Big Ten, Pac-12 Scheduling Partnership Falls Apart, Fans Lose

Remember this plan? That was soooooo 2011.

"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 9-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."

The Big Ten's Jim Delany offered a similar statement, also pointing to the Pac-12's nine-game conference schedule as the reason for calling off the arrangement.

Disappointing, but to be expected. With nine conference games, Pac-12 programs have a slightly tougher schedule than other BCS conferences that play an eight-game schedule (depending on how tough you think Pac-12 football really is). Sticking with this scheduling arrangement with the Big Ten would have meant Pac-12 teams would have essentially played a 10-game conference schedule, only that one game doesn't count towards winning your division.

Without a firm commitment to using SOS to select the teams in the college football playoff, this arrangement makes little sense for both conferences (and even less sense for the Pac-12 with one more conference game a year). Strength of schedule will still be a factor used by the selection committee, but it will be one of many -- and will also include win-loss record, head-to-head and "preference" (whatever that means) to conference champions.

With this deal dead, you have to think that SOS won't be a hard-and-fast requirement imposed on the selection committee -- which stinks for college football fans.

It also stinks for ACC fans who were looking for the conference to establish a similar, "expansion without expanding" scheduling agreement with a league like the (soon to be symmetrical) SEC. Even with the leagues soon reaching 14 members, the same challenges remain: each conference will play a different number of conference games (the SEC 8, the ACC 9) while a majority of ACC programs would likely never agree to a permanent scheduling partnership that took the total number of major conference programs on the schedule to 10 or even 11.

Overall, the fans lose out on this one. At least we still have the annual ACC-Sun Beast Challenge to look forward to.

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