Where will Washington play in 2024? What to know about Huskies’ Pac-12 exit, transition to Big Ten

The upcoming offseason will be a transitional one for the Washington Huskies.

QB Michael Penix Jr. is out of eligibility and will be moving on to the NFL, as will standout WR Rome Odunze. Former Mississippi State QB Will Rogers is set to step in as Penix’s successor, giving coach Kalen DeBoer an experienced signal-caller to lead the new era.

Rogers will face a much different landscape than Penix did, as the transition isn’t just limited to roster turnover for Washington. The Huskies are moving on from the Pac-12, with the conference effectively disbanding. Ten of the Pac-12’s 12 schools will play elsewhere in 2024 after realignment that started with 2022 decisions by USC and UCLA to move to the Big Ten.

LIVE: Follow updates from Michigan vs. Washington in CFP championship

Here are the details about where Washington will play in 2024 and why the Pac-12 is ending after this season.

Where will Washington play in 2024?

Washington is set to join the Big Ten in 2024. The move will become official on Aug. 2, and all Huskies sports will become part of the conference.

The Big Ten has developed a reputation as a hub for some of the nation’s most prominent Midwest athletic programs, but that idea started to change when Rutgers and Maryland were added a decade ago. While those two schools are geographically close to many other Big Ten schools, it’s fair to say Washington is not. USC, UCLA, and Oregon — also joining the conference — are also quite a distance away from Michigan, Ohio State, and all other Big Ten counterparts. 

In this era of realignment, however, geography doesn’t matter as much. The Big Ten is happily accepting four brand names, and while the conference will cheer on Michigan in Monday’s national championship game, the matchup is a reminder that Washington’s football prowess can’t be ignored by some of the powerhouse programs that voted to expand the conference.

The Big Ten will be comprised of 18 schools in 2024, and Washington’s 2024 schedule features a rematch with Michigan in October. 

MORE: What to know about Big Ten’s new schedule format

Why is the Pac-12 ending?

Several factors contributed to the demise of the Pac-12, but television deals are at the heart of the issue. While other power conferences have inked massive TV deals in recent years, including major agreements for both the Big Ten and Big 12 in 2022, the Pac-12’s negotiations floundered.

The conference negotiated with a handful of networks and services, including nontraditional outlets such as Apple TV, but no deal was ever struck despite intense pressure to placate the remaining schools. The Pac-12 was still trying to land a deal when Oregon and Washington left in August, effectively delivering a death blow to the conference one year after exits by USC and UCLA.

Why was no network willing to meet the Pac-12’s demands? It’s impossible to exactly dictate all of the factors, but the conference’s brand was suffering in the years leading up to 2023. On the football field, the Pac-12 struggled to compete with the nation’s top conferences and was shut out of the College Football Playoff each season from 2017-22.

Many of the conference’s games are broadcast on the Pac-12 Network, which a handful of providers don’t offer, so it became more challenging to market the top teams and players. Meanwhile, the leadership of ex-commissioner Larry Scott and current commissioner George Kliavkoff didn’t offer much hope for a revival.

MORE: Revisiting Michael Penix Jr.’s 2020 win over Michigan

Ironically, the Pac-12 experienced a revival on the football field in its final full season. Washington earned the conference’s first College Football Playoff bid since 2016 and earned a national championship berth, while the conference also boasted national names in USC QB Caleb Williams and Colorado coach Deion Sanders. Even Arizona and Oregon State enjoyed successful seasons, with the Wildcats surging to 10 wins after spending several years as an afterthought.

The Pac-12 will operate as a two-team conference in 2024, with Oregon State and Washington State the only remaining members, but that can only last a maximum of two seasons unless the conference can add six more schools and reach the NCAA’s eight-team minimum. 

Pac-12 landing spots 2024

Washington won’t be alone in joining the Big Ten. Here are the details on where all 12 teams will be playing next season: 

  • Oregon: Big Ten
  • UCLA: Big Ten
  • USC: Big Ten
  • Washington: Big Ten
  • Arizona: Big 12
  • Arizona State: Big 12
  • Colorado: Big 12
  • Utah: Big 12
  • California: ACC
  • Stanford: ACC
  • Oregon State: Pac-12, West Coast Conference
  • Washington State: Pac-12, West Coast Conference

Oregon State and Washington State will remain members of the Pac-12, but they are becoming affiliate members of the West Coast Conference for all sports other than football and baseball.

On the football field, the Beavers and Cougars have already established a scheduling partnership with the Mountain West Conference. Oregon State will also continue its rivalry with Oregon, while Washington State will do the same with Washington. 

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