Some big news out of the college football world Wednesday as it was announced that the Pac-12 and Big Ten have decided to form an inter-conference partnership that will include inter-conference games and network television coverage beginning in 2017, according to multiple sources.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney noted that it is sort of like realignment without having to do any actual realignment, and a rather saavy move for the two Rose Bowl conferences:
"It's sort of in lieu of what some other people are doing (with expansion)," Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said.
"Our idea is you can't stand still. You have to build in an environment where people are competing for attention, where they're competing to have the best competitive assets and to present themselves in the best way. I think both of us believe ... this is the most constructive way for us to do that."
Pac-12 commissioneriterated the fact that this is not a "political move," rather [in essence] a business decision:
"This makes a lot of sense," Scott said, "in terms of continuing to broaden our exposure and improving programming and improving the caliber of our schools' matchups."
This agreement will go for all sports, but football and basketball at the money makers. Every team in each conference will play at least one team from the opposing conference each season, possibly earlier that 2017 in other sports. It even opens up more possibilities for neutral-local games for nationally televised season openers.
"Having been part of this process from the outset, I believe it's great that two of the nation's premier athletic conferences have decided to expand their relationship," said UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero in a statement. "In the end, such a decision will be beneficial on several levels for the institutions of both conferences, each possessing such rich athletic and academic traditions."
When combined, the Pac-12 and Big Ten markets take up 15 states that include 43% of the U.S. population and 22 of its top 50 TV markets. if that isn't making bread, I don't know what is.
For reference, USC will play Texas in 2017 and 2018, and always play Notre Dame, so won't have an opening for a Big Ten opponent.