USC Football: Pac-12, Big 10 Call Off Partnership


Sep 12, 2009; Columbus, OH, USA; Southern California Trojans tailback Joe McKnight (4) is pursued by Ohio State Buckeyes defensive lineman Rob Rose (9) in the fourth quarter at Ohio Stadium. USC defeated Ohio State 18-15. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Per ESPN, the Pac-12 and Big 10 conferences announced Friday that their scheduling partnership will not come to fruition after all.

The conferences initially announced the partnership in December, but apparently scheduling issues involving several Pac-12 schools caused this deal to fall apart. The series would have begun in 2017, and would have featured a round-robin football schedule with 12 games per season.

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany spoke about the matter:

"“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 nonconference 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 nonconference commitments.”"

According to, the Pac-12 approached the Big Ten in March with reservations about a mandatory scheduling agreement pertaining to several of its schools. The main issue was that the Pac-12 currently plays nine league games per season, while the Big Ten only plays eight. For teams like USC and Stanford, who annually face Notre Dame, adding a Big Ten opponent to an already competitive schedule would have been taxing. Aside from the Trojans and the Cardinal, other Pac-12 teams have regular scheduling agreements with non-conference opponents, such as Utah-BYU.

Several models had been proposed, but none really fit the scheduling needs of all the teams involved. Initially the Pac-12 and Big 10 agreed upon featuring 10 or 11 games a year in 2017-20, with the idea to eventually reach 12. Another model called for six Big Ten/Pac-12 matchups annually, with each team appearing every other year. All Big Ten schools were ready for the partnership, even though some programs, like Ohio State, could not begin until after 2017. also found out from the conferences that the Big 10 wanted an all or nothing agreement, which further dissolved this arrangement. At least four Pac-12 schools ultimately decided they would not accept mandatory scheduling, and there was even a model calling for eight matchups per year for the willing Pac-12 schools, but the Big Ten wanted complete collaboration.

Though the Pac-12/Big-10 battles will not become a regular thing, there will still be some match-ups between the conferences in the coming years that are already scheduled, such as Michigan State vs. Oregon, Michigan vs. Utah and Northwestern vs. Stanford.