Pac-12, Big Ten alliance is no more

Remember when we imagined all the great games the Pac-12-Big Ten alliance would yield when it began in 2017?


The alliance is dead as of Friday, in large part because it didn't work well for the Pac-12, which plays nine conference games, compared to eight for the Big Ten. Perhaps the Big Ten will move to nine games now?

The alliance, on shaky ground for a while, threatened to create some brutal schedules for Pac-12 teams, which could become a problem as we adopt a four-team playoff starting in 2014. Teams such as USC and Stanford, which already play an annual game with Notre Dame, would be stuck with 11 A-list opponents. No program wants that, even ones that schedule ambitiously.

Heck, USC also already has Texas on the schedule in 2017. Just imagine a potential nonconference slate of Texas, Notre Dame and Ohio State.

It certainly would have created an uneven playing field compared to conferences that play eight conference games and four weak nonconference foes.

There is one potential bonus for the state of Utah: This eliminates a future argument against not playing the Holy War between Utah and BYU on an annual basis. The reason Utah killed the 2014-15 game is due to a home-and-home series with Michigan. That now should feel like a one-time deal... right Utah?

Of course, this is undoubtedly a drag for folks who love big-time nonconference matchups. The thought of all Pac-12 teams playing a Big Ten foe on an annual basis was pretty sweet.

It's still likely we'll see plenty of Big Ten-Pac-12 games. The conferences do remain unofficially aligned in many ways as academically minded conferences that share the Rose Bowl.

Still, this news is certainly a letdown.