Dienhart: Quick thoughts on Big Ten spring meetings
A lot went on at the Big Ten athletic directors meetings that concluded today in Chicago. Here’s a nice summation from Scott Dochterman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, and another here from Graham Couch of the Lansing State Journal.
Some of my thoughts:
Non-conference scheduling: What’s not to like about the conference wanting to strengthen non-conference schedules, a mantra that continued to be pounded on in Chicago? It will help the Big Ten’s image, make for more attractive TV and enhance the strength of schedule for teams as they jockey for spots in a coming playoff in 2014.
Look at this season. The second week (Sept. 7), Big Ten schools play the likes of Missouri State; New Mexico State; Southern Miss; Indiana State; San Diego State; Tennessee Tech. Saturday, Sept. 14, also is filled with some clunkers: Akron; Youngstown State; Western Illinois; Western Michigan; Bowling Green. The Big Ten can do better than this. C’mon.
But it seems like a struggle for schools to fill out their three non-con games. I wonder if the Big Ten should just play 10 conference games. Maybe better yet: It would be nice if the major conferences (Pac-12; Big Ten; SEC; Big 12; ACC) could just meet and hash out a schedule rotation between its league members for non-conference games. Why not have college football’s “big boys” work together on this?
Conference games: It sounds like Big Ten games will be played in September in the near future. Honestly, there should be one conference game each week of the season. It’s a good way to spread the wealth and have at least one nice game on the schedule each week of the season. I recall in the late-1970s Big Ten teams opening vs. each other. By the way, the 2014 Big Ten grid schedule will be released in the near future. Barry Alvarez had said it would happen Wednesday, but that doesn’t appear to be the case anymore.
Expansion: The topic wasn’t broached, according to those in the meetings. No doubt, there are other more-pressing issues to deal with at this moment. But, we all know Jim Delany always is “monitoring the situation.”
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Basketball scheduling: With the league growing to 14 teams in 2014-15, the Big Ten still will stay with 18 conference games—play seven teams twice and four teams once. But why not push this to 20 league games? The conference scheduling already is very unbalanced. The addition of two more teams will make it even more unbalanced. Again, like in football, the more conference games the better—for TV and NCAA resume building.
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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