Penn State Football: How the Big Ten-Pac-12 Agreement Impacts Nittany LionsDecember 29, 2011
On Wednesday the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced a groundbreaking scheduling agreement that will impact football, basketball and more. The two power conferences have agreed to have all members schedule one football game each year against a school from the opposing conference.
The idea has been met with great praise by college football fans all over, and Penn State fans are already thinking about the Nittany Lions' future matchups with the Pac-12.
The benefit for both conferences is increased exposure in the other's territory.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 have a combined 24 institutions, and no states cross over. For the Big Ten to gain access to the West Coast, and for the Pac-12 to benefit from media exposure in Chicago and the midwestern region, both conferences and all 24 members stand to benefit from the increased exposure, one of the top reasons the deal was agreed to.
It becomes a valuable recruiting tool for all schools. Penn State gains access to recruits in California and the rest of the West Coast and gains some media exposure in Los Angeles and more.
Plus, having one guaranteed game against a power conference such as the Pac-12 each year is a recruiting chip in and of itself.
Penn State will be able to promise their recruits at least one game against a premiere opponent on the schedule every season. With that will likely come a trip to a prestigious venue, as well, because the Big Ten and Pac-12 will probably find a way to ensure home and road games are split as evenly as possible between the two.
Penn State at USC, UCLA or Oregon? Who would not get excited about that?
Penn State appears to be keeping eight conference games per year, leaving four nonconference games to fill. One spot will be filled by a Pac-12 team that is deemed equally competitive, and three more games will be left to be filled.
While the scheduling agreement does add strength to the schedule automatically, will Penn State fill the remaining three games with weaker teams or throw in one more competitive game with a team from another power conference?
That will be key to judging Penn State's future schedules: Will they challenge themselves and put themselves in position to become a power player in the grand scheme of things, or will Penn State settle for games against weaker opponents in order to try and fill seats?
So, Who Will Penn State Play?
It remains to be seen just how the scheduling will be done.
Will schools play a series of home-and-home games before rotating to a new cross-over match-up?
Will the teams be arranged annually to pit the first-place teams from the previous seasons against each other, in a likely Rose Bowl rematch, or will things be switched up to make for the most historical matchups?
While Penn State has a decent history with USC, few would argue that Ohio State and Michigan each have deeper historical connections with the Trojans.
USC and Michigan have met in the most Rose Bowls, followed by USC and Ohio State. It would figure that USC would be first paired up with Michigan when the agreement goes in to place.
Oregon is a team most Penn State fans seem to want to have on the schedule first. The two schools last played in the 1995 Rose Bowl, in which Penn State completed its undefeated season.
This would be a likely scenario, if the two schools are playing on the same level, because it could easily be marketed as a clash of football cultures.
Penn State is your typical old-school program, with the most simple uniforms in the game. Then there is Oregon, with the fast, up-tempo game plan and the weekly uniform changes that leave everyone guessing.
While this has an easy marketability to grab on to, the question will be if Oregon and Penn State are in the same neighborhood competitively by the time this game comes around.
Would Oregon be more likely to be paired with Ohio State? Perhaps.
The thing is, there are five years until the games need to be set up, and there will surely be plenty of changes in both conferences between now and that time.
Only then will we have a true feel for how the teams will stack up against each other.
Penn State vs. the Pac-12
Penn State has played every team in the Pac-12 except for Utah and has a cumulative 24-9 record against Pac-12 schools, although it has been quite some time since Penn State has played a number of them.
Penn State's last game against Washington was played in 1983. They last played Washington State in 1948.
Penn State has played USC more than any other Pac-12 school, with the most recent meeting coming in the 2009 Rose Bowl. The Nittany Lions last defeated USC in the 1996 Kickoff Classic in old Giants Stadium, the last of a three-game winning streak against the Trojans.
Penn State's next most-played Pac-12 opponent is UCLA, with the Bruins owning a 4-2 edge in the series, but the most recent game in the series was played in 1968.
Penn State Head-To-Head vs. Pac 12 Schools
- Arizona: 1-0
- Arizona State: 1-0
- Cal: 3-1
- Colorado: 1-1
- Oregon: 3-1
- Oregon State: 1-0
- Stanford: 4-1
- UCLA: 2-4
- USC: 4-5
- Utah: 0-0
- Washington: 2-0
- Washington State: 2-0
Kevin McGuire is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and add him to your Google+ circle.