The Stanford-Notre Dame rivalry is about to take an incredibly unique turn.
The New York Times is reporting that Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott flew to Beijing China on Sunday to discuss a "road map" with various officials to expand the presence of the Pac-12 globally. He told the newspaper that he expects the conference to be playing collegiate games in China in the next three to five years.
New York Times reporter Pete Thamel has more on how unique this potentially could be:
There have been college football games played overseas, and dozens of colleges have sent teams in other sports on foreign tours, but the Pac-12’s initiative to become more involved in China is believed to be the first concentrated effort by a league to establish itself overseas. Pac-12 presidents and athletic directors say there is a strong desire for the results to transcend sports, hoping that an increased presence in China will lead to recruitment of future students and positive cultural experiences for their athletes who travel there.
The first potential game may be in 2013 between Notre Dame and Stanford, although Nike CEO and Oregon Duck alum Phil Knight has a strong interest as well.
Football, a sport most people could care less about in China, may be the last Pac-12 sport to be played overseas. Scott believes that sports like men's and women's basketball and volleyball could be played soon because of the infrastructure already in place for such an event. It's part of an initiative of the conference to create a strong relationship with the Pacific Rim.
It would be pretty cool to watch how the fans in China would react to every play. Do they know how many points are handed out for a touchdown? Do they know how many yards it takes to get a first down? Who would they root for? It's pretty intriguing.
Sure the NFL plays a game each season in Wembley Stadium in London, England, but this is much different.
This is a first rate college football game played on literally the other side of the world. The time difference forces the game to be played at a very odd time; the teams would need at least three to four days to adjust to the schedule and extreme culture shock that would ensue.
The NFL is more business than anything else when in London. This would be an incredible learning experience for the two collegiate schools with a chance to make a big impression on a humongous market that has yet to be tapped into.
Count me in the camp for hoping this game happens. It's the natural evolution of the game and I can't think of two better schools to make a good impression than the Cardinal and the Fighting Irish.
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