- Tom VanHaaren, ESPN Staff Writer
The news Wednesday that the Big Ten and Pac-12 will enter a scheduling agreement beginning in the 2017 season is a huge announcement that affects both conferences dramatically. The agreement states that all teams in each league will play one inter-league game with the opposing conference.
This decision will likely have an effect on recruiting for both conferences, particularly the Big Ten. It's often difficult to for the Midwest schools to convince prospects from the West to choose their school, weather and distance being the main factors.
This schedule agreement will now make it so that prospects would be able to come back home, so to speak, for a game every other year, depending on where they're from. It would make travel easier for parents of those prospects if they knew their son's team would be playing a game out West.
"It would make it easier for a prospect to go to a Big Ten school from out West because you'd know you would come home," 2012 offensive line prospect Josh Garnett (Puyallup, Wash./Puyallup) said. "It'd be easier for friends and family to come see you, and it would also show you really what conference is stronger. Seeing the teams go heads up you could tell who was better."
Not just from a travel standpoint, or distance standpoint, but this also gives the Big Ten schools more of a presence out West. The Big Ten conference isn't discussed that much, since the Pac-12 teams don't currently play them until bowl season. Adding a Big Ten team every year to the schedule, whether for a home or away game, the prospects are now being exposed to those Midwest teams that maybe they hadn't seen before.
With a team like Michigan specifically, it benefits the Wolverines tremendously. Coach Brady Hoke and his staff already have established outstanding relationships in California and elsewhere out West. This now gives the coaching staff an opportunity to recruit that area but also show those prospects up close what they're all about.
There was a rumor that newly hired Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez wanted the Wildcats to schedule the Wolverines in the near future. The thought might not be so farfetched now.
The news Wednesday that the Big Ten and Pac-12 will enter a scheduling agreement beginning in the 2017 season is a huge announcement that affects both conferences dramatically.