When giants converge, the world shakes. The announcement today that the Big Ten and Pac-12 will enter into a scheduling partnership could mean big things for college athletics. By big things, we mean dollar signs. It’s a move designed to expand league exposure without having to deal with the ugly transitions of conference realignment. The new arrangement begins as early as next season. ESPN.com has more:
Details remain fluid, but the probable first phase of the partnership would include increased Pac-12 vs. Big Ten games in men’s and women’s basketball, as well as in Olympic sports. Those changes will begin in the 2012-2013 academic year.
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It looks like football won’t see the changes fully implemented until 2017, when all existing non-conference schedules open up. The plan is to have each school play one school from the other conference on an annual basis. Could this be a precursor to a college football playoff? Are the Pac-12 and Big Ten preempting a possible end to the Rose Bowl affiliation? Obviously those cards are being held close to their chests. This move is meant to navigate the rough surf of conference realignment. It is a wise move by both parties.
When all is said and done it will look a little like this: