Delany hopes the model for the Big Ten-Pac-12 football series emerges in the "not-too-far-distant future," and when it does, the number of conference games in those seasons is expected to shrink from nine back to eight.
"The question is, are you going to play eight quality conference games and assure there's a ninth quality game in the mix, one way or the other," Delany said.
The jokes asking whether Indiana and Minnesota count as "quality" games aside, this whole attitude is a big problem with college football. We need fewer power conference games against the likes of the MAC and the FCS schools. However, with the way that the system is set up, it really doesn't benefit the conferences to play fewer cupcakes. Knowing that a Pac-12 team will be on every schedule, there is little incentive for them to have the extra conference game that only serves as a chance for a potential national championship team to screw up. So the Big Ten may be cowards, but that's because there is a lot of money in being so.
The Pac-12 has no plans to alter the nine-game conference schedule after the commencement of the series with the Big Ten. While this puts the league at a tremendous disadvantage with respect to the rest of the conferences, I enjoy seeing six extra quality football games per season, as opposed to more games against Idaho and Portland State. But if the conference is going to continue down this road, they absolutely must insist on the conference champions provision for the new four-team playoff. If they cannot get this concession, they aboslutely have to join the rest of the conferences and have eight conference games to protect their chances of getting a spot. Such a necessity would be a shame, serving only to further dilute the quality of the game we love.