While there is really only one news story going on right now, indulge yourself in a little bit of distraction. We'll bring you more as it comes to light.
Big Ten Basketball Conference Schedule Released
So I guess the fun thing here is to look at the order? I don't know.
31 Northwestern at Penn State Noon ESPN
3 Penn State at Wisconsin 2 p.m. Big Ten Network
6 Purdue at Penn State 9 p.m. Big Ten Network
11 Penn State at Minnesota 3:30 p.m./2 p.m. Big Ten Network
14 Michigan State at Penn State 6:30 p.m. Big Ten Network
17 Penn State at Indiana 6 p.m. Big Ten Network
20 Michigan at Penn State 9 p.m. Big Ten Network
24 Iowa at Penn State 6 p.m. Big Ten Network
1 Penn State at Michigan State Noon Big Ten Network
5 Penn State at Michigan 7 p.m. Big Ten Network
8 Wisconsin at Penn State 3 p.m. Big Ten Network
11 Penn State at Purdue 6:30 p.m. Big Ten Network
14 Minnesota at Penn State 1:30 p.m. Big Ten Network
18 Penn State at Illinois 7 p.m. Big Ten Network
24 Penn State at Ohio State 7 p.m. ESPN
28 Indiana at Penn State 6 p.m. Big Ten Network
3/4/5 Illinois at Penn State TBD ESPN/ESPN2/Big Ten Network
7 Penn State at Iowa 2 p.m. Big Ten Network
Happy Hour Valley talks about the killer New Year's plans we'll have an opportunity to make. The team finished 7-11 in the league last season, one of the better records they've had this decade. What's really encouraging is to see the number of games on TV. With all the talk about the BTN and their football, they are really more of a basketball network, and the number of games they are going to air is really going to help the conference.
Big Ten Network Focuses on Content
Speaking of the BTN, now that the majority of the cable deals are signed-sealed-delivered, the network is turning to improving their content.
In the coming weeks, Silverman said the network will concentrate on building up the video-on-demand component of the deal and work to add more high-definition broadcasts.
The network hopes to create a video-on-demand system in which fans can select content for specific universities, such as University of Wisconsin-only programming.
"Video on demand is about technology giving us the ability to show more content," he said. "And we can slice and dice it and come up with something relevant for our audience."
This is a really great idea and will add a lot of value to the network. While they are doing their best, the truth is most of us aren't interested in the Purdue field hockey team or Iowa swimming; but if you are, this stuff is still available. With the ability to focus the content, the network all of the sudden becomes a lot more watchable during non-revenue live events.
But the network is still about those big games, and there is more good news.
The network wants to do as much high-definition programming as it can. Last weekend, four of the six Big Ten football games were in high definition.
"Once we get past the third or fourth week of the season, we hope every single game will be on HD," he said.
So that is nice.
So Now You Know How It Feels
The talking heads have gone relatively easy on the Big Ten this week considering the three losses the conference suffered (two of which were underdogs, by the way). Why? Because the ACC fell apart.
Wake Forest and Boston College were the only ACC teams to earn victories last week against clubs from the NCAA's Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A). Wake topped Baylor and BC beat Kent State.
Four ACC teams lost to FBS schools, including conference favorite Clemson, routed 34-10 by Alabama, and defending champ Virginia Tech, beaten by East Carolina 27-22. Also, Virginia was crushed by Southern California 52-7, and North Carolina State was shut out by South Carolina 34-0.
Really the Clemson game is the one that hurts, they were to be the next great thing and started the season with a seemly unrecoverable blow from Alabama. They look to take another "hit" when Florida plays Miami, a game few think the Hurricanes and pull off. I quote the word "hit" because of how foolish the whole story line really is. Teams that are not favored to win games don't, and somehow, instead of people nodding and moving on (lines are based predominantly on perception anyway) that somehow makes their image worse. We know how it feels, Ohio State, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin were all dogs in last year's bowl games and only Carr was able to pull out a victory. Fallout came anyway.
Regardless, it's nice to see some other conferences taking the heat, it allows the rest of us to read about real-life-actual Big Ten news instead of "image problem" filler stories.
I still think this is a little surprising:
The ACC still has won only one Bowl Championship Series game since the BCS system came into existence a decade ago and has yet to get an at-large invitation to a BCS game.
For a league that was relatively reputable before the "raid", it is amazing that this group of programs has had a tough time at the top level. But for once, I agree with a Bowden:
"I have so many problems," [Tommy Bowden] said, "I can't worry about the national reputation of the ACC."
And he shouldn't have to.
To End On A High Note
The Dead are coming to town. And you thought we had a weed problem before...