The B1G and the Pac 12 announced a long-term scheduling agreement beginning by 2017. The official announcement can be read here.
So, what does this mean for the B1G and Pac 12? Well, for one thing this guarantees that each member institution of each conference will be playing at least one BCS conference team in addition to conference games each season. Of course, this assumes the BCS still exists in 2017. If not, they will be playing a major conference regardless. This should provide an instant boost to strength of schedule.
Such match-ups should translate to financial benefits. Who would you rather watch…OSU vs USC or OSU vs an FCS school? For that matter, who would the rest of the country rather watch? Will people turn into the yearly SEC line-up of SEC schools and Charleston Southern and The Citadel or to OSU-USC, Michigan-Oregon, etc? Eyes will be on the TVs and ad revenue will line pockets.
Speaking of TVs, the Pac-12 is launching their own network in August 2012. When you couple this with the B1G Network, it’s likely they will try to snatch up as many of these match-ups as possible. This is another positive in the financial gains area for each conference.
The B1G and Pac 12 have been coupled for years in the Rose Bowl and there is no question that the history between these two conferences have lead to this agreement. The big question out there is simple; how will this affect the Rose Bowl partnership? Could this be the first step in the B1G and Pac 12 removing the ties to this specific bowl and paving the way towards a playoff? It’s possible. The two conferences have made it very clear that they wanted to have some kind of match-up. Perhaps a “challenge” type series can spring from this much like the B1G-ACC challenge in basketball. It can serve as bragging rights for the conferences. As much as I love the Rose Bowl, times have changed. I hold an emotional attachment to it in my heart much like many other B1G fans, but it isn’t what it used to be in the landscape of College Football. Teams are playing for the BCS Championship Game and the Rose is now simply just a really nice consolation prize. It’s no bigger than any of the other BCS games.
This is an exciting partnership for both conferences and will benefit each side both financially and in visibility. One of the big beefs of Pac 12 fans is the perceived bias against those on the West Coast. This certainly should help eliminate that (side note: I don’t think the bias is as they state…but…) as there will be plenty of eyes east of the Rockies on the Pac for 12 games per year. This is yet another reason why the two conferences are arguably what every other conference should strive to be.
If nothing else, man, this opens up all kind of fun away game trip potential. Sign me up.