There’s no doubt 2011 was the big year of College sports realignments, making the most news, of course, with the changes in College Football. From the SEC slowly creeping in on anything valuable in the Big 12, to the Big East becoming an all nation conference. The new collaboration between the Big Ten and the Pac-12 may result in a new mega conference.
College sports are headed that way, with football spearheading the movement. Because of the bowl games and their incredible value, because of the demand for playoffs, a +1 system or anything that isn’t completely a BCS-reliant system.
The Pac-12 and Big Ten already have a championship game between them, the Rose Bowl, unless one of the conferences send their champion to the BCS title game. It happened last year when Wisconsin lost to TCU and Oregon went on to lose against Auburn for the national title, but in general, the tradition is West Coast against a Midwest team.
As the announcement goes, the two conferences will create combined schedules in all fields as we will see more and more match-ups between the different sports teams from the two conferences, very similar to the ACC – Big Ten basketball tournament we have each year.
In football, by 2017, we’ll have a full Pac-12/Big Ten schedule, meaning each team will play one game at least against an opponent from the opposing conference. In the talks, the Big Ten officials said they will reduce their conference games down to eight, while the number will remain nine for Pac-12 teams, although that may change in the future.
Notre Dame? They won’t be harmed, and have been kept in the loop and it shouldn’t affect their scheduling or status as an independent school.
Bottom line – This change and sort of merger, or beginning of one, is set to address a few burning issues in College Football – Benefits of expansion without the bureaucracy mess of exit fees, legislation and losing historical rivalries. Broadening the media-reach of both conferences and even more importantly, keeping both conferences status as elite, while the SEC threatens to devour every Texas school in the Big 12. Keeping the Rose Bowl, above all else.