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Thursday, February 14, 2013
3-point stance: Kudos to Big Ten

By Ivan Maisel

1. Bravo to the Big Ten for deciding to play more than the current number of eight conference games. The increase to nine or -- be still my heart -- 10 games won’t come before 2016. But it will increase schedule quality for the ticket buyer, the TV viewer and Big Ten teams that jockeying for a spot in the national semifinals. That’s something for the SEC and ACC, which remain with eight-game conference schedules, to consider. The Pac-12, Big 12 and Big Ten will be playing nine.

2. The coaches and administrators on the NCAA Football Rules Committee don’t live in a vacuum. The NFL is up to its chin strap in problems regarding concussive head injuries. Player health is at stake, and you had better believe university liability is, too. The decision to adopt a rule to eject players who deliver blows above the shoulders to defenseless players is a smart one. The word must get out to the players, and every coach knows the quickest way to get a player’s attention is to threaten his playing time.

3. Jim Sweeney never became a household coaching name. That’s because Sweeney, who died last week at age 83, won his 201 games in 33 seasons at Montana State, Washington State and Fresno State. Sweeney’s winning career winning percentage (.561) keeps him out of the College Football Hall of Fame. But you don’t have to talk to many coaches to understand the reverence with which they regarded Sweeney. He will be missed.