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Pac 12 and Big Ten announce scheduling alliance

Nobody can ever accuse Pac 12 commissioner Larry Scott of not being creative. Earlier this month he was over in China developing relationships which would expand the Pac 12 brand deep into the heart of Asia.

Scott expects the Pac-12 to play games in China in the next three to five years, and said that he hoped the league's cable network would someday be available there.

Notre Dame and Stanford have discussed playing their 2013 football game in China instead of in California.

Today he announced in conjunction with Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney a scheduling agreement with the Big Ten that would have all Pac 12 football teams playing a single inter-league game each season with a Big Ten opponent starting in 2017.

The agreement would also include one or two more post season games against Big Ten opponents in bowl games that have yet to be determined. Improving the selection of Pac 12 bowl games is a priority for Scott and aligning more closely with the Big Ten will give the conference more leverage during the next set of bowl contracts which are coming up in 2014.

Some football games could be featured annually as a preseason kick off event hosted by the Rose Bowl or at Chicago's Soldier Field. Basketball challenges could also end up being hosted at NBA arena's like Chicago's United Center or the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Scott says that the Pac 12 will continue to play nine conference football games per season. The Big Ten on the other hand says that they will seriously rethink the commitment to a nine game conference schedule. The Pac Ten and Big 12 are currently the only conferences who play nine conference games.

Obviously it would be better from a competitive standpoint (because that is what everyone else is doing) if the Pac 12 only scheduled eight conference football games. The problem with that would be even more restricted access to Los Angeles for the Northwest schools unless Cal and Sanford made some concessions such as not playing USC and UCLA every year.

What this agreement does is create better potential programming for the two conferences in revenue and non revenue sports. Current TV partners ABC/ESPN and Fox would carry the bulk of the football and basketball match-ups while most Olympic sports would be televised on the two conferences cable networks.

If you are a Cougar, Beaver, Ute, or Buff this is a great deal because you are guaranteed a home game against a Big Ten opponent every other year. When was the last time that Penn State visited Pullman?

If you are a Big Ten team it guarantees your school games out West and in California every other year which helps with recruiting. Nebraska might actually be the school which benefits the most from this.

It definitely sends a message to the SEC and the Big 12. The Big Ten and Pac-12 now encompass 15 states holding 43% of the nation's population and 22 of its top 50 television markets.