Most college basketball fans are familiar with the various non-conference challenges and tournaments that take place early in the basketball season, including the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Big Ten Commissioner, Jim Delany announced today that the Big Ten would be partnering with the Pac 12 to promote a similar arrangement. This will take form not only for men’s basketball, but football and women’s basketball as well, with more of the smaller sports also potentially joining in the fun. The changes may take longer to be implemented in football, as the schedules are often established years in advance of the games. However, when this partnership finally takes the field between these two, storied college conferences, the effect should be tremendous.
Beginning in 2017, the teams in both leagues will have at least one game against a school from the opposing conference. This partnership will not only combine different markets and fan bases, but will serve as an early indicator of expectations for many teams. On top of that, this partnership that has long been represented by the Rose Bowl will now be able to bring in revenue for both sides on a much more frequent basis.
With the matchups still a few years away, it should be fun to speculate as to what Big Ten and Pac 12 teams will be lined up against each other when this challenge kicks off.
Here are a few of my predictions:
Ohio State or M*chigan vs. USC – Either way, OSU or UM, whoever does not play against USC in the inaugural year of this challenge will probably be pissed. As Buckeye fans, we will say that the recent BCS successes, and NCAA setbacks, of both schools should have them aligned against each other. M*chigan fans will probably argue that their history against USC in the Rose Bowl (8 total games against each other…USC is 6-2) should have them facing the Trojans in 2017.
M*chigan vs. Arizona – Come on. Try and tell me that you don’t want to see the Wolverines go up against Rich Rodriguez, the man that most fans claim in responsible for some of the darkest days in their program’s history.
Wisconsin vs. Oregon – These two teams have come on strong in their respective conferences over the past decade, and are even meeting this year in the Rose Bowl. Although they have different styles, I could watch the Badgers and Ducks battle it out on repeat without getting bored.
Northwestern vs. Stanford – The Nerd Bowl…why not? Your smart kids against ours. With Andrew Luck gone, who knows how successful the Cardinal will be over the next few years, but at least we’ll get to hear clever chants from both student sections. (“That’s alright. That’s ok. You’re gonna work for us someday” is a personal favorite)
What Big Ten/Pac 12 matchups do you think would be the most entertaining? Click the link to leave your thoughts…