Bumpus: What’s next for WSU after UW and Oregon leave Pac-12

Aug 4, 2023, 2:06 PM

WSU Jake Dickert...

WSU head coach Jake Dickert looks on during the Cougars' win over ASU on Oct. 30. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The college football world got a big shakeup on Friday with the news that UW and Oregon will reportedly leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten, which would begin in 2024.

Report: UW and Oregon tell Pac-12 they’re leaving for Big Ten

Between those two schools and USC and UCLA leaving for the Big Ten and Colorado and likely Arizona, Arizona State and Utah heading to the Big 12, that leaves just four teams in the Pac-12, including Washington State.

So what’s next for WSU? Legendary Cougs wide receiver Michael Bumpus shared his thoughts during Friday’s Bump and Stacy on Seattle Sports.

Bump, who was not hosting on Friday, actually found out that UW and Oregon are leaving the Pac-12 while in line at Disneyland.

“I was about to get on a ride, a Star Wars ride, and I’m wearing my WSU hat and the guy that was (by us) says, ‘Hey, man, what’d you hear about that news?’ I go, ‘What are you talking about?’ He goes, ‘With Oregon and UW?’ So I go out, I do my research and I’m immediately frustrated,” Bumpus said. “But I understand what UW and Oregon are doing … I mean, you’ve gotta go where the money is at, and that’s what UW and Oregon are doing. The money and the competition.”

Now, WSU needs to just “sit around and wait” to see what the Pac-12 does, Bumpus said.

“If I’m the Pac-12, right now I’m exploring all options. I’m trying to pretty much merge with the Mountain West at this point,” he said. “As a Coug, you feel helpless because you know that you don’t really have a seat at the table. You really don’t. You’re just sitting down and waiting to see what happens.”

“I’m looking at the Mountain West and I go look, either you’ve got to join the Mountain West, you’ve got to merge those two or you start plucking from there,” Bumpus later said.

The irony, Bumpus said, is that the Mountain West has a media rights deal and the Pac-12 doesn’t, which is part of why UW, Oregon and other teams are leaving the conference.

“The Mountain West is doing better business in the Pac 12. So you’ve got to humble yourself at this point and you’ve got to go after their guys or you’ve got be like, ‘Look, let’s merge,'” Bumpus said. “How does the Pac-West sound? Or the Mountain-Pac? What does that sound like? Let’s get something done because there needs to be a powerhouse out west. We were just too slow and that’s bad business. You’ve always got to stay two steps ahead and we were two steps behind.”

So where did it all go wrong for the Pac-12? Bumpus said it was actually over a decade ago that the conference made a critical mistake that led to where we are now.

When Oklahoma wanted to come over and be a part of this deal and (former Pac-12 commissioner) Larry Scott was arrogant and saying ‘Oh no, we’re fine. We don’t need the expansion. We don’t need to do that,'” Bumpus recalled. “You should always be looking to to get better. And in 2011, we were too arrogant and did not take offers from these other schools. I think that’s where it all went wrong. And now you compound that with putting yourself in a property you can’t afford, not putting together the right media deals, not having good relations with the (athletic directors) and now everybody is gone. I don’t see how the Pac-12 survives, honestly. It’s a sad day for the Pac.”

What about the Apple Cup?

With UW leaving for the Big Ten and WSU’s future unclear, the future of the annual Apple Cup rivalry football game is up in the air since it’s unlikely the two will be in the same conference.

So what does the future hold for the Apple Cup?

“When it comes down to the Apple Cup, if you talk to Dawgs and UW alumni, they already don’t see that as a rivalry. They’ve won so many games that when I talk about a rivalry, they laugh at me. And I’ve gotta gotta remind them look, I want three of those things,” Bumpus said. “… So I think that they’re looking at that situation and saying ,’Oregon is really our rival.’ I think they take Oregon more serious than they do for us. But that game has to be played. I think you have to make it happen regardless. But it’s definitely losing its attractiveness.”

Catch all Bump and Stacy podcasts at this link.

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