Thursday's Links: More Big Ten Meetings Buzz

News continued to pour out of Chicago as Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and league’s athletic directors wrapped up meetings highlighted by discussions of a playoff—among other juicy topics. Let’s dig in.

Delany says cities likely will bid for the national championship game. Yes, even cities that aren’t home to bowl games – there’s more here from the Associated Press. Are you paying attention, Minneapolis, Boston, Indianapolis and New York? No, not you, St. Louis. Please, don’t call or write.

This would be a smart move. With myriad cities bidding for college football’s crown jewel event—yes, the BCS title game IS the sport’s crown jewel event, not the Rose Bowl—the price to host the title tilt would be driven up. And, we all know this playoff is all about money. So, the more money, the more merry all those ADs will be in their high-back leather chairs.

In this same story, Michigan’s AD David Brandon says he is “very concerned” about the possibility of teams playing up to 15 games in a season.

This I don’t get. Does Brandon realize that Wisconsin-Whitewater, a Division III non-scholarship powerhouse with nary the support staff and resources of a BCS program, has played 15 games in each of the past five seasons?

How on earth does Wisconsin-Whitewater do it? Players go to class, graduate, aren’t disfigured or scarred from playing too much football and get the thrill of playing in a full-blown playoff.

Amazing.

Speaking of Brandon, here is a video interview of him discussing how the new championship format could cause controversy.

Bowl ties: At its recent meetings, the Big Ten discussed forming some new bowl tie-ins, the Detroit News reports.

The league’s current deals have two years remaining on them, so don’t take Detroit, Dallas, Phoenix, Orlando, Jacksonville and Tampa off your GPS devices just yet.

Bottom line: The Big Ten may be spread thin in Florida, playing the Capital One, Outback and Gator bowls in the Sunshine State. Look, the warmth in January is appreciated. And who doesn’t love a ripe Florida grapefruit? Seriously. But the Big Ten may spread its postseason wings to … New York City for the Pinstripe Bowl.

I likey.

What could have been: Turns out, Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez pursued a series with Notre Dame. Alas, it didn’t materialize, as the Chicago Tribune’s Brian Hamilton elaborates. But, golly, wouldn’t it have been fun?

In my mind, there never are enough good intersectional matchups to spice-up a college football non-conference menu that too often is too bland.

Honestly, how many 2012 non-conference Big Ten games REALLY get your juices flowing?

Michigan vs. Alabama. Michigan at Notre Dame. Boise State at Michigan State. Notre Dame at Michigan State.

That’s it, ladies and gentlemen.

Boot it? Is there a more exciting play in football than the kickoff? Of course not. Players sprint full speed down the field with bodies violently colliding. And there’s a chance the return man could jet 90-or-so yards for a touchdown in a matter of seconds while you stand jingling your car keys.

Great theatre!

But, in the name of player safety, a new rule may eliminate most kickoffs, as the Cedar Rapids Gazette’s Marc Morehouse explains.

Beginning this fall, kickoffs will take place from the 35-yard line instead of the 30. The likely result: more touchbacks and fewer runbacks. Another twist that will encourage receiving teams to take a touchback: The ball will be spotted on the 25-yard line instead of the 20.

I think the new rule will hurt less talented teams. The kickoff is one opportunity for a team to score in a matter of seconds—or get a short field for its offense. A good return man can be a great equalizer for a less-talented team, which may struggle to get conventional scores from its offense vs. teams with more talent.

Score one for the elite programs. And, you know who I’m talking about.

Partners: The Big Ten and Pac-12 announced a while ago an agreement to schedule games in all sports. We are starting to see some matchups take shape in some sports—and discussed in football.

Purdue looks primed to tangle with Colorado in Ross-Ade Stadium in 2016, and then will pack its Birkenstocks, trail mix and hacky sacks and travel to Boulder in 2017.

The addition of CU makes Purdue’s 2016 non-conference schedule, ahem, challenging. There already is a home game vs. Cincinnati and a game at Notre Dame. Now, the Buffs. (Man, I hope Ralphie makes the trip to West Lafayette.)

A casualty of this agreement with the Pac-12—which, by the way, I love—probably will be a nine-game Big Ten schedule, an idea that had been kicked around by Big Ten decision makers. And, that’s OK by me. I like having eight Big Ten games—as long as each team plays at least one non-league foe with a pulse.

“This is just me, but I would think once we have a road map with the Pac-12, the AD’s will come back and revisit the nine conference games and go back and leave it at eight,” Purdue AD Morgan Burke told the Lafayette Journal and Courier.

“I think by adding a Pac-12 opponent, that’s a comparable value to a league game, so let’s not over-schedule. I would support that outcome.”

Remember that glut of tickets to the Big Ten championship game that flooded the market in the days leading up to the inaugural event in Indianapolis last December? Well, the Big Ten’s Delany thinks he has a solution to prevent that from happening again, according to the Lansing State Journal.

Kiss those $9 ducats on StubHub goodbye!!!

I’ll leave you with this gem quote from Urban Meyer on what the implications of a playoff would be for him and his staff, as written by Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch. What would Meyer tell his coaches: “Everybody sleep at the office and get to work.”

This from a coach who left his Florida job to—among other things—focus on family after logging long hours in Gainesville.

My Take On Their Tweets

My take: Expect Michigan to announce its 2012 uniform plan—really, school’s now have uniform “plans” to announce—sometime this summer. What would Bo and Woody think?

My take: I sure hope strength of schedule will be a HUGE component when it comes to selecting playoff teams. Yes, I’m looking right at you, Kansas State. I think EVERY BCS school should have to play at least one BCS school in non-conference play each season.

My take: Count the always entertaining Mike Hlas a fan of having the Big Ten play in the Pinstripe Bowl. He sums up his Big Ten bowl plan thusly in his rollicking Hlog:

“The Big Ten needs to ditch Jacksonville, and lose either Houston or Dallas. One Texas bowl is enough. Then, it should get itself to New York and either San Francisco or San Diego. Keep two games in Florida, one in Texas, one in Arizona, and if it must, the one in Detroit.”

Magnificent work, Mike!

BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is on Twitter and Facebook, all of his work is at btn.com/tomdienhart, and you can subscribe to it all via his RSS feed. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below.

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