Basketball divisions? - David Jones wrote about Penn State's basketball opponents for the 2016-17 season, and he had a lot to say. While he recognized the favorability of the schedule, he went on to say basketball should have divisions in order to keep regional match-ups twice a year. There are a few holes with his logic, however:
- Basketball isn't football (and college isn't the pros), so there isn't a need for divisions in order to determine a conference champion.
- Divisional imbalance is much more impactful in college basketball, where RPI and SOS are directly related to seeding for tournament teams (and having a postseason at all for the mid-to-bottom teams). Using the current East/West lineup would leave the West division with only Wisconsin as a team that's won the Big Ten in recent memory. You'd have to go all the way back to the 2009-10 season to find another team who won it (Purdue), and another five more years to find a different one (Illinois). On the other hand, every East team except for Penn State and Rutgers has won the conference at least once each season in the past 10 years.*
- A divisional lineup will worsen the imbalance, since the 18-game schedule will require not playing certain teams at all. Given that several members didn't want to increase the conference schedule to 18 games as it is, I find it difficult to imagine they'll want to add another conference game.
- As it pertains to Penn State, playing five of the best Big Ten teams twice every season will ensure the Lions have a larger hole to dig themselves out of on a regular basis.
- The other side of the coin sees a group of West division teams who would suddenly miss out on their own rivalries. Purdue and Indiana would now be a guaranteed 1-game match-up every year. Wisconsin won't get to play their fellow top teams twice every year anymore. The list goes on.
- Last, but not least, what’s the point of having divisions if the Big Ten Tournament still includes every team (and that’s not about to change anytime soon)?
The SEC used divisions until very recently, and the benefits of forgoing divisions became apparent very quickly. Let's not repeat the SEC's mistake just because we went to play Maryland twice every year.
Women’s Volleyball on BTN - Penn State announced the upcoming list of televised volleyball games. The Nittany Lions have six matches on BTN, including both tilts against defending Big Ten champion Minnesota. The other televised matches include Ohio State, Wisconsin, Purdue and Nebraska.
And the nominees are... - Soccer standout Raquel Rodriguez has been nominated for an 2016 ESPY award for Best Female Collegiate Athlete. Rodriguez goal in the 72nd minute of the 2015 Women’s College Cup final sealed Penn State’s first national championship in the sport. This award would join the long list Rodriguez has already won or been nominated for, including MAC Hermann Trophy, awarded to the top female college soccer player in the country. You can vote for Raquel at the ESPY’s voting website. Voting closes on July 13th.
Special delivery! - The Nittany Lion football team delivered the 2016 team poster all over State College, interacting with fans both on campus and around town. The Nittany Lion Club and the Alumni Association joined in on the fun this year by hosting poster pickup parties in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia. Watch below for comments from the team on the distribution:
In other news...
Athlon had a vote ranking the top college towns in the nation, and State College came in at number 13. Other Big Ten towns included were Madison at #2, and Ann Arbor at #5. Don't worry State College, you'll always be number 1 in my heart!
Cheaper by the Dozen - Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is expecting another child with his wife Sarah. This would be Harbaugh's seventh child, while it will be Sarah's fourth. The Michigan coach has three children from a previous marriage, one of which is the current Tight Ends coach at Michigan. Congratulations to the couple!
*Maryland won the ACC in 2010.