Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Big Ten Tuesday mailblog
By Adam Rittenberg
It's finally warming up outside, but the Big Ten mailblog is always on fire.
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Kurt from Shawano, Wis., writes: With the likelihood that the "buy games" for Big Ten Conference teams will cost around or over $1 million, will the conference rethink the "no FCS" game policy? A few points: 1. FCS are cheaper, helping athletic budgets 2. No other "major 5" conference has stated that they will also not play FCS games. 3. Many FCS teams in the Big Ten footprint are ACTUALLY BETTER than low- level FBS teams. North Dakota State and South Dakota State come to mind. 4. Using the threat of playing FCS teams would help to reduce the cost of those FBS buy games. Could this policy change?
Adam Rittenberg: Good question, Kurt, and I addressed this Tuesday in my B1G numbers piece about the high cost of home games. The short answer is no, I don't see the league reconsidering its policy. Commissioner Jim Delany has been firm on the fact that while some FCS teams are excellent, he doesn't like the idea of Big Ten teams with 85 scholarship players playing teams with only 62 or 63. Financially and logistically, the FCS games make sense. But for the most part, they do not make sense competitively.
The Big Ten must do all it can to help its members with non-league scheduling. If things reach a desperate point and we start seeing Big Ten teams scheduling each other in non-league games, perhaps then we could see the policy reconsidered.
Mike from State College, Pa., writes: Have you been following the NCAA/PSU hearing today? There's some good stuff in the information coming from the trial. Most importantly: NCAA admits to threatening the Death Penalty unless the Consent Decree was signed for the first time, which is in direct conflict with what Mark Emmert & Ed Ray said after the Consent Decree was signed. Someone lied. Good story, no?
Adam Rittenberg: It's an interesting story, Mark, but it's not a new one. The conflicting statements from Emmert and Ray have been out there practically since the beginning. In fact, here's what Ray told me the day the sanctions were handed down:
President Erickson was quoted today as saying that Penn State accepted that deal because if not, you would have decided to suspend play. Can you confirm that?
Ray: I've known Rod for a long time. I didn't hear what he said. I was on a plane flying back to Oregon. But I can tell you categorically there was never a threat made to anyone about suspension of play if the consent decree was not agreed to.
And yet that's exactly what happened, which is not surprising at all. The NCAA had to at least broach the possibility of no games/no season to get Penn State to sign.
Rudytbone from Spring, Texas, writes: I'm surprised that neither you nor Brian has commented on the B1G's snub of Philly with the new league offices in New York. Philly is the obvious geographical location, about equidistant from Rutgers, Penn State, and Maryland. But, they chose NYC. Or is it not a snub, because the plan was to get to NYC any way they could? (Rutgers and the Twerps were just a convenient excuse.)
Adam Rittenberg: It's not a snub because New York is a much bigger business hub than Philadelphia. The Big Ten can access everyone it needs in New York to grow its brand on the East Coast, and it also has office space in Washington, D.C., for meetings. Rutgers, PSU and Maryland all can easily access the New York office, and more Big Ten officials go through NYC on a regular basis than Philadelphia. Putting full-time staff in NYC was a fairly easy decision for the B1G.
DJ from Minneapolis writes: It seems odd that a conference like the Big Ten that's trying to enhance its image and have a legitimate shot at the playoffs and a national championship game schedules the way it does. Why would a legitimate power like Wisconsin draw both Rutgers and Maryland for crossover games vs. either Ohio State or Michigan while an up-and-coming team like Minnesota gets both? Doesn't this damage Wisconsin's strength of schedule when it comes to the rankings and also potentially cost the B1G a bowl spot by putting a fringe bowl team like Minnesota in danger of not getting to the six-win mark?
Adam Rittenberg: DJ, that's one way of looking at it, and your point about Minnesota possibly having to scrape for bowl eligibility this season is understandable. But as I've told others, I wouldn't read too much into the crossover schedules for 2014 and 2015. When parity-based scheduling takes effect along with the nine-game league slate, Wisconsin won't have years where it misses all the big boys in the East Division.
Could strength of schedule hurt Wisconsin's playoff chances this year? Maybe, but Wisconsin opens with LSU. A win there puts Wisconsin in the playoff mix. Could the Badgers afford a loss in Big Ten play and remain alive for the playoff? That's tough to see, but few Big Ten teams are going to be able to afford a loss and make the top four this season.
Drew from Austin, Texas, writes: What is the new name of the collection of the best college football teams (Formerly Division 1-A, formerly FBS.)? Certainly it cannot still be referred to as Football Bowl Subdivision considering there is now a playoff?
Adam Rittenberg: No, the FBS/FCS designations are still around because those divisions are still in place. The term you'll hear more of in the coming years is the Group of Five, which signifies the five major conferences (B1G, SEC, ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12). Technically, all FBS teams are eligible for the upcoming playoff. But a lot of the upcoming NCAA governance changes based around autonomy are linked to the Group of Five.