adam Thompson for Bookies.com

Adam Thompson  | 6 mins

Next Pac-12 Expansion Team Odds: SDSU Still in Play To Fill SoCal Void?

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USC and UCLA will be leaving the Pac-12 Conference in 2024, ending a partnership that has lasted roughly a century. They’re off to the Big Ten. The chase of media rights dollars dissolves even the most ardent of partnerships. 

Now it appears Colorado is showing itself out, heading back to the Big 12 in 2024 as well after coming to the Pac-12 in 2011. Just like that, the Pac-12 is in a dogfight to remain relevant for the long term. 

While the SEC and Big Ten have strong-armed the college landscape with expansion, other conferences, including the Pac-12, Big 12, and ACC, have been scrambling to stay afloat. The Big 12 has been the most aggressive of the three. It’s losing Texas and Oklahoma for 2024 but adding four new programs this year, and Colorado soon enough. 

The Big 12's growth includes the possible addition of several more Pac-12 member schools. If the Pac-12 itself is to survive, it must not only get a new media rights deal – which is currently being worked out – it must be proactive on the expansion front. 

Bookies.com veteran oddsmaker Adam Thompson has broken down the landscape and updated his hypothetical college football odds as to which teams will be the newest members of the “Conference of Champions.”

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Next Pac-12 Expansion Team Odds

TeamOddsImplied Probability
San Diego State+15033.3%
Colorado State+37521.1%
Boise State+12007.7%
Fresno State+14006.7%
The Field+12007.7%

Odds are projected and do not reflect any odds that may be available at legal betting sites or betting apps. They will not add up to 100% most times because they are designed to simulate a sportsbook line.

*Note: Odds reflect that more than one team is likely to join at the same time

RELATED: Big 12 Expansion: Deion's Buffaloes Returning To Their Roots?

It's a rough time for the Pac-12 Conference. USC, UCLA, and Colorado already have one foot out the door. Utah, Arizona, and Arizona State have all been rumored to be targets for the next round of Big 12 expansion. Oregon and Washington have been mentioned as later additions to the Big Ten or Big 12. 

School presidents appear confident they’ll remain in consideration when the next media rights deal is finalized. The general hope was it would be done this summer, and that the TV deal would be competitive with what the Big 12 is offering. 

It isn't sounding very promising. FOX analyst Brock Huard called the situation "dire" - that many of the fans of West Coast teams simply don't care enough, or at all, about sports, including football, to make it worthwhile for advertisers and broadcasters to shell out billions. 

Regardless, the Pac-12 will need to replace UCLA, USC, and Colorado, and names have been popping up. 

San Diego State is the biggest no-brainer of the bunch, both in terms of region, size, and success. The Aztecs check the boxes. They're in a huge market, with national levels of success in both football and men’s basketball. San Diego State has a new football stadium (albeit a modest 35,000 capacity, half the size of some Pac-12 programs). Meanwhile, the hoops team just played in its first-ever Final Four, losing to UConn in the National Championship game.

A July 1 deadline for San Diego State. to announce its intentions passed. The Aztecs said they're still in the Mountain West Conference. The MWC says as of 2024, they're not. Despite a messy and complicated court battle probably looming, the Aztecs remain favorites to be a future member of the Pac-12. Expect action once the Pac-12 finally secures its TV deal. 

SMU has been looking into joining a bigger conference. The Big 12 seems to have its sights elsewhere. Adding the Mustangs gives the Pac-12 a Texas presence. The conference commissioner visited the Dallas campus in February, and the school is doing a $100 million renovation to its football stadium. SMU to the Pac-12 sounds like a winning proposition for both sides. 

The school would need to notify the American Athletic Conference 27 months before departure and pay an $18 million fee, but that's a pittance to what it would earn in the Pac-12. That's also far less than the $34 million penalty waiting for San Diego State if it bolts. 

Colorado State could keep the Pac-12 in the Rocky Mountain markets if Colorado leaves for the Big 12. It’s also a top-tier research school, a boost to a Pac-12 that prides itself on high academic standards. Tulane pushes the conference east to Louisiana and its fertile recruiting territories and could be a natural rival to current AAC counterpart SMU. The Green Wave went 12-2 in football in 2022. 

UNLV, Boise State, and Fresno State have reasons to be considered. UNLV has its own major market and cache, Boise State has the powerhouse football program, and Fresno State makes sense from a geographic standpoint. From an academic standpoint, none of them necessarily check the preferred boxes. 

RELATED: Next Big Ten Expansion Team Odds: Ducks Flying East?

Hawaii would be a fun add, and it’s getting a whopping $500 million in upgrades done to its football stadium that is hoped to be completed in 2027. Like UNLV, Boise, and Fresno, the academic aspect doesn’t fit great with the Pac-12, though the Rainbow Warriors’ school is ranked higher than those other three. 

The Field includes teams that could fit the mold, be it due to proximity, all-sports success, or academics, though all of them are clear Plan C candidates. That includes Nevada, New Mexico, Louisville, Rice, and South Florida. It also includes Gonzaga, a basketball powerhouse but without a football program, a likely deal-breaker. 

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About the Author

Adam Thompson for Bookies.com
Adam Thompson
NFL writer and expert Adam Thompson joined Bookies.com in 2019 after a successful run as senior handicapper for SportsLine and CBSSports.com. He's long been established as one of the nation's premier handicappers, specializing in the NFL where he's hit on more than 60% over the past three years. Adam's NBA, PGA and horse racing picks have also produced major winners over the last 12 months. His customized NFL and NBA odds for players and teams have been picked up by hundreds of websites over the past year.