Pac-12, Big Ten Announce Inter-Conference Partnership, Football Games Starting In 2017

The Pac-12 and Big Ten announced on Wednesday an inter-conference partnership that will include at least one inter-conference football game starting in 2017.

We all know there is lots of money to be made with these mega college sports conference these days, but two in particular will likely start making a lot more of it in the near future.

It was announced on Wednesday that the Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences have decided to form an inter-conference alliance that will include inter-conference schedules in all sports, and beginning in 2017, an inter-conference football game on every team's schedule, according to multiple sources.

This agreement will go for all sports, but since football and basketball bring in the most revenue, they are the obvious focal points of this accord. In terms of football, Every team in both conferences will play at least one team from the opposing conference each season, with 2017 as the starting point for football and likely much earlier in other sports, possibly as soon as the 2012-13 season.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney stated that this partnership is sort of like realignment, just without having to do any actual realignment. A very saavy move for the two Rose Bowl conferences who now stand to make some serious cash-money:

"It's sort of in lieu of what some other people are doing (with expansion)," Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said.

"Our idea is you can't stand still. You have to build in an environment where people are competing for attention, where they're competing to have the best competitive assets and to present themselves in the best way. I think both of us believe ... this is the most constructive way for us to do that."

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott made it clear that this is not a "political move," rather [in essence] a business decision to promote that Pac-12 to a much larger market:

"This makes a lot of sense," Scott said, "in terms of continuing to broaden our exposure and improving programming and improving the caliber of our schools' matchups."

When combined, the Pac-12 and Big Ten markets are in 15 states that include 43% of the U.S. population and 22 of its top 50 TV markets. So, if that isn't making bread, I don't know what is. It also opens the opportunity to have more marquee season-opening games at neutral locations that will be nationally televised; a proverbial cash cow of a football game.

Moving forward, Arizona and Arizona State will now have a bit of a tougher task making a BCS Bowl with an talented Big Ten school on their schedule in a few years. But with the improved exposure of the Pac-12 and the upgrade of their strength of schedule, it should prove to be a win for all in the long run.

For more on discussion and analysis, head over to Pac-12 blog Pacific Takes and/or Off Tackle Empire. For all the latest AZ sports news, follow us on Twitter @SBNArizona and "Like" us on Facebook.

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