It's chat day, and we had some good discussion and debate early this afternoon.
In case you missed out, I've got you covered with a complete chat transcript.
Here are some highlights:
Jon from Augusta, Ga.: Having a 9th conference game could alleviate many of the long layovers (e.g., OSU-Neb, UW-MSU) that are coming up. Do you think the league would entertain the thought of staging a yearly set of 6 neutral site games (i.e., one for each team) as a 9th conference game? In this way, each team would keep an even # of home and away games, and it could increase B1G exposure in large cities within (Detroit, Cleveland, etc) and near (St. Louis, DC, NYC) the conference footprint.
Adam Rittenberg: Jon, that's an interesting proposal, but again, the problem is the reluctance of several Big Ten schools to part with home games. The thought of five guaranteed games away from home (road or neutral) just won't fly with some ADs in this league. But I obviously like the idea of fewer gaps between league matchups, and the neutral-site element is very interesting given what's happening around college football right now.
Smitty from Carmel, Ind.: If Michigan loses to Alabama in a close game, do they have a chance at a NCG if USC, Bama and LSU all have one loss at the end of season.?
Adam Rittenberg: Depends on those losses, Smitty, and how they came about. Michigan also would need the teams it beat to get to 11-1 -- Notre Dame, Michigan State, Ohio State, Nebraska, etc -- to be highly regarded nationally. If Michigan beats Notre Dame and Nebraska but neither team wins 10 games, the wins don't hold as much value for the Wolverines. Bottom line: it'd be tough for the Wolverines to get to Miami without beating Bama.
Chris from Santa Monica, Calif.: If you were a Head Coach, would you schedule a bunch of night games (or try to) for National Exposure, even if it could possible hinder your team's success? IE, UM has 3 night games this year, all away from AA.
Adam Rittenberg: Depends on which team I'm coaching, Chris. Three night games away from home aren't ideal, but Michigan can win all three contests in my view. And what a season that would be, to go on the road and repeatedly win at night. If I'm Michigan, I want one home night game a year and maybe one on the road. If I'm Northwestern, Purdue, Indiana or Minnesota, I want as many night games as possible to showcase my program. But there aren't many downsides to night football, in my view. It certainly doesn't seem to bother folks in other leagues as much as it does Big Ten folks.
Bama Fan from Denver: Adam, I was curious what you would say to SEC (and Bama folks) about Jim Delany's obvious bid to try to keep more than one SEC team out of the last four (although it could ostensibly happen down the road to two B1G teams I suppose). Are fans up there embarrassed by this? I sure would be if Mike Slive was putting up the same argument. thanks!
Adam Rittenberg: SEC fans crack me up. What do you expect him to do? Bow to the mighty Slive and just say, "Fill the playoff with your obviously superior teams! Don't mind us!" C'mon, Bama fan. Of course Delany is going to fight to have his conference champion in that mix as much as possible. He's the Big Ten commissioner, not the SEC appreciation commissioner. It'd be like Slive openly stumping for playoff games in the north. It's never going to happen.
Bill from Chicago: B1G doesn't want 9-game conference schedules because of regular games with Notre Dame (Mich., MSU, Purdue) and 4/5 home/away splits. The PAC-12 plays 9-game conference schedules despite regular games with Notre Dame (Stanford, USC) and 4/5 home/away splits. What's the difference?
Adam Rittenberg: The Pac-12 has always taken a more aggressive scheduling approach than the Big Ten, Bill. And the Pac-12 coaches, quite frankly, hate it because it hurts their chances of winning national titles. The 9-game league schedules, while benefiting Pac-12 fans, have unquestionably hurt the league in getting BCS bowl bids and winning national titles. So which do you want: more enjoyable regular-season schedules or stronger positioning to unseat the SEC atop college football?
Thanks again for your questions and your participation. If you didn't get a question answered, try again next week before I take a bit of a chat hiatus.