Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 12/28/11

Think of this as like a college football version of the Big Ten ACC Challenge in college basketball. Or as an extension of the Rose Bowl; which matches up a Big Ten and Pac 12 team every year on January 1. Today, a new Big Ten-Pac-12 collaboration was announced with the intention to feature more games between the two conferences.

In football, the objective is to create an annual 12 inter-conference game schedule between the two conferences by the 2017 season. The plan calls for each school to play an opponent from the other conference every year with some flexibility built in. Many sports, including men’s basketball, could see an increased level of cross-conference play, possibly by 2012-13. Over the coming months there will be a series of detailed scheduling planning meetings among administrators of both conferences to work out exact details.

Look for some ADs and coaches to take to task the idea of keeping both this Pac-12 tie-in and a 9-game conference schedule. Most probably won’t go for both; and prefer one over the other. And with all conference expansion/collaboration questions, there’s always the Notre Dame question. ND played as many ACC teams this year as they did Big Ten, and I’ve always argued they’re actually a better fit for for the ACC than the Big Ten. Now, if Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State don’t want to play the Irish every year, the Pac-12 tie-in could be a de facto out clause.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 history  begins with the inaugural Rose Bowl Game in 1902. The two conferences have met in Pasadena on 62 occasions, including 55 consecutive meetings from 1947-2001. And as you know, the Big Ten created the first national conference-owned television network, the Big Ten Network (BTN) in 2007. The Pac-12 will be launching its own similar network this August. Both networks will be available to cross markets when the conferences play each other.

Here’s an example Illinois is already scheduled to play Washington in football in 2013 and 2014. They have a current home and home with Arizona State, and play UCLA in their bowl game in three days; coincidentally the 4th time they’ve met UCLA in a bowl trip.

And, before you conspiracy theorists get started- no, today’s announcement is not a move towards merging the two conferences!

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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