Jon Wilner seems to propose that if strength-of-schedule is negated in the new college football playoff, Pac-12 vs. Big Ten could be up in the air on the football field.
If SOS is given serious weight … if it’s a tangible part of the formula … then Pac-12 schools may be willing to consider a partnership in which the top programs draw B1G heavyweights every few years, sources said.
But if SOS is not included in the formula, then a full-blown Pac-12/B1G partnership — and I’ll explain what I mean by that in a minute — could be in jeopardy.
This rumor might have legs, but in the long-run it seems overblown.
I agree there are some concerns that the Pac-12 and Big Ten could squeeze each other out of the race if they beat each other up too much. However, it's only one game against one another. And there are only a handful of Big Ten powerhouses at this moment.
However, this is Wilner discussing what college football coaches might want. That might diverge from what the conference desires and what the school presidents desire, which could override any interests about the difficulty of the schedule. A Pac-12 vs. Big Ten partnership is real nice on paper, and having marquee matchups with a big-time conference could be really beneficial for both sides.
As nice as the postseason is, the regular season is where a lot of the money is being made.
Could a stronger strength of schedule destroy the Pac-12's chances at being involved in a playoff? Possibly, but it's not like the conference will have big tie-ins with any other schools from major conferences. Also, even though the Pac-12 stacks up on strong out-of-conference opponents, most of them have no major binding tie-ins with OOC schools. USC is really the only team in danger of always stacking up on their schedule because of the Notre Dame rivalry, and they have never seemed to shy away from playing strong opponents.
Finally, the Pac-12 Network figures to be a big the long-term source of revenue for the conference. The Pac-12 vs. Big Ten partnership promises the conference some HUGE marquee games to air on their network that would make it easier for other cable and satellite carriers to pick up the network. While there are limits to how far the conferences might be willing to go in terms of scheduling tough teams, you get the feeling that as long as you avoid a USC vs. Notre Dame/Texas scenario, teams can be coaxed along to playing Big Ten teams on a regular basis.
As to the SoS correlation to this partnership, there's no way the Pac-12 is not getting a share of the revenue money from a college football playoff. They're going to be in the mix too much to be excluded to begin with, and even if their schedules are brutal it's hard not to see them getting bids on a regular basis with four teams instead of two. They have to get a piece of the pie, plus whatever benefits come from being a regular participant in the four-team playoff.
Anyways, strength-of-schedule appears to be factored in a college football playoff. So we should be all good unless it ends up being a negligent component of consideration for the selection committee.