Big Ten Pac-12 Partnership – Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott acknowledge that adding a difficult nonconference game against BCS opponents could create an impediment to their teams reaching the BCS title game. That’s especially a concern in the Pac-12, which is pledging for now to keep its nine-game league schedule. But both say the benefits outweigh the risks.
There will be at least one inter-Conference Football game starting in 2017.
“It seems counter-intuitive to make it tougher to make a bowl game, to make it tougher in the current BCS construct to go undefeated and get to the national championship game,” Scott said.
Much remains to be ironed out on which teams will play whom. But Delany said he’d like “to have competitive equity play a significant part” in determining the matchups. Which raises the possibility, if two strong teams meet in the regular season, that they could have a rematch in the Rose Bowl.
The Big Ten already does an interconference dance with the ACC in basketball. Would the Pac-12/Big Ten football games get treated like the Big Ten/ACC challenge? Delany said they would be different in that the matchups would likely occur over three-to-four weeks, not in a couple of days like the basketball challenge.
Delany said the Rose Bowl is the only thing that’s really sacrosanct between the two leagues, and everything else right now is “a blank canvass.” The two conferences can come up with all kinds of creative events, mini-tournaments, whatever. Delany called it “not a five-year or 10-year deal, but an indefinite collaboration.”
Some of the creative events could take place at NFL stadiums or at the Rose Bowl, in and out of the leagues’ footprints. Delany mentioned Yankee Stadium, Atlanta and Texas as possibilities for some neutral-site games. But he said the majority of the football contests would likely be held on campuses.
Both Scott and Delany said this was not the first step toward any kind of real merger between the leagues. And Delany said don’t look for similar collaborations between the Big Ten and other conferences.