It wasn’t too long ago when every single week of the offseason was filled with conference realignment rumors galore. From 2010 to 2013, you could find any flavor of rumor from things that made sense like Colorado leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-12, to the odder ones, like Texas wanting to join the ACC.
That last one was largely the pinnacle of insane realignment theories to this point. It made little geographic sense, but the idea that Texas could want to be surrounded by higher-caliber academic institutions had some merit (as did the Longhorns wanting to join up with Notre Dame).
That didn’t happen, nor did numerous other crazy theories. But UConn’s recent move back to the Big East has seemingly gotten the internet’s wheels turning once more. And while the Huskies going back to their previous conference fails to make anyone do a double-take, one “rumor” from yesterday would:
John Wall Street reported that UCLA Bruins booster Casey Wasserman has been advising the school not to re-up with the Pac-12 when they’ll sign a new media rights deal, and instead look for membership in the ACC.
For those unaware, Wasserman was one of the biggest faces behind Los Angeles’s 2028 Olympic bid and is a power player out here on the Left Coast. As John Wall Street points out, he’s also an adviser to the ACC, so there’s some potential self-interest in this suggestion. (slight update: a source close to Wasserman has called this whole thing “absurd”).
Obviously, UCLA is not joining the ACC in this or any other reality. Even if the Bruins didn’t have to play full league schedules in non-revenue sports, the travel expenses for UCLA in just football and men’s basketball alone would be enough to make ACC membership financially untenable. There’s also the fact that UCLA’s pretty close to the Pacific Coast, yet would be joining the Atlantic Coast Conference — the aesthetically silliest move this side of Boise State and SDSU preparing to join the Big East or the Big 10 having 14 teams.
(that said, the ACC would totally put UCLA in the Atlantic, right?)
Any move by Pac-12 teams to leave that league based on media rights would potentially be short-sighted because of what those rights are worth (arguably less than they were back when these TV deals were all signed). And one that completely bails on teams’ historic and geographic rivals out West for annual games against Syracuse and Virginia across the country seems... about as bad of an idea as you can find.
If we’re grading this rumor on the scale of 1 (Nebraska joins Big Ten) to 10 (Texas joins ACC), then it’s potentially an 11. Insane, infeasible and completely unrealistic.
If we want to see the Bruins anytime soon, it’ll likely need to be in the postseason. Dino Babers and John Wildhack said themselves when they were out in Los Angeles that they’re not looking to schedule Pac-12 schools right now. And the new ACC postseason setup provides opportunities to face Pac-12 squads in the Holiday Bowl, Sun Bowl and Independence Bowl... so a much more sensible solution than conference expansion 3,000 miles from league HQ (even if it would be great to see SU at the Rose Bowl Stadium every so often).
Is this the mos ridiculous realignment rumor you could potentially come up with off the top of your head? Obviously something like “SEC invites New Mexico State” is more ridiculous, but that’s not even rooted in any sort of realism. This specific UCLA-to-ACC talking point probably takes the cake because the potential reasons to do it are there, even if farfetched. It’s the logistics that really undermine the idea from the start.
Feel free to fill in the blanks with other nonsense realignment ideas below, however.