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Pac-12 collapse: Where will Washington State go next?

We take a look at Wazzu’s next move among conference realignment.

Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl Presented by Stifel - Fresno State v Washington State Photo by Jason Allen/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The Pac-12 no longer has any visible path forward as a conference, let alone as a member of the Power Five. With USC, UCLA, Washington, and Oregon headed to the Big Ten and Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah moving to the Big 12, conference realignment has left the West Coast conference in the dust.

Just four schools remain, now scrambling for a solution among the ashes of a dissolved conference. Washington State, Oregon State, Cal, and Stanford have some decisions to make as they move forward.

Where should Washington State go next?

The best case scenario for Washington State at this point is a move to the Mountain West Conference along with Oregon State. The Power Five as we know it will be no longer in just a few years, with rumors of ACC teams looking to join new conferences, as well. The Mountain West is actually positioned very well in this conference realignment drama. While each Mountain West school gets only $4 million a year right now compared to the $30 or so million a year offered by the Pac-12, that could change soon. The MWC already has contracts with CBS and Fox, and the west coast market could increase that after the Pac-12 dissolves.

Wazzu has the potential to be one of the better teams in the Mountain West, and it makes sense for them on a geographic level. If only three or four of the former Power Five conferences remain by the time the expanded 12-team College Football Playoff rolls around, there could potentially even be a pathway for the MWC champion to make a run for a spot each year. However, they will need to be prepared to financially restructure their athletic department over the next few years.

What are Washington State’s other options?

Their other options are pretty limited, quite frankly. They don’t have the fanbase necessary to go independent and get their own television contract. They could wait for a potential ACC collapse and join up with the remaining teams on the east coast, but that would involve a lot of travel for every sport and a football conference that would not be considered a “power” conference, considering the teams that would remain.