Friday, May 22, 2009

Recapping the Big Ten Meetings

Hey wow, can you believe all of the ground breaking, earth shattering news we got out of the Big Ten meetings this week?!? Well can you? Yeah me neither...ok so there was really nothing. But when you're looking for college football news in May, no news is

We've already been over most of what was discussed. Negotiations for new bowl agreements apparently won't begin until the fall. The one for the Big Ten that's currently up in the air is with the Capital One/Champs Sports bowls in Orlando. The Big Ten and SEC had concerns about Orlando's aging Citrus Bowl, as much-needed renovation plans have stalled because of the economy. We'll see if they have a clearer picture of things in the fall or not. Personally I would have LOVE to see them work something out with the Cotton Bowl to have a Big Ten/SEC showdown in Jerryland aka the new Cowboys stadium, which is supposed to be 19 million stages beyond ridiculous. I know the Captial One Bowl currently is Big Ten vs. SEC, but the Cotton Bowl is more prestigious, and would present an even bigger stage. Still, Orlando is a great destination for a bowl game, so no complaints if they work things out to stay there.

The most interesting thing to me that came up (since adding a 12th team has zero traction) is the movement to add a ninth conference game. While this would be fantastic for Big Ten fans to get an additional conference game instead of Air Force, Syracuse or SDSU, I was really surprised to hear that schools would give up not just a lucrative home game, but a lucrative home game that's a guaranteed win against a crappy D1/1-AA opponent (and yes I'm aware of the new "Bowl Subdivision" name for 1-AA. It's political correctness crap and I refuse to use it). As you know, despite the addition of a 12th regular season game a few years back, the standard to qualify for a bowl game remained at just 6 wins. Hooray! Let's reward mediocrity! Let's lessen the standards of making a bowl game! Yeah I hate that idea, and think it should be bumped to 7 wins, but if these lower tier bowls (and there seems to be a new one popping up every year) keep making money, then I guess more power to them.

ANYWAY, I was suprised school Presidents and AD's were ok giving up a home game/free win that gets them one step closer to a bowl game. Could the Big Ten possibly care about their fans and integrity and the spirit of real competition?

Um no...this from Michigan AD Bill Martin:

"As the guarantees [for nonconference games] go up and up and up and the fans want to play our sister institutions in the conference, to me it's a no-brainer. Play 'em."

I bolded the real reason a ninth conference game is being considered: the crappy schools are demanding more and more money to get the crap kicked out of them. I guess if there's anything good coming out of today's economic climate, it's actually making it more feasible for schools to play real games instead of glorified exhibition games.

I would love to see them go even a step further and have 10 conference games so everybody plays everybody, but I know that will never happen. Despite the scheduling problems it would create (obviously with 11 schools, one school will only play 8 conny games every year), I'd still rather have that ninth game than the cheapy. From the story Rittenberg wrote, it looks like this could be a real possibilty when the schedule opens up again in 2012.

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