One Step Forward Or One Step Back For Big Ten?

By Adam Caparell - March 06, 2007


A few reports in recent days indicate that the Big Ten may be looking to possibly push their season back a week or two in response to Michigan and Ohio State's relative no-shows in their respective bowl games. Both teams had a boatload of time off between their annual regular season-ending matchup and their bowl games and, apparently, conference officials think it really hurt the Wolverines and Buckeyes.

So they want a change, and one scenario being floated around is extending the season an extra week with games wrapping up on either Thanksgiving weekend or early December. But some coaches, like Ohio State's Jim Tressel, have been outspoken in the past about maintaining tradition that the regular season to end the weekend before Thanksgiving.

The other driving force behind a proposed change - aside from USC's smashing of Michigan in the Rose Bowl and Florida thrashing of Ohio State in the BCS Championship Game - stems from the NCAA's institution of the 12th game. The Big Ten's insistence that their season end before Thanksgiving, coupled with the added game, has left many teams without a bye week. So some coaches and school officials would like to see the season pushed up a week, beginning the last week of August to allow a bye week and its traditional conclusion to the season.

But then there's the other issue of the two weeks of inactivity for Big Ten teams hurting them in the eyes of voters and the BCS rankings, something Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said was a factor in the Wolverines being leapfrogged by Florida in the final BCS rankings. So maybe moving the season back wouldn't be such a bad idea.

The only thing that's clearly apparent is that there's no clear cut right or wrong answer for this dilemma. Decisions could come down in May when the Big Ten meetings kick off. The earliest a change could happen is reportedly 2009 thanks to all the TV contracts and schedules, but If I were a betting man look for the season to begin earlier, rather than later - if any change is made at all. The weather can get pretty bad the later it gets in Big Ten country and the conference prides itself on tradition. And tradition hasn't dictated conference games be played in December.

Quick Look At Ohio State's & Michigan's 2007 Schedule
The Buckeyes are losing a lot from their BCS-runner-up team and apparently they've planned accordingly. Ohio State's non-conference schedule includes home dates with Youngstown State, Akron and Kent State and a game at Washington. Not exactly running through the non-conference gauntlet. The Buckeyes are at Michigan - of course - and will host Northwestern, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Illinois while heading on the road to face Minnesota, Purdue and Penn State.

The Wolverines, on the other hand, will play DIAA/FCS champs Appalachian State, Oregon and Notre Dame at home to open things up. They have another home date with Eastern Michigan and get Penn State, Purdue and Minnesota at The Big House. They travel to Northwestern, Illinois and Michigan State. If Michigan can get to Nov. 10 undefeated - a real possibility considering all that's coming back on offense and all those home games - its final two contests of the season will be a bear. The Wolverines conclude their regular season with a matchup in Madison against Wisconsin followed by the Buckeyes in Ann Arbor.

Posted by Adam Caparell at 10:23 AM on March 06, 2007
Comments (1)

Comments

Wouldn't it be much easier just adding another team in the conference, ahem Notre Dame, how come they wont join, it's not like the Big Ten lacks achademics and program tradition. etc. Seriously, it would be great, they still would make boat load of money and still get national recognition.

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