The Big 10 football coaches and athletic directors spent Monday in a series of meetings in Chicago, presumably to address more than Urban Meyer’s frustration with his peer’s recruiting. In addition to Urbz’ complaints, future conference schedules, divisional alignment, and the NCAA recruiting rules, notably unlimited calls and texts to recruits, were also on the schedule of topics to be discussed. The recruiting legislation was tabled, with the coaches wanting more time to analyze the impact. Another important note, the likely approval by the Big 10 to begin playing night games into November.
The big news of the day, however was the now certain increase in B1G football, as early as 2016. Jim Delany told the gathered media that the current 8 game league slate is off the table, with the only decision remaining now is whether to go to 9 or 10. That decision will ultimately be made by the Big 10 Presidents at meetings later this year in May. The coaches have previously come out against the 9 game option, for the simple inequity (some teams playing 5 home games, others only having 4) .
In a perfect world, I would prefer to stay at 8, but the changing dynamics of college football and expanded conferences(oh, and TV revenue) has dictated that is virtually impossible. More league games gives the league more leverage when the return to the bargaining table with ESPN/ABC, and the rest of the TV world when the current $100 million/year deal with the worldwide leader expires after the 2016 season.
But if I had to pick one? I’m going with 9. Yes, the ineqaulity between home and road games sucks, but it sure beats 10. In a 10 game season, you’re left with only 2 non-conference games, of course. With every school relying on home football revenue to fund the rest of the athletic department, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what’s happening with those two non-conference games. They’ll be at home, and they’ll be against teams that don’t want a return visit. 10 games essentially means a lot more visits by the likes of FCS teams, and the bottom of the FBS world.
Is nine games perfect? No, not even a little. But as a fan of college football, it beats the alternative. I want to see Penn State play Alabama, or USC, or some other big name (no, Joyner, Temple does NOT count). None of those teams is playing at Penn State, sanctions or not, unless they know they’re getting the Lions at their place too. 10 Big Ten games simple does not allow for that.
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