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Big Ten/Pac-12 Scheduling Agreement Goes Bye-Bye; SEC Wins

That whole Big Ten/Pac-12 football scheduling partnership?  Uh, yeah, not happening.  The two leagues announced today that the agreement died before it ever came into being.  That, my friends, is a small win for the SEC.

As we’ve told you for months, the SEC’s decision not to go to a nine-game schedule left it as the only one of the big five leagues not requiring its members to play at least nine BCS-level foes per year.  Writers and talking heads from California to New York and even Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany have alluded to that fact in the past couple of months.  The SEC’s decision to stick at eight league games was an open invitation for everyone outside the South to say, “Hey, they don’t schedule as well as other leagues.”  With playoff berths set to be determined by a selection committee, that kind of talk could hurt the SEC’s chances of landing more than one team in said postseason tourney.

Not anymore.  While the Pac-12 and ACC and Big 12 all still play nine-game conference schedules, the Big Ten sits at eight.  The Pac-12 agreement would have guaranteed Delany’s schools a ninth big-time game.  But the Pac-12 has cited its own nine-game schedule and “previous non-conference commitments” as reasons to kill the deal.  No wonder.  A Pac-12 school like Southern Cal might have wound up playing 11 or even 12 games against top-level programs in a given year thanks to its existing rivalry with Notre Dame and an upcoming scheduling agreement with Texas.

Just last weekend, the head of the SEC’s transition team — former Mississippi State AD Larry Templeton — suggested that the SEC would once again discuss a nine-game schedule in the future due to the new playoff system.  But as long as the Big Ten doesn’t go to a nine-game league schedule, the SEC appears to have more company in the “We just play eight” boat.  (Of course, the Big Ten was planning to go to a nine-game schedule before striking its deal with the Pac-12, so it’s certainly possible that it could decide to go down that road and once again leave the SEC as the lone eight-gamer in major college football.)

But for now, this is a small victory for the SEC in terms of national perception.  Today there’s one less league and one less group of fans who can accuse Mike Slive’s conference of ducking major out-of-conference competition.

 


11 comments
DanHogan
DanHogan

I'm a Michigan State grad and I'm really disappointed to see it fall apart.  It's like conference expansion without actually having to expand!  I actually prefer the idea of a challenge game over another conference game since you get a relatively even matchup for everyone instead of the next-in-line conference game that could end up including some blow-outs.  I just hope they find a way to still do some of this for other sports.  I'd love to see two game (one home/one away) challenge in basketball, actually.  As a side note, the reason the B1G wanted all 12 Pac-12 teams is because they didn't want to lose out on the big names from the Pac while the B1G was providing access to everyone.  Maybe a mid- to lower-tier arrangement could still be worked out.

 

To those of you who have suggested a B1G/ SEC arrangement, I'm fully on-board.  One thing to remember, the Big Ten was looking to get away from the multiple B1G/SEC bowl games to get bowls against other conferences.  After seeing my team in three or four Jan 1 bowl games in Florida against SEC teams, it's tough to get excited about another one of those.  That's nothing against the SEC, but it's just not as special.  I could see replacing some of the bowl games with the SEC with a regular season arrangement.   I just hope it goes beyond football only.  Line up some olympic sport matchups as a lead-up to the football game!  And play a two game challenge in basketball, too!  I wanna see Michigan State and Ohio State playing Kentucky and Florida!   And if you SEC fans want out of the baseball challenge, we'd totally understand.  It's not like we really watch our baseball anyway.  Or maybe we can be a warm-up non-con for you or something.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @DanHogan I also would prefer more regular season games as opposed to the same general order of things for the bowl games.  It's fairly predictable which teams will be in those games from year to year.  There's a lot more freedom in the regular season.

viciousdawg
viciousdawg

Who cares what the B1G or Pacifier 12 thinks

buddha22
buddha22 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Just further reason not to run off and over react to inferior Conf ADs and know nothing talking heads about how the SEC will be deemed less worthy due to a "weak schedule." Seriously, a non-issue. If supposedly having 9 conference games would remove that "issue" as a point of differentiation to a selection committee and that rationale would be used you can believe they will find another rationalization if the "humans" are pre-disposed to block a 2nd SEC team.

 

All along I felt that the SEC had wisely left themselves room to assess and observe the potential conference realignments, potential playoffs et al. before making the move to 9 conf games. This just proves how wise they really are AND how much the P12 and B11 recognize the chasm between themselves and the B12...at this point they can't even see the SEC around the bend. Those conferences take offense to that? Sorry, it is just a fact.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @buddha22 I do find it interesting that this alliance was announced, but apparently the 2 leagues hadn't done any real planning ahead of time as to how it would work.  And it took them 6 months to figure out it was a bad idea?

 

It would seem all the important details would have been accounted for before the announcement.  Unless they scrapped the alliance for undisclosed reasons?

DanHogan
DanHogan

 @AllTideUp  @buddha22 I agree.  From the B1G standpoint, it's really a no brainer.  You get a 9th annual solid game and there are still 3 games left to schedule ND, maybe another BCS game, and then one or two cupcakes.  What's surprising is the fact that the Pac office was willing to agree to it from the start.  Maybe Larry Scott and Co overstepped.  

buddha22
buddha22

@AllTideUp Perhaps the stink from the PSU situation was a tipping point, I don't know. I would believe that when the SEC didn't bite and say the sky was falling when they cast aspersions on SEC SOS (HA!) and had their press minions start that BS may also have had something to do with it. Obviously it could have been worked out, but stubborn is as stubborn does and someone didn't want to give up an "old rivalry" for the benefit of both conferences. B1G will continue to be a drag on CFB as long as the other power conferences allow it, especially the P12 and their support of B1G for their support to the Rose Bowl..way too 20th century these days.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

Yeah, I'll echo these other guys.  How about an SEC/B1G series of match-ups?  The ESPN article said the B1G could pursue a similar deal with another league.  Well, the only other major league out there right now that's not playing 9 and has not announced plans to do so in the future is the SEC.  There are a few SEC/B1G match-ups set to take place in the near future like the home and home between Bama and Michigan State...

 

The article also said that the B1G wanted all 12 teams from the PAC to participate or they didn't want a deal at all(That all reminds me of when Wisconsin just dropped the whole idea of playing Bama if it couldn't be a home and home and how Delaney didn't want to have a playoff that included non-conference champions.  They are a little stubborn up there aren't they?).  The SEC obviously has 14 so you wouldn't have to have the entire SEC on board every season in order to pull it off.  You could rotate Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina on and off in given years since they already play their permanent OOC rival.

 

But seeing as how Ohio State cancelled their series with Georgia and considering how many losses the B1G would take in that setup I have to agree with WillieT that it probably won't happen.

WillieT
WillieT like.author.displayName 1 Like

Sounds like the PAC found the deal to bee a bit too much so I would imagine the B1G might just look for another partner. The BigEast could certainly use the exposure but partnering with a sinking ship doesn't sound like something the B1G would do.

 

Here's an idea - why not cut a deal with the SEC so that both leagues can have 9 BCS level opponents each year. (Oh, I really can't see Delany giving Slive a call to test the waters on that idea but for a second there, I was intrigued by the idea of Florida playing at Iowa in November..,)

 

Guess the B1G will just go to a 9-game league schedule...

Mike F
Mike F like.author.displayName 1 Like

How about we take the Pac-12's place and schedule head-to-heads with the B1G?

MoKelly1
MoKelly1

I agree with your observation but, we do not want to look to be on par or equal with the Big 10. We need to be above the Big 10 in every measure.

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