The arms race in major college sports has entered a new chapter — super-conference expansion.

On Thursday, the Big Ten plunged college sports even further into chaos when it poached USC and UCLA from the Pac-12. The Trojans and Bruins represent a major coup for the Big Ten: Both universities have outstanding academic reputations, rich athletic traditions and histories, and, most importantly, enormous economic potential as they offer the Big Ten entry into the nation's second-largest media market, Los Angeles.

It's a strong strategic response by the Big Ten to its lone super-conference contemporary, the SEC, which set the college sports world on fire a year ago when it lured Oklahoma and Texas away from the Big 12.

RELATED: What — Or Who — Is Next For The Big Ten, College Sports?

Now, all eyes are on Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish have friend-zoned the Big Ten for the last 30 years, but could the conference's acquisition of Notre Dame's arch-rival, USC, finally move the needle?

With the big news last week, the Big Ten is now home to five of Notre Dame's most tenured and historic opponents and series in football:

  • USC — 92 meetings all-time (the series has been played every year since 1926, except for two years during World War II and the 2020 pandemic)
  • Purdue — 84 meetings, dating back to 1899
  • Michigan State — 65 meetings, dating back to 1918
  • Northwestern — 47 meetings, dating back to 1899
  • Michigan — 38 meetings, dating back to 1899

Many national media types are saying Notre Dame's acquiescence to the Big Ten is inevitable, but it's important to remember that the Irish's financial independence could uniquely enable it to wait out the college sports expansion wars more than others.

With the focus squarely on what happens next, and Amazon Prime Day — the veritable Christmas In July we've always wanted — just a week away, I thought it would make sense for the Big Ten to put together its own Amazon Wish List. Take a listen to the podcast episode below to hear Amazon Prime Day: Big Ten Expansion Edition:

What Could Happen In The Aftermath Of The Big Ten Poaching USC and UCLA

USC and UCLA are defecting the Pac-12 for the greener (read: richer) pastures of the Big Ten. This development sends the already-chaotic world of college sports into further chaos. Here's what could happen next.

Candidates for Big Ten Expansion

If the Big Ten plans to form a 16-team mega conference of its own to compete with the SEC's, it will need to add two schools. Here are a few candidates, including attributes that make them attractive to the Big Ten and some things that could make them bad fits.