Are a number of Pac-12 teams unhappy with the conference's alliance with the Big Ten, one that was supposed to feature a series of top-to-bottom annual matchups starting in 2017?
Yes, according to Jon Wilner.
Why? Because it could create some absurdly difficult schedules. Notes Wilner:
But why would USC, as a logical example, agree to face a top-tier B1G opponent in 2017 when it already has Notre Dame and Texas on the schedule?
And the Trojans aren’t the only ones with difficult non-conference lineups in 2017 and beyond.
Oregon has a series with Texas A&M scheduled for 2018-19; Stanford is playing Virginia and Notre Dame in 2017-18; ASU has Notre Dame scheduled … and that’s in addition to the Pac-12 teams playing nine league games (as opposed to eight for SEC teams).
Then you’re going to add a game with Wisconsin/Nebraska/Ohio State/Michigan, all while asking the teams to compete with SEC counterparts for a berth in a four-team playoff that doesn’t consider SOS in any tangible form?
Just imagine if the Trojans' nonconference schedule featured, say, Notre Dame, Texas and Ohio State on top of a nine-game conference schedule. And what if USC went 11-1 but lost out on the new four-team playoff to a team that went 12-0 but played a far easier schedule.
Still, if strength-of-schedule gets a prominent place with the selection committee for the new playoff, well, the alliance may go forward as it was originally imagined. Or at least mostly so.
If SOS is given serious weight … if it’s a tangible part of the formula … then Pac-12 schools may be willing to consider a partnership in which the top programs draw B1G heavyweights every few years, sources said.
Another layer to this: What about all the major conferences standardizing scheduling procedures? If the SEC and Big Ten are playing eight conference games and the Pac-12 and Big 12 play nine, those conferences aren't playing by the same rules.
It would make sense for everyone to play eight or play nine. Here's a guess that's part of the discussions in D.C. today.
Some good stuff here from my buddies over the Big Ten blog on this topic and Wilner's story.