The Pac-12 is looking for a new media rights deal and a few new schools to come aboard and join the conference. With USC and UCLA set to leave and join the Big Ten in 2024, the long-term viability of the league hinges on Kliavkoff’s ability to successfully navigate those two challenges.

The league has long been linked to San Diego State as a natural partner in expansion. College football insider Brett McMurphy tweeted Tuesday night that Kliavkoff has his eye on another.

Kliavkoff is expected to visit SMU on Wednesday to discuss the Mustangs joining the league, according to McMurphy.

Expansion and TV inventory go hand-in-hand. The Big Ten poached USC and UCLA because it gave the league a foothold in the Los Angeles TV market… which absolutely helped the league secure its record media rights deal.

The Dallas-Ft. Worth area — SMU calls Dallas home — has the fifth-largest TV market in the country, according to Nielsen’s DMA rankings. Getting a foothold in that region would also let the Pac-12 start to encroach a bit into the Big 12’s territory.

The Aztecs are attractive to the Pac-12 for the same reasons.

It has long been believed the Pac-12 would wrap up its media rights situation before making any official moves on the expansion front. Kliavkoff said as much during the league’s basketball media days.

“We’re going to do a media rights deal here in the near future which will close the gap between us and the Big Ten and the SEC,” Kliavkoff said in December. “That’s a first step (in strengthening the league). Eventually, we’ll catch those guys. It will take a couple of steps, but we’re going to take a step toward closing that gap. Then we’re going to be looking at expansion. We’re going to be looking at schools that make sense for us.”