Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said that the Pac-12’s nine-game conference schedule and “previous non-conference commitments” made the task of matching up 24 teams across two conferences “too difficult.”
Although the agreement would have created some compelling match-ups, it would also have made schedules for some of the Pac-12 teams much tougher. Both Stanford and USC annually face Notre Dame, and adding a tough Big Ten opponent on top of that would be brutal.
But even with the agreement suspended, Big Ten and Pac-12 teams are still free to schedule games against one another as they see fit. So far this year, we have seen agreements for home-and-home series’ between Michigan and Utah, Michigan State and Oregon, and Northwestern and Stanford.
And remember that big home-and-home series between Georgia and Ohio State that was canceled by the Buckeyes? The Big Ten/Pac-12 scheduling agreement was cited as the reason for the cancellation. Maybe now the two schools can work out a new contract.
Another series that could benefit from this is BYU-Utah. The two in-state rivals have played every year since 1946, but Utah’s future series against Michigan and the scheduling agreement have threatened the status of the game.
Earlier this week, Utah AD Chris Hill told reporters that the series would take a break in 2014 and 2015 because they needed to take a “reasonable approach to the season.” Today’s news could be a window of opportunity for the two schools to continue playing on an annual basis.
Statement from Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany:
“We are disappointed to announce today that the Big Ten Pac-12 strategic collaboration announced jointly in December 2011 unfortunately will not be consummated. We recently learned from Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott that the complications associated with coordinating a non-conference football schedule for 24 teams across two conferences proved to be too difficult. Those complications, among other things, included the Pac-12’s nine-game conference schedule and previous non-conference commitments.”
“A great effort was made by both conference staffs to create football schedules that would address the variety of complexities, but in the end, we were just not able to do so.”
“While everyone at the Big Ten is disappointed by the news, we look forward to continuing the historic partnership that we have with the Pac-12 and to working together on other matters in the future.”
Statement from Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott:
“After extensive deliberation and consultation with member institutions, television partners and others, the Pac-12 and Big Ten have decided not to pursue the previously announced plans for enhanced scheduling collaboration across all sports at this time. While we continue to value our close relationship, particularly our partnership in the Rose Bowl, the Pac-12 came to the conclusion that it’s in our best interests to maintain our nine-game conference schedule and maximum flexibility in out-of-conference scheduling. Thus, the Pac-12 decided not to lock into the proposed mandatory 12-game schedule in football.”