Today, the Big Ten and Pac 12 announced that they are going to start collaborating more on athletic schedules.
With a history of Rose Bowl competition dating back more than a century, the Big Ten Conference and Pac-12 Conference announced today a collaborative effort to enhance long-term scheduling commitments between the two conferences across all sports amongst the 24 institutions.
The new Big Ten-Pac-12 collaboration will feature more games between the two conferences in an effort to enhance the experiences for all student-athletes, fans and alumni while broadening the national scope of both conferences. Details of the new effort will continue to unfold as administrators and conference staff members meet in the coming year.
What does all this mean? Well for the Olympic Sports, you will start to see scheduling changes starting next year. Both conference have (or are starting up) television networks and this will provide a lot of exposure for both conferences on both networks. This is a really fantastic way to "combine" two conferences without actually combining them.
This move really solidifies the PAC-12 and Big Ten conferences as far as expansion goes. There's really no reason to expand at this point. A lot of scheduling holes can be filled (especially for the olympic sports). Basketball is going to get some more marquee games, but what about football? In 2017, when this is suppose to take place, the Big Ten is suppose to move to a 9-game conference schedule. This would create a situation where some years certain schools with out-of-conference rivalry games would only have 6 home games. Seven is suppose to be the magic number for athletic department revenue goals.
In football, the objective is to create an annual 12 inter-conference game schedule between the two conferences by the 2017 season. The plan calls for each school to play an opponent from the other conference every year with some flexibility built into the process to respect existing post-2017 FBS non-conference match-ups. Additionally, more inter-conference games are expected to appear sooner based on schedule openings. Many sports, including men’s and women’s basketball, could see an increased level of inter-conference competition in the near term, possibly as early as the 2012-13 academic year. Over the coming months there will be a series of detailed scheduling planning meetings among administrators of both conferences to work out exact details.
There were tweets this afternoon about the Big Ten doing away with the 9-game conference schedule this afternoon, but nothing was officially stated on this. Jim Delaney is going on the BTN tonight at 4pm CST and he may answer this question.
So if we keep the 9-game conference schedule, does this kill any change for a meaningful game with another BCS school during the regular season? If we go back to an 8-game schedule, does this become our "marquee" non-con game every year? I hope not. Hopefully it will be the first step to a better non-conference schedule for the Huskers.