With so much realignment and money to be had these days in college football, it was announced on Wednesday that the Pac-12 and Big Ten have decided to form an inter-conference partnership that will include inter-conference schedules in all sports, and beginning in 2017, an inter-conference football schedule, according to multiple sources.
This agreement will go for all sports, but football and basketball are the money makers, thus they are the focal points of this agreement. Every team in each conference will play at least one team from the opposing conference each season, with 2017 as the starting point for football and possibly much earlier that in other sports.
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 to make some serious cash-money:
"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 commissioner Larry Scott iterated the fact that this is not a "political move," rather [in essence] a business decision to promote that Pac-12 to a much larger market.
"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."
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.
Looking ahead, Stanford and Cal football will now have tougher task on their way to a possible BCS berth with a Big Ten opponent on the schedule. But, it will increase their strength of schedule as well as their national audience, along with the rest of Pac-12 athletic programs.
For more on discussion and analysis, head over to Pac-12 blog Pacific Takes and/or Off Tackle Empire.