Monday, June 11, 2012
Michigan to get early start on Pac-12 series
By Brian Bennett
The Big Ten/Pac-12 football series isn't scheduled to begin until 2017, but the all-sports agreement between the leagues has some schools already thinking about lining up some future football matchups.
Michigan is in the process of wrapping up deals to play Pac-12 teams in the next few years. Athletic director Dave Brandon told ESPN.com on Monday that he hoped announcements on future games would come in the next week or so and that he was just waiting on contracts to be signed. The Wolverines have openings on their nonconference schedules in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Brandon said the Big Ten/Pac-12 alliance prompted him to reach out West for games.
"I figured that as long as we're going to have an affiliation with the Pac-12, we ought to pursue it and see what we can do to create some matchups before the official 2017 start," he said. "So we're working hard to do that."
The games would come before the 2017 series began, and Brandon said he's leaving dates open for that year and beyond for a Pac-12 opponent.
"As far as the big matchups between the Pac-12 and Big Ten, the conference is really going to coordinate all of that," he said. "But I've got games to fill (in the next few years), so we'll do some of those."
The Wolverines aren't the only Big Ten team that already has Pac-12 teams on its docket in the near future.
Northwestern and Stanford have a home and home series scheduled for 2015-16 and 2019-22, while the Wildcats play California in 2013 and '14. Michigan State and Oregon will play a home-and-home set in 2014-15. Ohio State is playing Cal this year and next. Nebraska has UCLA in 2012 and '13. Wisconsin goes to Oregon State this season, plays Arizona State in 2013 and is scheduled to play Washington State in 2014-15 and Washington in 2017-18. Illinois will play Washington in 2013 and 2014. Minnesota and Oregon State have a deal for 2017-18.
(Assuming that a Pac-12 school wouldn't want to play two Big Ten teams in a given year, and assuming Michigan doesn't want to play Arizona because of the Rich Rodriguez factor, the Pac-12 teams that appear to have the most open schedules for the Wolverines in '14-'15-'16 would include USC, Utah, Oregon State and Colorado).
So when the Pac-12/Big Ten series officially starts in 2017, it will look more like a continuation of recent trends than a whole new ballgame.