In a 20-minute interview Sunday, BTN’s Dave Revsine talks to Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany about the conference’s new football division for 2014, an expanded nine-game conference football schedule, and the state of the BCS. Delany explains why and how geography came to be the driver for the seven-team East and West division.
Iowa had a lot of work to do in spring drills coming off a 4-8 season that was the program’s worst since 2000. The offense, which struggled mightily last season and had just seven touchdown passes, may have turned a corner this spring under second-year coordinator Greg Davis. No doubt, the offense looked good in the spring game. The defense also may have found a playmaker up front.
So the Big Ten Conference will move to two new football East and West divisions in 2014 and a nine-game conference schedule in 2016. In an interview with BTN on Sunday, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said, “Being broader, being larger, geography had to play a larger part.”
It’s official: The Big Ten Conference will have new division alignments set to begin in 2014 and nine-game Big Ten Conference schedules for 2016 after the recommendations were unanimously approved by school athletic directors and supported by the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors. In a statement released by the conference, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said, “Big Ten directors of athletics concluded four months of study and deliberation with unanimous approval of a future football structure that preserved rivalries and created divisions based on their primary principle of East/West geography.”
The Big Ten had just seven players selected through the first three rounds of the NFL draft. The league almost equaled that total with five picks in the fourth round. And so it went on the final day of the draft, when rounds four through seven were conducted on what was a big day for the Big Ten with 15 picks. The headline pick was Michigan’s Denard Robinson, who went with the second pick of the fifth round (135th overall). Four other Big Ten players were selected before him today, but Robinson was the big name many had been waiting to hear.
Minnesota officially is pointed toward Year Three under Jerry Kill, putting a cap on spring drills with a game today. The team showed improvement from its first year under Kill to last season. The 2013 season could be the best yet, as it looks to pass better and make more big plays on offense, while tightening up the run defense.
In a move that had been speculated for months with Rutgers and Maryland poised to join the Big Ten and make it a 14-team league in 2014, the conference is apparently set to announce divisional realignment based on geography. Conference presidents and chancellors will reportedly vote on the divisions, new division names, and an expanded league schedule format on Sunday.