The Pac-12 and the Big 10 agreed to a deal that would ensure that by 2017 football teams from both conferences would be able to schedule each other and play each other on a regular basis (basketball and Olympic sports figure to be partnered up down the line). This will ensure plenty of things, like stability in non-conference scheduling, a stronger partnership between two of the premier collegiate entities, good marquee matchups before the conference season, and better fan attendance and TV deals down the line.
Still, things might not proceed too smoothly in that direction. The Pac-12 and the Big 10 might have to mix and match before they all end up playing each other in the same season.
The sticking point, Alvarez said, is how difficult the schedule could become for some Pac-12 teams. That league is committed to playing a full nine-game conference schedule. A Big Ten opponent would mean 10 tough games, and schools like USC and Stanford have an annual series with Notre Dame.
"So I can see why somebody would be reluctant to jump in with both feet and say, 'Hey this is great,' with the schedule they're playing," Alvarez said. "Most of the people I've talked to have been in favor it, and the ADs out there have been in favor of it. But I can see where some people, some coaches could be reluctant."
Let's not forget that both the Pac-12 and the Big 10 would probably want to still play other tough teams from the major conferences OOC. And there is the little matter of several Big Ten and Pac-12 schools all putting up independent Notre Dame on their schedule. That's a lot for all the teams to put on the platter. In terms of overall excellence, it makes sense, but it's something probably most football coaches would not be happy to deal with down the line.
Still, it's only a small adjustment, not an impediment. It should be noted in the original agreement that "Both conferences reaffirmed plans to play an annual 12 interconference game football schedule beginning in 2017, subject to previously contracted non-conference games." So this was always a possibility. At worst, teams will pass on it one year until their current deals are gone, then use it as a backup option if they don't have marquee matchups with each other.
Pac-12/Big Ten football is still happening. It just might not be every team facing every team on a regular basis.