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Pac-12 Sends Clear Message About Expansion After Losing USC, UCLA

Stanford's football team huddled up on the field next to a PAC-12 logo.

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 07: The Stanford Cardinal huddle in the first half while taking on the Oregon Ducks at Stanford Stadium on November 7, 2013 in Palo Alto, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Pac-12 was blindsided by USC and UCLA's decision to leave the conference for the Big Ten, and the conference is now responding how you'd expect. 

Just moments ago, the "Conference of Champions" released a statement to address the decisions by USC and UCLA. 

The Pac-12 Board of Directors has authorized the conference to explore expansion options. 

What does that mean, exactly? It means programs like Boise State, Fresno State, San Diego State, Nevada or UNLV might soon be getting a call. And don't count out a couple of Big 12 programs. 

"The Pac-12 Board of Directors met this morning and authorized the Conference to explore all expansion options," the conference said in a statement. "The 10 university presidents and chancellors remain committed to a shared mission of academic and athletic excellence on behalf of our student-athletes."

The problem for the Pac-12 is it's on the verge of becoming the Mountain West. If Oregon and Washington bolt for the Big 12, it's over. 

There is a hope out there that the Pac-12 will merge with the Big 12 to create a third megaconference. It wouldn't be nearly as strong as the Big Ten or SEC, but would still have programs like Oregon, Washington, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Stanford and Texas Tech. 

Regardless, the Pac-12 is hanging on by a thread. Expansion might not even be enough to save it.