ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 announce alliance, includes scheduling component

By Kevin Kelley -

The ACC, Big Ten, and Pac-12 have announced an “historic” alliance, which includes a football scheduling component.

Per the release, the alliance “…will bring 41 world-class institutions together on a collaborative approach surrounding the future evolution of college athletics and scheduling.” The 41 team include 14 from the ACC, 14 from the Big Ten, 12 from the Pac-12, plus Notre Dame.

“The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 recognize the unique environment and challenges currently facing intercollegiate athletics, and we are proud and confident in this timely and necessary alliance that brings together like-minded institutions and conferences focused on the overall educational missions of our preeminent institutions,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips. “The alliance will ensure that the educational outcomes and experiences for student-athletes participating at the highest level of collegiate athletics will remain the driving factor in all decisions moving forward.”

“Student-athletes have been and will remain the focal point of the Big Ten, ACC and PAC-12 Conferences” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. “Today, through this alliance, we furthered our commitment to our student-athletes by prioritizing our academics and athletics value systems. We are creating opportunities for student-athletes to have elite competition and are taking the necessary steps to shape and stabilize the future of college athletics.”

“The historic alliance announced today between the Pac-12, ACC and Big Ten is grounded in a commitment to our student-athletes,” said Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff. “We believe that collaborating together we are stronger in our commitment to addressing the broad issues and opportunities facing college athletics.”

Below is information on the football scheduling component, although no timeline for implementation was given. With the amount of previously contracted non-conference games, it’s likely that this will be phased in over time.

The alliance includes a scheduling component for football and women’s and men’s basketball designed to create new inter-conference games, enhance opportunities for student-athletes, and optimize the college athletics experience for both student-athletes and fans across the country. The scheduling alliance will begin as soon as practical while honoring current contractual obligations. A working group comprised of athletic directors representing the three conferences will oversee the scheduling component of the alliance, including determining the criteria upon which scheduling decisions will be made. All three leagues and their respective institutions understand that scheduling decisions will be an evolutionary process given current scheduling commitments.

The football scheduling alliance will feature additional attractive matchups across the three conferences while continuing to honor historic rivalries and the best traditions of college football.

In women’s and men’s basketball, the three conferences will add early and mid-season games as well as annual events that feature premier matchups between the three leagues.

The three conferences will also explore opportunities for the vast and exceptional Olympic Sports programs to compete more frequently and forge additional attractive and meaningful rivalries.

The future scheduling component will benefit student-athletes and fans by offering new and memorable experiences that will extend coast-to-coast, across all time zones. The competition will bring a new level of excitement to the fans of the 41 schools while also allowing teams and conferences to have flexibility to continue to play opponents from other conferences, independents and various teams from other subdivisions.

The alliance between the ACC, Big Ten, and Pac-12 follows the SEC’s announcement that they are adding the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns to their conference beginning in the fall of 2025. The Big 12, which is not part of the newly announced alliance, will be down to eight schools with the departure of Oklahoma and Texas.

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Comments (14)

me either . I still don’t really understand what the hell is going on here. this just seems more about the money , like usual

They literally “formed a committee” to talk about scheduling.

They have the model in the ACC – Big 10 challenge. Do something like that in football, home game for each team even or odd years, best matchups you can on say week 3 of the season. It is not hard. Pick the matchups on Media day.

Actually I think this could be good, or the committee could do nothing.

So a summary of this would be that the conferences are going to work together to better navigate potentially turbulent change in college athletics in the near future (bc of NIL, conference realignment, etc.)?

If so, is that really historic? It just seems like collaboration.

The current wisdom being passed about is that this is all about precluding the complete ESPN control of the purposed 12-team playoff broadcast rights. I think its more about insulating the soon to be 16 team SEC from scheduling attractive out of conference games. (41 versus 16)

Hmm, that would make sense. ESPN does seem like it is behind a lot of this. Pushing for more control over college football.

So what does this “alliance” mean then? I listened to it and read it but still don’t clearly understand what it is saying.

So excited for Georgia Tech to play Washington State! I’m sure that is a game the Alliance is trying to make happen.

And that’s why this ultimately won’t work. Boston College and Oregon State might be a good game between two institutions with a decent history, but nobody cares.

This alliance is really only an attempt by those three conferences to assure the others that they won’t try to add teams from their league.

Well what are these 3 conferences supposed to do? There are no teams that are worth adding so expanding does nothing so why not schedule each other? The Big 10 is not touching anybody from the ACC cause none of the markets out there are worth adding and in the case of the Pac 12 and Big 10 they have an agreement to play each other in the Rose Bowl so why mess up a good thing?

I think they need to make this happen by 2023. Here’s what I say they do.

1. Pac-12 needs to expand adding Boise (North) and Texas Tech (South). Cal and Stanford switch divisions with Utah and Colorado.
2. Louisville and Rutgers need to swap conferences with Louisville being a member of the West division so Purdue can join Indiana in the East
3. All 3 conferences go to 8 conference games
4. Then each team needs to play one team from the other two conferences every year. This needs to be done in tiers, because yes nobody wants to see Clemson destroy Colorado and Washington St. vs.Georgia Tech is not going to make this alliance viable. Here is how I would do this 3 tiers 1 vs 1 2 vs 2 3 vs 3. The tier 1 games will be Saturday Night Football, Big Noon type match-ups, Tier 2 games will be good for ESPN 2, and Tier 3 games will be on conference networks but the teams involved should have a chance to win. TV networks ought to be ok with this if the marque match-ups are spread out. USC giving up a 9th conference game that would have been against Washington St. to play Michigan instead will be worth it.

Tier 1: Clemson, Florida St. Miami, Virginia Tech, Michigan Ohio st. Penns St. Wisconsin, Arizona St. Oregon, USC, Washington

Tier 2 : North Carolina, North Carolina St. Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, Iowa, Louisville, Michigan St. Minnesota, Nebraska, Boise St. Stanford, UCLA, Utah, Texas Tech

Tier 3: Boston College, Duke, Rutgers, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Indiana Illinois, Maryland, Northwestern, Purdue, Arizona, Cal, Colorado, Oregon St. Washington St.

5. Notre Dame plays 5 ACC 3 Pac-12 and 2 Big-Ten teams a year. Among the other 40 teams there would be gaps in the schedule allowing for a Tier 2 or 3 team to play a Tier 1 on occasion. For example USC and Stanford play Notre Dame every year so Minnesota for example might play Clemson and Ohio St. play Utah to fill the gaps.

6. No home and homes just 1 home and 1 away game a year against each conference or Notre Dame

7. All games SEC games after 2023 are voided and the alliance attempts to not play SEC teams in bowls for example ACC vs Big-10 in the Citrus Bowl with perhaps the promise of the game always being New Year’s Day before Semi-Finals on ABC.

8. In Men’s and Women’s basketball all teams could host and play at a team from one of the other 2 conferences. If the alliance members don’t play SEC schools then say Mississippi St. goes 12-8 in SEC play and 10-1 out of conference but an alliance member goes 2-2 against the alliance and 12-8 in conference the alliance member should get an at-large bid over the SEC school.

9. Olympic sports can agree to participate in 1-2 contests per year against other alliance member schools. For example Ohio St. could go to the Arizona St. Track Invitational etc.

10. Big-12 adds some AAC teams in order to stay relevant and ends up being the SEC’s non conference sacrificial lamb.

Starting a cold war between the SEC and the rest of college athletics could work for the alliance if eventually the SEC guts itself and can’t get any good non-conference match-ups. Remember the 1990s wasn’t the best decade for the SEC in terms of National Championships compared to now, this could happen again.

Personally I’m just tired of the SEC/Clemson dominating the sport and want to see some new teams competing for a title. I think its somewhat realistic this year to see Clemson, Ohio St. Notre Dame, and Iowa St. all go undefeated while every SEC team has at least 1 loss, hopefully leaving it out of the playoff. I’d love to see something new other than Clemson vs and SEC team in the final.