Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, May 15, 2013

At the recent Big Ten athletic director meetings, the possible future bowl schedule began to come into focus as the league?s current bowl deals end after the 2013 season. It?s all about geography, Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press points out. The Big Ten wants to spread its brand coast-to-coast. It has been reported that the Big Ten will share tie-ins with the Gator Bowl and Music City Bowl with the ACC during a six-year agreement, playing SEC opponents in both games.

The Pinstripe Bowl basically looks like a done deal, according to Wisconsin A.D. Barry Alvarez. Gotta love that: New York, the holiday season, Yankee Stadium. And the Holiday Bowl also appears primed to come aboard, too, according to one report.

Gotta love that: San Diego, sunshine, warmth, Sea World. Again, the goal: ?So we can spread our brand more nationally,? Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez told reporters at the meeting.

Oh, and at least one of the Texas bowls - Meineke Car Care in Houston or Heart of Dallas - is likely to be cut. And the Meineke may be the one axed, according to some reports.

Another big change will likely be that teams won?t be slotted by their finish - beyond the champion going to the Rose Bowl -and instead be selected so that they move to different venues. The Orange Bowl also has a deal to take a non-Big Ten title winner three times in a 12-year period.

?The numbers don?t lie,? Michigan A.D. Dave Brandon said. ?There?s fan fatigue if you?re going to the same area year after year, there just is. For many of our student-athletes, they would probably tell you the same thing. One of the points I support is we?re going to try to move programs around and give you a chance to see the bowls.?

There?s nothing not to like about all of this. I just wish it all started in 2013.


Expect the Big Ten soon to release its 2014 football schedules. The Big Ten had to scrap its schedules after 2013 once it was announced that Maryland and Rutgers would be coming aboard in 2014. Each team is expected to play six divisional games in 2014 and '15 along with two cross-division games. They will play three cross-divisional teams when the Big Ten expands to a nine-game conference schedule in 2016.

"The complexities of on-boarding two new schools, scheduling the 2014, '15, '16 seasons and beyond, moving from eight games to nine games — creates a lot of complexity," Michigan A.D. Dave Brandon said at the Big Ten A.D. meetings. "A lot of opportunities, but also a lot of issues to be resolved."


The hits seemingly keep coming for Penn State. This time, the school?s athletic medical program is probed in an upcoming Sports Illustrated story.

Ben Jones of sums up the SI piece thusly: ?The overarching allegation from this article maintains that a possible and personal vendetta held by (Penn State A.D. David) Joyner against (former Penn State team doctor Wayne) Sebastianelli led to his reassignment and subsequently lead to substandard care for student athletes at Penn State.?

Penn State has issued statements regarding the allegations. Stay tuned. But, this is the last thing a battered athletic department and school needs as they try to heal and convalesce in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.


It looks like incoming Big Ten school Rutgers has found an A.D.: Julie Hermann. Hermann, who was the No. 2 athletic administrator at Louisville, will be one of three female athletic directors at a BCS program. The others: N.C. State?s Debbie Yow and California?s Sandy Barbour. Hermann would be the first female athletic director in Big Ten annals. Congrats.


With some schools seemingly having issues scheduling quality non-conference games, why not play 10 Big Ten games? Andrew Logue of the Des Moines Register tells us why it doesn?t make sense. has named Penn State JC quarterback Tyler Ferguson as one of the nation?s top-10 early enrollees.

With Steven Bench out of the picture after transferring following spring ball, It will be interesting to see how Ferguson does in his battle for the starting job with incoming recruit Christian Hackenberg.


David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News recently wrote a story asking readers for their feelings on the new divisions. Well, the responses were typical. They all think Jones is nuts to suggest that joining the Big Ten ?will eventually juice the pull of the Scarlet Knights and Terrapins in their own fertile local recruiting beds that have traditionally been picked clean by outsiders.? Have a look.


First it was Brady Hoke saying that Notre Dame was ?chickening out? of its series with Michigan. Now, Wolverine A.D. Dave Brandon echoed those feelings-only without the colorful language. Brandon stopped at just saying he was ?disappointed.?

I don?t know why the Big Ten just doesn?t cut all ties with the Irish. I?m looking at you, Purdue and Michigan State. Move on.

There is a lot to like about Tom Izzo?s Michigan State squad for next season. In fact, the Spartans should be the Big Ten favorite. But the conference schedule will be daunting.

The Spartans will play Nebraska and Minnesota at home only, and Purdue and Wisconsin on the road only. Oh, and MSU will play Ohio State, Michigan and Indiana twice. MSU will have to earn its Big Ten title in 2013-14.


Count Mark Tupper of the Decatur Herald-Review among those who believe in Illinois coach John Groce?s ability to recruit. But Tupper is worried about the Fighting Illini?s depth at point guard.

If Tracy Abrams gets hurt, Illinois? offense may be rudderless.


My take: This should happen. Certain schools need to play twice every year.

My take: The point: Nebraska should be in good shape competing in its new division next season.

My take: It will be interesting to see if there?s any fallout from this story.

My take: Agree. The guy has no future in coaching for a variety of reasons.

My take: Yet more fuel for the fire that says the East is much stronger than the West-as if we needed more.

My take: Yes, I?d say that?s a huge edge for Bo Ryan?s crew. Plus, the Badgers have some nice talent back, too.

My take: This should never happen for border state schools.

My take: This is really incredible. Great work by Pat Fitzgerald.

My take: It?s LONG overdue. A Big Ten program deserves/needs a Big Ten arena.


About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, 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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