The Big Ten will hold another round of meetings in August, and it sounds like they have a lot of stuff on their plate, including hashing out how the Big Ten divisions will be split up.
A resolution should come shortly after, especially because of the need to sort out future schedules.
"I believe the divisional makeup will be done by the beginning of the academic year," Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi said, "and the schedule will follow shortly thereafter because we all want to know where we’re playing and when. I don’t see this being as big an issue as some people have made it. Maybe I’ll be surprised at that, but I do believe we'll come to a conclusion relatively quickly."
Adam Rittenberg keeps pushing Penn State out to the west all in the name of "competitive balance", and quite frankly the more I hear people endorsing this the more infuriated I get. They say we can't have a competitive imbalance like the Big XII south situation, but that's totally different. The Big XII split up for financial and political reasons. Texas wants to stack the deck so that they have a competitive advantage and make more money. Things aren't that cut throat in the Big Ten where revenue is shared equally.It is totally ridiculous to split the divisions by competitive balance because you don't know where programs will be 30 years from now. Minnesota and Michigan State used to be the dominating programs of the Big Ten. Look at them now. You can't predict the powerhouse programs for years to come. Michigan might never come back. Ohio State could make a series of bad coaching hires when Tressell is gone. Who knows what will happen when Joe Paterno is gone and the political struggle to appoint the next head coach rears its ugly head. Ron Zook might finally get to page five of "Football Coaching For Dummies." Competitive balance shifts, but geography is forever. (H/T to whichever blogger said that this week. I read it somewhere and couldn't find the link again.)
Also in August, the Big Ten will discuss playing nine conference games.
Big Ten athletic directors have talked about playing more league games in football for quite some time.
There's support from various parts of the league. At the Big Ten's spring meetingslast year, then-Michigan athletic director Bill Martin told me, "As the guarantees [for nonconference games] go up and up and up and the fans want to play our sister institutions in the conference, to me it's a no-brainer. Play 'em."
Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi added: "I do believe some day that you'll see more games played within the Big Ten."
That day could be coming very soon.
I see good things and bad things about going to nine conference games. If it meant playing one less game against a Coastal Carolina-caliber opponent, I would be thrilled. But athletic departments will still be under pressure to get seven home games, and occasionally get that year where they get eight home games. That means most likely the home-and-home series with other BCS teams will go by the wayside and we'll get three games against Youngstown State.
One thing to think about: if this does take effect and other conferences go to nine conference games, scheduling is going to become even more difficult for Notre Dame and could force them into joining a conference.
Temple and Television
The Morning Call points out that the Big Ten Network has released some of their schedule this fall. The only information pertinent to Penn State is that the week one match with Youngstown State will be played at noon on the BTN. Interestingly, the Temple game has still not been announced for television yet, though I'm sure that's probably because ESPN wants to hold off on that one. I can't see that game not getting televised somewhere.
And speaking of Temple, our friends at Temple Football Forever are starting to feel their oats a little bit.
Temple's got a little more than a puncher's chance this year.
You know it.
I know it.
The rest of those 105,000-plus fans don't know it, though.
Most of the Penn State fans in the Philadelphia area give lip service to the Temple program.
"Geez, Al Golden is doing a great job there."
"Being in the MAC has done wonders for Temple."
"Al's building a nice resume there."
When I mention that it's only a matter of time before Temple pulls a Central Michigan and beats the highest-profile college football program in its state, I get a whole different reaction.
"Whoa. Let's not get crazy."
"It's never going to happen."
"Temple is never going to beat Penn State."
Never say never.
In Scores of Other Games
The National Football Post takes a look at Penn State players with NFL potential this year. The summary in a word: meh.