Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany took to the dais this afternoon during the conference’s media days, and the college football power broker was chock full of interesting and enlightening tidbits of news.
In particular, Delany addressed two issues that will certainly create at least a mini-ripple in the coming days.
First of all, Delany addressed the topic of conference schedules and how they will be shaped once Nebraska comes on board in 2011. And, much to the consternation of his head coaches and the bottom financial line of some of the league’s athletic departments, Delany strongly intimated that the Big Ten will move to a nine-game schedule in short order.
Speaking on a nine-game slate versus an eight-game schedule, Delany said that the members schools “have to… do everything we can to play each other more, not less.” Additionally, Delany said that “I think it’s what our fans want, it’s what the athletes want. … To be honest with you, I don’t think the nonconference games we’ve seen since we’ve added a 12th game [have been all that great].”
What this would do is force some schools in some seasons to play five league games on the road, and eschewing a home game and all of the ancillary profits that come with it. Not too mention the fact that those games were usually gimmes in terms of a win, which will certainly do no favors to coaches sitting on the edge of any hot seat.
Delany did state that the athletic directors were on board with the idea, so it’s likely this will happen sooner rather than later.
The second interesting piece of news coming out of Delany’s time with the media revolved around Notre Dame.
The Irish were central figures in any and all talk surrounding Big Ten expansion this offseason, but the football independent seemed to indicate at every turn that, short of “conference apocalypse”, they would remain free of conference affiliation as far as football is concerned. This afternoon, Delany indicated that the conference has moved on from the South Bend school.
“I don’t see them as a player, really [in any future Big Ten expansion],” Delany said at one point, adding that he sees Notre Dame remaining in the Big East for every sport but football.
Here are a few additional topics Delany addressed during his lengthy talk with the conference media:
— Don’t look for a Big Ten name change at any point in the future: “I think the Big Ten is the Big Ten regardless of the number.”
— As far as how the two divisions will be aligned, Delany said they hoped to have it finalized in 30-45 days.
— The commish all but stated that the conference will, as expected, hold a conference title game. Given the amount of time involved in deciding on a site — either a permanent one or on a rotating basis — a one-year deal for 2011 will likely be worked out (nice to meet you, Indianapolis), and then further studies will be undertaken to determine a future site or sites.
— On Ohio State playing in the same division as Michigan or being separated: “It’s important that they play each other, not which division they’re in.”