The Big Ten/Pac-12 college football challenge is over before it even began.
In a joint statement by Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, the two sides agreed the series that was announced last December had met resistance by some Pac-12 schools and had to be scuttled.
And this isn't a big surprise especially with the Pac-12's nine-game conference schedule and some yearly nonconference staples, such as USC's game against Notre Dame. Adding yet another high-level game against a member of the Big Ten would make for some pretty tough seasons.
"After extensive deliberation and consultation with member institutions, television partners and others, the Pac-12 and Big Ten have decided not to pursue the previously announced plans for enhanced scheduling collaboration across all sports at this time," Scott said. "While we continue to value our close relation- ship, particularly our partnership in the Rose Bowl, the Pac-12 came to the conclusion that it's in our best interests to maintain our 9-game conference schedule and maximum flexibility in out-of- conference scheduling. Thus, the Pac-12 decided not to lock into the proposed mandatory 12-game schedule in football."
The official Big Ten/Pac-12 collaboration wasn't supposed to begin until 2017, but several schools from those conferences already had scheduled games in the next few years. While the collaboration was going to be tough on teams such as USC, other schools - Colorado for instance - found the agreement to be an important way to both strengthen their schedule — since the Buffaloes are already locked into a series with Colorado State until 2019 - and enhance their exposure. Utah was even contemplating (and might still be) ending its rivalry with BYU to embrace a yearly series with a Big Ten foe.
Similarly, the collaboration was an easy way to fill a scheduling gap for Big Ten schools seeking an high-level opponent in order to strengthen their schedule.
"A great effort was made by both conference staffs to create football schedules that would address the variety of complexities, but in the end, we were just not able to do so," Delany said.
"While everyone at the Big Ten is disappointed by the news, we look forward to continuing the historic partnership that we have with the Pac-12 and to working together on other matters in the future."