Big Ten & Pac-12: Now is the time to stick it to the SEC
Texas and Oklahoma leaving the Big12 Conference to join the SEC has got the other Power 5 conferences scrambling to save themselves and poach potential universities to join their conference. The SEC has always been one step ahead of the other conferences. Now is not the time to act in desperation, now is the time to think strategically. Now is the time to stick it to the SEC. Rather than try to add additional universities to the Pac-12 & Big Ten football conferences, now is the time to reinforce tradition within the two conferences AND increase interest & TV revenue.
How do you preserve the tradition & increase TV revenue and interest? Glad you asked. Here’s how you do it.
- Each year there are 3 non-conference football games. Have each conference schedule 2 of those 3 games against each other each year. Do it in a way that reflects the previous year’s standings. Some will say that schedules are set years in advance….bowl games & playoff games at the end of the season are set within weeks. Determine the HOME team in years in advance if necessary and the VISITING team would be decided once the previous season ended.
- In today’s format the Big Ten East Champion plays the Big Ten West Champion and the Pac-12 North Champion plays the Pac-12 South Champion. With the winner of each hoping for a spot in the National College Championship (currently just 4 teams). Here’s a better format: Have the two conference winners from the Big Ten (East & West) face off against the two conference winners in the Pac-12 (North & South). With the ultimate winners playing against each other for a Big Ten/Pac-12 Championship… sound familiar? Maybe they’d play this game in the Rose Bowl with the winner guaranteed a spot in the College Football Playoff.
United They Stand, Divided The Conferences Fall
The above format would increase the rivalry between the Big-10 and Pac-12. Today there really isn’t much of a rivalry between the two conferences, although everyone is united in their dislike for the Buckeyes.. Here are some other advantages of this plan:
- The playoff games between the conferences would be epic and a ratings hit. Also, for traditionalists, it would make the Rose Bowl meaningful again.
- Such an alignment would expand the reach from 14 schools (Big Ten) and 12 schools (Pac-12) to 26 schools…leapfrogging the SEC and any other potential additions/subtractions should say a USC or Nebraska or (insert your university here) bolt from their existing conference to another.
- This alignment would also have other far reaching implications beyond football. Leading research institutions are in both conferences and increasing these ties would be good academically. Both conferences have strong academic requirements, no need to sacrifice those standards by trying to poach a “football university” with low standards.
The biggest challenge would be the TV money and how to divide it up. It's always about the money. The fact is, the next broadcast contract for either conference is going to be the biggest ever. Live sports programming is only getting more valuable. The two conferences should realize such an alignment would benefit all schools involved, preserve tradition and increase interest. I’d call that a win-win-win scenario.
Let me know what you think in the comments section below.
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