Oregon State and Washington State must find a new place to play after Cal and Stanford join SMU as the newest members of the ACC in conference realignment.
And just like that, there were only two left...
The ACC is expanding its footprint to a bicoastal variety, as the 14-team football league will be adding Cal, Stanford and SMU, thanks to the presidents and chancellors who just voted them in. Notre Dame plays in the ACC in all sports but football, so that gives the ACC 18 teams on the hardwood and diamond, among other things. Meanwhile, what are Oregon State and Washington State to do here?
The Beavers and Cougars are the only two Pac-12 holdovers who do not have a home for 2024...
With the Pac-12 winding down after this season, there are two, maybe three, viable options for The Step Brothers of the Pacific Northwest. So who is going to invest in Prestige Worldwide? The AAC, the Mountain West, possibly you?! Oh, this latest wave of college football realignment is just silly...
What happens to Oregon State, Washington State after Pac-12's death?
To me, there are really only two options. Take the bid to join either the American or the Mountain West. Geographically, the latter makes sense, as the Cougs and Beavs could commence healthy regional rivalries with the likes of Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State and San Diego State, among others. Going to this well-run league makes so much sense from competitive standpoint.
No, Oregon State University and Washington State University should not divest in athletics. In fact, double-down or triple-down, in fact. Allow yourself to be a preeminent college football power, albeit at whatever becomes of the Group of Five level. You win at your level of play and you will be invited to the expanded 12-team College Football Playoff. The Mountain West is a league that can get you in.
While the American, and maybe even the Sun Belt, could have higher gravitas and a better shot at getting its highest-ranked conference champion in, do you really want to put yourself at a travel disadvantage in all other sports besides football? It won't matter in sports where you play only once a week, but in others, it is nonsensical. It is why joining the Mountain West is the most logical outcome.
It sucks, but it is reality: Oregon State and Washington State can level up by going down a level here.