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Posted on Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 2:49 p.m.

Reports: Big Ten, Pac-12 agree on unique scheduling alliance

By Nick Baumgardner

Perhaps Rich Rodriguez will get his matchup with the Michigan football program after all.

Multiple reports Wednesday detailed a new partnership agreement between the Big Ten Conference and the Pac-12 Conference aimed at expanding inter-league scheduling across all sports, including football.

The partnership will require all football member institutions from the Big Ten and Pac-12 to schedule one game per season with a school from the other conference, with both leagues hoping to gain full participation by 2017.

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott were slated to hold a joint teleconference at 4:30 p.m. to further discuss the agreement.

After recently being hired at Arizona, Rodriguez — who was fired after three seasons at Michigan prior to the 2011 season — reportedly expressed interest in scheduling a non-conference game between Arizona and Michigan at some point down the road.

He later said that statement was blown out of proportion, but under this new Big Ten-Pac-12 agreement, it could technically become a reality.

In a USA Today report, Delany described the collaboration between the two leagues as an answer to nationwide expansion.

"It's sort of in lieu of what some other people are doing (with expansion)," Delany told the paper. "Our idea is you can't stand still. You have to build in an environment where people are competing for attention, where they're competing to have the best competitive assets and to present themselves in the best way. I think both of us believe … this is the most constructive way for us to do that."

Reports say the agreement could feature an annual football season kickoff event, held at venues like the Rose Bowl or Chicago's Soldier Field.

Basketball schedules could feature inter-league matchups at NBA arenas in Big Ten and Pac-12 markets, with games potentially beginning as early as 2012-13. "We're going to continue to play other conferences in bowls," Delany told USA Today. "We're going to continue to play challenges against other leagues. And we're going to continue to be involved in the NCAA and all of its championships. We're just trying to deepen our collegial relationship, build on what we've had."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 2:26 a.m.

If they make the crossover game count as a conference game, we'd have our first superconference.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 1:58 a.m.

3 words: Bring him on. I'll bet his Barwis trained athletes will just absolutely kill in the fourth quarter.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 12:10 a.m.

Geezo Pete's, the Rose Bowl is NOT a neutral site, it's been a home game for the PAC for 100 years. There is no sense gifting them another home game, at least rotate to the Great Lakes every other year if there's some sort of kickoff lead in game.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 10:35 p.m.

The lead in sentence is misleading re Rich Rod getting his wish to play Michigan. I don't think B1G Commish Jim Delany had Rich Rod in mind about this joint effort with the Pac-12. The odds on Rich Rod remaining at AZ in 2017 is a long time to hold one's breath. The B1G/Pac-12 match ups will be good for both conferences, then again how much bigger will be each conference be regard expansion by then?

Haran Rashes

Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 10:24 p.m.

I wonder how much this will cost Michigan in terms of revenue. The cost of travelling to the West Coast every other year in lieu of bringing in one of the Michigan MAC or another school that will fill Michigan Stadium for a paycheck will certainly have an impact on the bottom line. I also assume that this may add fire to the rumored end of the Michigan/Notre Dame rivalry. Of course that may be Delany's hidden agenda. Force Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue and a few others to drop Notre Dame from their schedule and it makes joining the Big Ten even more attractive and maybe inevitable for Notre Dame.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 6:46 a.m.

I believe the added revenue from TV would more than make up for the extra cost of fuel from flying farther. Also, fuel consumption is much higher during takeoff and you have to do that regardless if you are flying to Iowa, or California. There is no national TV audience for Michigan vs. Western Michigan; there would be for Michigan vs. a PAC twelve team.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 9:59 p.m.

Seriously? RR is the lead-in sentence? Let's stop obsessing about RR here, please staff. I beg of you.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 9:25 p.m.

The assumption here is that RR will still be at Zona in 2017 to see this happen. I dont think he will be. I think he will either have been fired or has moved on to a different bigger football school. I think that he needs to show a much improved emphasis on defense for the latter to happen because if he does not he wont win many games in the wide open Pac 12. The other thing thats interesting is that Michigans schedule is full until Zona would be at the rebuilt point or 3-4 years from now. This was well known by RR and thats what makes his comments once again completely rediculous because he knows full well that if Zona played Michigan next year at any stadium Michigan would put atleast 50 on them and would not stop and Zona would probably not score! The only Pac 12 teams to look out for next year are USC and Oregon. No one else will be remotely good!


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 8:48 p.m.

I am certain that Delaney is laying the groundwork for the Big Ten to distance itself from playoff nonsense, BCS nonsense, and possibly NCAA nonsense.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 8:47 p.m.

Sounds like an interesting plan. This agreement could also provide leverage with Notre Dame to get them to join the conference or risk not being able to find the quality opponents to replace some of the Big Ten teams that may elect to drop their annual game with ND.

Terrin Bell

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:18 a.m.

Right the Notre Dame that has the better record in the series with Michigan over the last ten years. Even though Notre Dame lost this year, it was one of the more exciting games of the season.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 6:33 a.m.

I agree- to hades with the has beens.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 12:12 a.m.

Screw Notre Dame, I don't want them in the conference. That ship has sailed, we don't need them, and we should not renew any additional long term commitment with them.

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 8:33 p.m.

Going to a nine-game conference schedule (as the Pac-12 already does) and adding this game will ensure that Big Ten teams have the increased strength-of-schedule rating to compete with the SEC when it comes time to determine NCG participation. Before the SEC fans jump in with their superiority chorus, I'd like to point out that the Big Ten has had more BCS participants than any other conference.

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 9:53 p.m.

No, there's an algorithm used, and Big Ten schools have been eligible according to that algorithm in more seasons than any other conference, as well.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 8:21 p.m.

Rich Rodrequez is beginning to show his true feelings about Mich. and what took place when he was shown the door. I always believed Rich Rodriguez was a competitor so I always believed his feelings about Mich and what took place would surface. Maybe his negative feelings will start a fire in his belly and he will turn the Arizona program around.. If Mich. does play Arizona and Rich down the road I think Rich is going to be disappointed with Mich. once again.