5 college football teams doomed to have roughest conference realignments in 2024

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1. UCLA Bruins (from Pac-12 to Big Ten)

UCLA has long been one of those programs whose value is rooted less in their on-field performance than in their location and aesthetic. Their iconic powder blue uniforms set off against the timeless venue of the Rose Bowl provide plenty of interesting content to fill up TV time. But the Bruins are coming off six seasons of hovering on the cusp of something more under former head coach Chip Kelly.

And, just as they were building momentum (25-13 over the past three seasons) in recent years, Kelly decided to step down a rung on the org chart to take the offensive coordinator position at new Big Ten rival Ohio State. Deshaun Foster takes over as the new head coach after seven seasons as the running backs coach. For a first-time head coach, asking for miracles in a rookie season while helping your team move to a new league is a huge ask.

After three straight years of going bowling, UCLA fans need to recalibrate their expectations much lower. The Bruins take cross-country trips for conference games against both Penn State and Rutgers, and they must also make long treks to LSU and Hawaii out of conference. Getting to .500 is going to be a stretch for this squad, much less returning to a bowl game for a fourth straight year.