Izzo: Has anything changed for NDSU and FBS with USC and UCLA moving to Big Ten?

The wheels of college realignment are again moving after two blue bloods bolted for the Big Ten.

North Dakota State captains Logan McCormick, Cordell Volson, Phoenix Sproles and Michael Tutsie ready to take the field for the coin toss against East Tennessee State during the FCS quarterfinals at the Fargodome last December.
David Samson/The Forum
We are part of The Trust Project.

If you thought the summer was the one time that things would slow down in college athletics, you haven't been paying attention over the last couple of years.

Thursday, two traditional powerhouse programs, the University of Southern California and the University of California at Los Angeles announced their intentions to leave the PAC-12 Conference and join the Big Ten Conference for the fall of 2024.

This sent shockwaves thru the college sports world, on the heels of last summer's news where two other blue bloods, Texas and Oklahoma left the Big 12 Conference for the Southeastern Conference.

The inevitable question myself, Mike McFeely and Jeff Kolpack received late last week: How does this affect NDSU and its potential move up to FBS?

The Missouri Valley Football Conference always has the Senior Bowl's attention
Dom Izzo visits with North Dakota's top high school football player and top high school decision maker
The girls hockey state tournament will be on its own for the next two years

The direct answer: It doesn't. Not yet. I spoke with multiple sources about this direct topic and the answer is still the same. Nothing has changed to open the door for North Dakota State to receive an invite to an FBS league.


The better question going forward is what is FBS going to look like going forward?

With the SEC and Big Ten separating themselves from the other Power 5 conferences as the "go-to" leagues, there are other Power 5 schools potentially looking for new homes.

Oregon and Washington were immediately rumored to have interest as well in the Big Ten. ESPN's Pete Thamel reported Tuesday "why would UCLA and USC help those schools get into the Big Ten?"

Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah have been reported to have high interest in the Big 12 according to CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd. The Big 12 is already adding BYU, Central Florida, Houston and Cincinnati in 2023.

The PAC-12 itself could be on life support. The Big Ten could potentially add Oregon and Washington or look at other like-minded academic institutions like California and Stanford.

NDSU fans have reached out to me asking "well if the PAC-12 wants to add schools, would they take Boise State and San Diego State and that would be our opening to the Mountain West?"

Thamel reported this pretty succinctly: "There isn't a strong appetite among the remaining 10 members to add a few Mountain West schools like San Diego State or Boise State or the WCC's Gonzaga in basketball and soldier on."

Here's a crazy though that one source told me on Tuesday: What if the Mountain West goes big game hunting itself and adds Washington State and Oregon State if the PAC-12 falls apart?


The long winded answer to this question for Bison fans is a bigger one: What if these super-conferences do what we have long thought and break off and do their own thing?

That would mean the Group of 5 schools (the James Madison's, Georgia Southern's of the world) would form up with the top FCS schools and have a division of their own, with budgets that are remotely similar to one another?

It's a crazy time for college football and it seems there's no slowing down for how the carousel is moving.

Dom Izzo is the Sports Director at WDAY-TV. He began working for WDAY in 2006 as the weekend sports anchor and was promoted to Sports Director in 2010.
What to read next
Ben Johnson watched the second half of Thursday’s open session alongside P.J. Fleck
The defenseman from Fargo has a chance to join Jonathan Toews as the only players in program history with two gold medals from the World Junior Championship.
NDSU football has one returning starter at the linebacker position heading into the 2022 season
Former Gophers coach was invited to speak before his New Mexico State team plays Minnesota