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Friday, June 18, 2010

What the 2011 Schedule Should Look like.

In my not-really-read-by-anyone rant before this, I argued for non-geographic divisions, arguing that the Big Ten must emphasis group cohesiveness, and at the same time reinforce rivalries.

now that we will almost assuredly have 12 schools for 2011, the Big Ten will need to, in the next month or two, redo the league schedule.

What follows is how I think they should do it. The result is an 8 game league schedule that protects almost all key rivalries, fits into the existing non-conference slate for each school, and creates two balanced divisions.*

* I know some will argue the "balanced" side when they see the final product, keep in mind I also believe that divisions should be frequently reset

Step 1: Create 2 Divisions

First off, teams are split into 3 Pots. Each pot is a cluster of 4 geographically linked schools.

They are:
Pot 1 Pot 2 Pot 3
Wisconsin Illinois Michigan
Iowa Indiana Michigan State
Nebraska Purdue Penn State
Minnesota Northwestern Ohio State

In order to split the league into two groups of 6, two schools from each pot should be put in each division. So for example if Illinois and Indiana are in one division, then Purdue and Northwestern must be in the other.

The next task is to rank all of the schools from 1-12. The format I used below I multiplied the number of wins for each of the last 5 seasons by a "weight factor" for each season. The weights add up to 100, with 30% of the score being the 2009 record, 25% being 2008, and so on down to 10% for 2005.

The results are below (go Illinois!)

30 25 20 15 10
Ranked 1-12 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 TOTAL
1 Ohio State 11 10 11 12 10 1080
2 Penn State 11 11 9 9 11 1030
3 Wisconsin 10 7 9 12 10 935
4 Nebraska 10 9 5 9 8 840
5 Iowa 11 9 6 6 7 835
6 Northwestern 8 9 6 4 7 715
7 Michigan State 6 9 7 4 5 655
8 Michigan 5 3 9 11 7 640
9 Purdue 5 4 8 8 5 580
10 Minnesota 6 7 1 6 7 535
11 Indiana 4 3 7 5 4 450
12 Illinois 3 5 9 2 2 445

The basic rules I used are as follows:

- The top school is in group A
- The next best school is in group B
- Alternate into group A and group B until 2 teams from one pot are in a group, then the remaining schools go into the group.
- After that, rearrange schools, keeping 2 from each pot in each division, to try and create divisions with equal "scores" (from the total column above)
- Where possible, split primary rivals (Michigan/Ohio State, for example) into opposite divisions, to allow for a championship game between them.

Long store short, here's the final result:

Division A 4,370
1 Ohio State 1,080
2 Wisconsin 935
3 Northwestern 715
4 Michigan State 655
5 Minnesota 535
6 Indiana 450

Division B 4,370
1 Penn State 1,030
2 Nebraska 840
3 Iowa 835
4 Michigan 640
5 Purdue 580
6 Illinois 445

For practical purposes, the division is perfectly balanced (I agree, seeing Northwestern over Michigan in seeding is a bit to swallow, but its also been the fact the last few seasons). I will again reiterate, my plan calls for divisions to be reseeded every two years. Division names could be geographic (Great Lakes and Plains) or honorary (Zuppke and Yost, rotating every year to other legends of Big Ten football)

Step 2: Competition Format
Now, I know what what you are thinking, you've been thinking it since I first split up Ohio State and Michigan State in an opposite league from Michigan... "How the hell can you put TWO of Michigan's rivals in another division?"

well, here's the answer:

Remember the Pots of 4 teams? Those are your geographic rivals. In addition to 5 division games (which would include 1 geographic rival), you play 2 games against the remaining two geographic foes. That makes 7 games. (I would propose a traveling trophy to the winner of each geographic subdivision, to further reinforce rivalries and add a layer of complexity to the league, and have a permanent system of regional rivalry). The remaining game is a free-for all. 3 schools of each division would have 2 division home games, 3 schools would have 3 division home games, the schools with only 2 division home games would host one of the remaining 3 other schools in match ups made by the committee. These match ups should be made to balance strength of schedule, create TV matchups, or reinforce regional rivalries. They should also be used to balance out schools that have not played for a while.

Again, you are wondering: "Ok, that's great, you play 3 schools from your region each year, and 4 other division schools, so there are 4 random schools you can only play 1 of each 2 year cycle?"

I will say again, this is why divisions are fluid. Regional competition can be reinforced via my 3 traveling trophy proposal. Divisions are meant to spread out games, allow rivals to meet in the finals, and ensure geographic distribution of games each week. You play 3 schools EVERY year, and you play 5 of the remaining 8 schools every 2 years. In rare cases to make divisions even schools might go 4 years without playing, but that should only be for geographically far-flung opponents, and avoided at all costs (if we go to 16 schools, it will be more often, which is the nature of the beast).

So... scheduling

Step 3: Idealized Schedule.
There are 8 rounds of play, and 13 weeks in the season (schools play 12 games) between Labor Day Weekend and Thanksgiving Weekend. Because you don't want to have a "dead" week midseason, and you don't want have week 2 or 3 Bye's, the league schedule should be spread out. Spreading out as far as 10 weeks (from week 4-13) allows for league games to be split fewer ways each week, allow for focusing of advertising dollars and less use of overflow channels. Schools also currently have non-conference games for 2011 scheduled as late as week 13 (Northwestern hosting Rice on thanksgiving weekend).... so matchups will have to be pushed around.

What follows is an "idealized" schedule for the league. It is comprised of 8 weeks of play (the
actual league schedule will be spread across at least 9, and preferably 10-11 weeks of play.

The following basic tenants were followed:

  • Schools from each division are paired by their key rival (Illinois/Northwestern, Indiana/Purdue, etc. When one school has a home game, the other has an away game. This is to reduce having competing games in any region (for example, fans in Illinois will have 1 home game to go to, and ideally teams won't play opposite one another).
  • The schedule follows the following format:
    Week 1 Out of Conference Opponent (random)
    Week 2 Division Game #1
    Week 3 Division Game #2
    Week 4 Division Game #3
    Week 5 Secondary non-division Rival
    Week 6 Division Game #4
    Week 7 RIVALRY WEEK (primary non-division rival)
    Week 8 Division Game #5

Week Away Home
1 Ohio State Nebraska
1 Wisconsin Illinois
1 Northwestern Penn State
1 Purdue Michigan State
1 Michigan Minnesota
1 Iowa Indiana
2 Ohio State Wisconsin
2 Indiana Michigan State
2 Minnesota Northwestern
2 Michigan Iowa
2 Illinois Penn State
2 Nebraska Purdue
3 Wisconsin Northwestern
3 Michigan State Minnesota
3 Indiana Ohio State
3 Iowa Purdue
3 Penn State Nebraska
3 Illinois Michigan
4 Michigan State Ohio State
4 Minnesota Wisconsin
4 Indiana Northwestern
4 Michigan Nebraska
4 Iowa Illinois
4 Purdue Penn State
5 Illinois Indiana
5 Purdue Northwestern
5 Penn State Ohio State
5 Michigan Michigan State
5 Iowa Wisconsin
5 Nebraska Minnesota
6 Northwestern Ohio State
6 Minnesota Indiana
6 Michigan State Wisconsin
6 Purdue Michigan
6 Nebraska Illinois
6 Penn State Iowa
7 Northwestern Illinois
7 Indiana Purdue
7 Ohio State Michigan
7 Michigan State Penn State
7 Minnesota Iowa
7 Wisconsin Nebraska
8 Ohio State Minnesota
8 Wisconsin Indiana
8 Northwestern Michigan State
8 Penn State Michigan
8 Nebraska Iowa
8 Illinois Purdue

Step 4: Fitting it into the Calender
Below is my proposed 2011 league calender. All out-of-conference games are preserved. the light green cells (two TBA's and Eastern Michigan for Penn State) reflect games that are not scheduled

League play is mostly concentrated in weeks 5-13, although a couple games are played in weeks 3-4. The "idealized" schedule was broken up quite a bit to create bye's midseason and fit around non-conference games that are already scheduled. For example, Illinois and Northwestern both have home league games on one day.

Unless I made a mistake (which i spent a freaking hour tweaking this) no school plays 3 games home or away in a row, although a couple schools do have a travel heavy stretch (which happens). Probably the biggest violation is that I moved Minnesota/Iowa and Indiana/Purdue to earlier in the season to make things fit. This is regrettable, although when schools have a better idea of what they are dealing with, "rivalry week' can be better protected( and in Iowa's case, they do finish against their new rivals Nebraska at home).

Click Here or on image to enlarge


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What a 16 Team Big Ten Might Look Like: Football


Football is the engine that drives the league. A 16 team football league isn’t unprecedented, the Western Athletic Conference was 16 teams until the Mountain West schools broke away in 1999 (With TCU joining in 2001).

Sixteen schools, put bluntly, is tricky. The obvious solution is to have two 8 team divisions. I’ll get into alignment in a minute, but let’s think about this for a second.

Two 8 team divisions...

FBS schools have a 12 game season. Divisional play would take up 7 games. If the Big Ten follows what what practically every other league in the nation does (Except Pac 10 and what used to be the Big East), it would play 8 game conference slate. This means that if you have permanent geographical division (East/West or North/South) , then you play schools in the other division once every 8 years. This means that if you are Illinois and in the Big 16 West… that Ohio State comes to town to play for that turtle once every 16 years. Now, there are two solutions. One is to tinker with the number of games, maybe play a 9 or 10 game conference schedule.
More games?

Want to play more Big Ten teams more often? How about we play more league games? Big Ten gets more conference games to broadcast, and the conference season is more intriguing. So what about playing 10 conference games? Under this scenario, schools play opponents from the other division 6 out of 16 years, or a little more than once every 3 years, on average.

The downside? Well.

Last year the league went 32-12 in outside of Big Ten play (not including bowls), or won 72% of non-conference matchups.


Well, as has been the case in every single season of big ten play ever, league schools have won 50% of games against themselves. 50% is less than 72%. Simply put, playing more Big Ten games means Big Ten schools LOSE MORE GAMES. These loses won’t be evenly distributed, but you start converting wins to loses, and it means a lower percentage of Big Ten/16/whatever schools will get 6 wins in a given year, or maybe that 10 win school gets knocked down to 9 wins… it has an effect. This is especially problematic when presumably all of our rivals will still play 8.

Let’s do a bit more math with this. If in a 16 team league, there are 8 league games each year, then there will be 64 non-league games. Using last year as a measuring stick, you would expect the Big 16 to go 46-18 in those games. This is just under 3 wins average per school, meaning that 3-5 teams should go to bowl games, and the “average” big ten school should finish 7-5.

If you have 9 Big Ten games, then you have 48 non-league games annually. The league would be expected to win 34 or 35 of them, just over 2 per team. With 9 league games the “average” school would be 4.5-4.5 in the conference (with schools with 5 home games having a slight edge), and with the “average” Big Ten school getting 2 non-conference wins, the “average” Big Ten school should finish with just over 6.5 wins and just under 5.5 loses… meaning fewer bowl eligible teams.

If you have 10 league games, then you have just 32 non-conference games. The Big Ten should win 23 of those, or just under 1.5 wins per school. Using the same numbers, in a ten game schedule, the average big ten school would finish with just under 6.5 wins, meaning closer to half of the league would be bowl eligible, and schools would have to go 4-6 in the league to be able to “back door” into bowl eligibility.

Schools like to play 7 home games. Last year the Big Ten had 77 home games and two neutral site games. That’s exactly 7 home games per school. If you play 10 league games a year, that is 5 home and 5 away games with two games left to schedule. That means that every team in the league either plays FCS or MAC schools each year, and NEVER (or once in a blue moon) plays a road game in the non-conference season, in order to get to 7 home games. Increasing the number of league games means fewer home games for league schools. This means less gate (less season ticket revenue) and fewer games for the league to broadcast.

Basically, going to 10 games is not going to happen. Playing 9 games is semi-feasible, but it has its own issues. An 8 game schedule is the likely future for the Big Ten.

Division Alignment

In order to have a championship game, there needs to be divisions. With 16 teams, this means two groups of 8 teams, with the champion of each group squaring off in a Big Ten Championship Game which is sure to make all the schools even richer.

The methodology, and politics, of choosing good divisions, is complicated. For reasons I’m about to highlight, simple geographic divisions (east/west, north/south) are not doable. The ideal scenario will have constantly shifting divisions, with a school potentially able to win one division one year and the other division the next.

Geographic Divisions

Here is what the alignment would be with Geographic Divisions:

Big 16 with East and West Divisions

Big 16 East
Michigan State
Ohio State
Penn State

Big 16 West

Big 16 with North and South Divisions

Big 16 North
Michigan State

Big 16 South
Ohio State
Penn State

Obviously there are a multitude of problems with the scenarios outlined above.

For starters, no matter how you slice it, Big Rivalry Games will be broken up. Indiana/Purdue or especially Michigan/Ohio State happening once every 8 years can’t happen. Purely geographic divisions CANNOT happen, plain and simple. So what are the alternatives?

“Pod” System
In this system, the Big Ten is broken up into 4 “pods” of four teams each.



Michigan State
Ohio State

Penn State

With this system, there would be two non-geographic division, which for the sake of argument we will call the “Great Lakes” and “Heartland” divisions. The pods would be paired interchangeably, with groups of four schools always playing in the same division. Each pod would be matched against another pod, which would rotate every two years, as shown below.

YearsGreat Lakes DivisionHeartland Division
2013-14Western and EasternNorthern and Central
2015-2016Western and NorthernEastern and Central
2017-18Central and WesternNorthern and Eastern

This will give schools 7 conference games each year. The eighth game could be used to reinforce rivalries or create TV matchups. It could be used to balance schedules, with traditionally strong teams pairing off and traditionally weaker teams playing each other. It could also be purely random, and used to balance the number of times schools square off over a long period of time.

The advantage of this system is that teams will ALWAYS play the same three opponents within their pod. They will play the other 12 schools at least twice in a six year period. Depending how the 8th game is used, it could make sure that schools play rivals outside their pods more often, or used to ensure an additional game against each big ten opponent once every 8 years.

The disadvantage with this system is that rivals in a pod can never play each other in the Big Ten title game (so no Michigan vs. Ohio State). In theory, the pods could be realigned every 6 years to reflect changing strengths of programs.

Rivals System

In this system, schools are paired up into rivals. The divisions can be aligned a number of ways, but the basic premise is that traditional rivals CANNOT be in the same division. Instead, the 8th game (the non-division game) is played between rivals and all other division games are played amongst

Method A: Historical Strength

The list below ranks the schools in the Big Ten by the average number of wins in the last 10 years.

To create divisions, the highest ranked team (Ohio State) is chosen, and put into Division A. It’s rival (Michigan) is then put into Division B. The highest ranked team remaining is then put into Division B, with its rival put into Division A. This alternating method is repated for all 16 schools:

Group A averaged 6.66 wins and Group B averaged 7.01. To even these numbers out, Rutgers and Syracuse were swapped, creating the divisions below.

In this system, the idea is that the league would use the same divisions four two years, and then re-align them using a system to ensure ideally even strength. The upside is that rivals always play each year, rivals could play in the Big 16 Championship Game, and divisions should be even.

The downside is that in theory two schools could go VERY VERY long stretches of time without playing each other

Method B: Random Pairs

In this method, schools would be paired just like above, and put into opposite divisions. Instead of resorting teams into

Before – four pairs chosen at random to swap

After – new division alignment.

Here, every two years a school would play (regardless of whether they swapped divisions or not):Their Rival
  • 3 games against teams they played the prior year
  • 4 games against schools they had not played for at least two years.
Now, in practice some schools would go 4 or 6 years without playing, but across a long period of time, schools would play each other 50% of the time, even if its 4 years on, 6 off, 2 on, 2 off, 4 on, 2 off, and so on.

Big Ten Championship Game:
The Big Ten Championship game is the crown jewel of the football season.

Here’s a list of NFL stadiums located in the Big 16 footprint. (Green indicates “core”, Red indicates “fringe”)

The stadiums listed in green above are, at least in my opinion, ideally suited to host a centralized Championship game. Having a Big Ten title game out in the New York Metro area is a bit of a stretch, but since no other conference would claim it, and there is a new Meadowlands Stadium, it might work out. Not counting the Carrier Dome, there are four domes which could be used.

Indianapolis seems like the most logical site, it is central, new, and of at least decent capacity.

Another random thought is this…. There are three stadiums with at least 100,000 seats in the Big Ten footprint, and 10 of the 16 potential league stadiums have a capacity of over 65,000 (12 with over 60,000 seats). The Big Ten title game could potentially done ON CAMPUS. With the number of luxury suites a Big Ten stadium has, it’s not a real stretch. It’s a bit crazy, but it would be cool to see the game rotate around the league (obviously seating would be split evenly between the teams, regardless who qualifies). It’s not going to happen, but it would be neat.

The Season:
Most years there are 13 weeks between Labor Day weekend (the start of the season) and Thanksgiving, with the Conference Championship games on Week 14. Traditionally, the Big Ten has started league play on Week 4, and wrapped up action in Week 12, with no games on Week 13 or 14 (unless schools schedule non-conference games then). This gives schools 0 bye weekends. Illinois obviously has tinkered with that the last couple season. Every few years (about 2 of every 7 years), the calendar aligns just right for the first weekend to be August 30 or 31st, and there are 15 weeks to the season. This is when the NCAA allowed a 12th game before making 12 permanent a few seasons ago.

This year will be the first season the Big Ten schedule has stretched to Week 13, and will allow each school a bye game. While Illinois and Wisconsin will play in December in 2011 and 2012, when (if) the Mega-Conference arrives, the league in most years will have 13 weeks of play to schedule 12 games for 16 teams.

Adding it up, 16 schools playing 8 conference games each is 64 games (8x8). Another 64 games would be played involving non-conference opponents (16x4). So there will be, in an average year, 128 Big Ten games.
If you assume an average of 7 home games, then the league has 64 conference and 48 non-conference games (that’s 112 games) that it owns each year…. and needs to find a way to squeeze into 13 weekends of overage.

League Play starts Week 3
In order to maximize revenue, conference play should start in week 3. This still gives teams 2 weeks to warm up, but allows for 11 weekends for schools to play 8 league games, allowing for the most profitable of games to be spread out more evenly. This would make for 5.82 league games per week (meaning 10 or 12 schools play conference games weekly).

Right now the Big East and Big 12 have of their “national” games on ESPN or ABC, so it fits well into ESPN’s lineup. With 5 extra teams (and therefore 24 extra games), the Big Ten should pick up at least one game on the major networks each week. Considering we just slaughtered the Big East and castrated the Big 12, it should be expected.

On a typical weekend during league play nowadays, there are 5 conference games and 1 non-conference game. Typically, 3-4 of those league games are on ESPN or ABC, with 2-3 games on the Big Ten Network. Usually there will be split coverage on the BTN at 11AM, with 1-2 games on ESPN and ESPN at the same time. At 2:30 ABC has a Big Ten game, and there is a primetime game on either the BTN or ABC (at least until November)

The first thing the Big Whatever needs to do is drop the stupid objection to November Night games.

In a typical Big 16 weekend there will be 5-6 league games (under my plan), with 2-4 non-conference games. Because there are 8 or 9 games each week, “exclusivity” needs to go. Ideally there will be 4-5 games on the ESPN family of networks each week, and 4 games on the Big Ten Network.

ESPN would have two 11AM games, a 2:30 game on ABC, and a primetime game on ABC or ESPN. There would also be a fifth “floating” game some weeks either at 2:30 or primetime on either ESPN or ABC.

Non-Conference games each week would typically be at 11AM on BTN (3 games, split by geography) with a Prime Time or 2:30 BTN game (either low-mid tier conference game or a non-conference game) each week.

Embrace Thursday… kinda
Playing games on Thursday is pretty controversial, I will admit. Frankly, I can’t say I’m a fan, but I’m also a realist. The league should aim to have “a few” Thursday (or maybe Friday) games each year. Indiana has opened the season Thursday night last season and will this season too. I would operate it this way: The league would not force ANY school to play Thursday games, but it should offer a cash incentive ($100-200,000 maybe?) for schools to move games to Thursday. It gives the league a game it can sell at a premium, and reduces congestion on Saturday, making each of those games more profitable.

If schools want to take the money, great. IF they don’t, no problem.

Opening Weekend Blowout:
Presumably most Big Ten schools will have a home game the first weekend of the year. This creates a big mess for the league. Right now about 9 schools open up the season at home, meaning the league has to sell or produce 9 games on Saturday. Indiana playing on Thursday helps, but 8 in one day, with about 6 on the BTN is still a mess. Adding 5 non-conference games to the mix, presumable 4 of which in a league stadium, makes it even harder. Instead of trying to see if DirecTV can give them 9 overflow Channels, the BTN needs to figure out a way to spread out the games, and market Labor Day weekend as a way for schleps like us to spend as many hours as possible glued to the TV.

Proposed Solution: play games Thursday to Sunday (maybe Monday). The NFL season starts on the following weekend, and they don’t even play preseason games on that Sunday anymore. So why not?

Below is a proposed “opening Weekend” schedule, it takes into account who Big Ten teams are playing this season on the first weekend (except Illinois and Missouri, where future schedules are used)

7:30 ET/ 6:30 CT – Towson @ Indiana (BTN)
8 ET/ 7 CT – Norfolk State @ Rutgers (BTN)
12 ET / 11 CT – Eastern Illinois @ Iowa (BTN)
12 ET / 11 CT – Western Kentucky @ Nebraska (BTN)
12 ET / 11 CT – Western Michigan @ Michigan State (BTN)
12 ET / 11 CT – Marshall @ Ohio State (ESPN)
3:30 ET / 2:30 CT – Connecticut at Michigan (ABC)
7 ET / 6 CT – Arkansas State @ Illinois (BTN)
7 ET / 6 CT – Middle Tennessee @ Minnesota (BTN)
1 ET / 12 CT – Youngstown State @ Penn State (BTN)
4:30 ET / 3:30 CT – Murray State @ Missouri (BTN)

In addition, there would be the following away games:
Purdue – at Notre Dame – Saturday 1PM on NBC
Wisconsin – at UNLV - Saturday 10PM on Versus
Syracuse – at Akron – probably Saturday untelevised or on ESPN U or ESPN+.
Pittsburgh – at Utah – Thursday 7:30PM on Versus
Northwestern – at Vanderbilt – Saturday TBD

My thoughts:
As far as number of games goes, shockingly, only continuing to play 8 games makes sense.
Either the “pods” system or the “random pairs” makes the most sense. The “historical strength” option has its merits, but the fact that it does not guarantee schools play each other doesn’t make it feasible. The ideal alignment system should have schools play rivals slightly more often, and ensure they play all other schools in the Big Ten

What would a 16 team Big Ten Look Like: Intro

What would a 16 team Big “Ten” Look like?

Remember the last few years, when we all laughed at how large and unstable the Big East was, and asked how a league could survive with such an unwieldy number of schools? Well, if the rumors are right, the Big Ten is going to murder the Big East in the name of achieving the same size.

Six months ago I said wasn’t convinced the Big Ten was serious about expanding. Now it is a question of whether the Big Ten is going to go for the Nuclear Option, become the first all-sports mega conference.

This should be, at a minimum, a little exciting and a little unsettling, to ALL Big Ten fans. The Big Ten prides itself on academic excellence and being close knit. There have been only 3 membership changes since the 1910’s (Chicago leaving , MSU joining, and Penn State joining).
Right now Illinois has a 9.09% share in a very valuable and prestigious group. With the addition of 5 members, Illinois’ stake in the conference drops to 6.25%. Put another way, we are giving 31.25% equity in the league away to schools who are just joining the league, who don’t have a century (or even 15 years) of history to keep them in place. Schools don’t leave the Big Ten, they commit to this league for life, at least that is the image we want to project. The Big Ten is taking a risk. It’s not a terribly big risk, but we, as a league, are wagering our identity, image, and prestige in order to grow a very valuable sports and entertainment property. This is the reality we live in.

The fact of the matter is that the academic reputation of the Big Ten is a convenient tool to market what is a multi-billion dollar sports machine. YES, Missouri and Nebraska are a bit below the median in terms of academic reputation, but they are good schools and bring a lot to the league (especially money, which is what we are after). YES, Syracuse has Nancy Cantor as a chancellor, get over it. YES, Rutgers isn’t exactly an athletic powerhouse, well, we need someone to be competitive against.

The point of this little writing exercise is to take a look at what a 16 team conference would look like. For the sake of argument, I’m going to go with the 5 schools that have been getting the most press lately: Missouri, Nebraska, Rutgers, Syracuse and eh…… let’s say Pittsburgh. Notre Dame might be in the mix, especially once they realize what is going to happen to the Big East, but for now I will assume they stay where they are, which is fine, it’s their call, I will not waste my time wishing them into the Big Ten or laughing at their potential misery.

Other schools, like UConn, could be in the mix for one of the 5 spots, but the point of this exercise is to look at the mechanics of a 16 team league, not chose new members, so MU, NU, RU, SU, and Pitt it is.

The Consequences

So the Big Ten adds the 5 schools mentioned above. What happens to Division I? Well, for starters, the Big Ten has just straight up murdered the Big East. As a football conference, it is likely dead. At a minimum they need to get to 8 football schools. With 5 members, they will have to claw after Conference USA schools. Central Florida is a pretty logical addition, as they would be a good rival for USF, and are a large campus. After that, the Big East is pretty screwed. They could jump after Memphis, maybe come crawling back to Temple, or go after a MAC school… but there is no hope of the football league putting much fear into, well, anyone.

The Big Ten, with 16 football schools, will probably campaign to strip the Big East of automatic status and argue that they should be able to get 3 schools into the BCS. As a basketball league, the Big East would still be “ok”, but Syracuse and Pitt are huge losses… and except for possibly Memphis, nothing they could get would give much credence to the league.

What of the Big 12? Well, they would need to find 2 schools fast or the 2013 Football Season won’t have a Big 12 Championship Game…. Something that would make them lose that fat income from the Dr Pepper Snapple Group.

Doomsday scenario the schools going different ways… Texas, TAMU, Oklahoma, etc get fought over by the SEC and Big 12, Kansas and K State could either be screwed or wind up in the Pac 10. Iowa State will be lucky to land in the MAC. A less bleak future would have the Big 12 calling up Utah and Brigham Young and having things “fixed” quickly.

*DISCLAIMER: a word on nomenclature, I use “Big Ten” and “Big 16” to describe the future league interchangeably, mostly because I’m scared and confused by all of this, hopefully you can figure out what I’m saying*

Monday, December 29, 2008

2008/09 Big Ten Men's Basketball Season

Current Big Ten Standings:


2008/09 Schedule:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Illini Basketball Future Depth Chart

An attempt at a depth chart.

NOTE: No assumptions about future players are made... players are layered by class, and within a class by the order I typed them in... so just because Paul is ahead of Richardson doesn't mean that i think Paul will start over Richardson... we'll have to wait and see

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Ok, so I don't update this thing very often with articles/posts... but that wasn't really the point of this blog when I started it....

The roster information should be up to date though, leave comments if you see anything that needs to be changed.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Big Ten Pick 'em week 10:

Make your picks here: