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Last updated: 04/08/2011 1:46 PM

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Football
The Week That Was
By Tony Gerdeman

Now that basketball season is over, The Week That Was will be back on a weekly basis. Then in eleven months from now when basketball season starts up again, it might go back to being sporadic for a bit.

Scheduling Conflict?

The 2013 and 2014 Big Ten conference schedules were released this week and there are a few interesting things to point out, which is why I point them out.

<> The conference did Michigan absolutely zero favors in 2013. They have byes sandwiching a three-game stretch of Minnesota, at Penn State and Indiana before the schedule gets really real. After the bye week they'll head to Michigan State, then get Nebraska at home, then head to Northwestern and Iowa before hosting the Buckeyes. If Michigan makes it through that section of schedule unscathed, then they may as well get Brady Hoke a bronze likeness to put out in front of the rusted gates of the Big House. Looking at their schedule, it's almost acceptable that they don't have to play Wisconsin for a while.

<> For as bad as Michigan's schedule looks in 2013, after looking at Wisconsin's schedule, it's hard to believe the two teams are in the same conference.

They start with a game at Ohio State, then get a bye, then play Northwestern, at Illinois, Purdue, at Iowa, bye, Indiana, at Minnesota, and end with Penn State. That's about a two or three-game schedule for the Badgers. They'll be missing the two Michigan schools and Nebraska in 2013 and 2014.

<> You probably won't like hearing about this, but in 2013 three Buckeye opponents will have byes before they play Ohio State (Iowa, Northwestern, and Penn State). Sure, they could choose to play a non-conference opponent in those slots, but they would be crazy to do so. In addition to the three teams with byes, Illinois travels to Indiana the week prior to playing Ohio State, which is almost the same as a bye week. Also, Wisconsin opens their conference schedule against the Buckeyes, so you know they'll likely schedule a sacrificial FCS opponent prior to playing Ohio State.

In 2014 it gets even worse for the Buckeyes. Iowa, Illinois, Penn State and Purdue all have byes before playing Ohio State.

Of course, the 2010 Alabama team looks at this and laughs as six of their conference opponents had byes before playing them this past season. They went 3-3 in those six games, by the way.

============================================

TV is Da Debil

One of the major draws that Nebraska saw in joining the Big Ten was the Big Ten Network, but when the network came to the Huskers and asked about televising their spring game, the folks at Nebraska declined.

Why? Let's ask Tom Osborne.

"Because we think it would affect our attendance. And if you're doing a lot of different things offensively or defensively, you don't necessarily want to put it out there where somebody could make a copy of it and work on you over the summer."

It's hard to argue with that logic. Thinking back to countless Buckeye spring games, I'm sure opponents watched the dickens out of those things and made sure they covered the tight ends and most especially the fullbacks in the flats.

The Big Ten Network is a tool, and Nebraska should use it. Recruits nationwide would be able to see the game, but more importantly they would be able to see the atmosphere.

Last year, 77,936 people attended the Huskers' spring game, which was the second-highest total in the nation. In 2009, they had 77,670, which was third. And in 2008--Bo Pelini's first year--they had 80,149 in the seats.

Clearly, people are interested in watching from the stands when the going is good. The 2008 attendance was 25,861 more than the 2007 attendance, which not-so-coincidentally coincided with Bill Callahan's final season.

Would the attendance be down? I don't know. I do know that the Ohio State spring game has been on television for years, and it has had no impact on attendance numbers. In 2009, the Buckeyes set the national record for spring game attendance with 95,722 in the stands.

Nebraska, you're no longer in the Big XII. You're in the Big Ten. This is the Big Time, and it's time to start acting like it.

===========================================

If an SEC Team Falls in the Forest and ESPN Ignores It, Does It Make a Sound?

Yesterday on Mobile, Alabama radio station WNSP-FM, Jeffrey Lee, a writer from Auburn's Rivals site went on the air and made the accusation that Alabama signee Brent Calloway was bought and paid for by an Alabama "supporter".

He has also apparently made the accusations in a more reader-friendly bullet-pointed format, which have made the rounds on various college football message boards.

From the article above, some of those accusations include:

* Before Calloway’s final trip to Tuscaloosa pre-signing day, the Bama supporter allegedly made cash payments to Harland “Peaches” Winston who is Calloway’s adoptive father.

* Winston supposedly received $2,500 from the Bama fan on at least one occasion.

* Supposedly, Winston also received aid in catching up on his home mortgage.

* The fan also allegedly provided Calloway with a new car that the player drove to school.  Supposedly enough questions were asked about the car that it was returned on the same day.

* Allegedly, the supporter told Calloway that he would receive $1,200 per month while playing at Alabama.

As you would expect, this story has now blown up on all of the major websites. Oh wait, no it hasn't. In fact, about the only way people not in the South came across it is because CollegeFootballTalk.com linked to it.

I initially checked ESPN.com to see if they wrote anything about it, knowing that they hadn't, but I was a little surprised to see that no other major networks had picked up the story either.

Most disappointing of all, however, was a check of the Auburn Rivals site for a story about the accusations, and there's nothing. Rather than boosting their site with these accusations, the writer chose to instead gift the news to a radio station.

It just seems weird to me that you wouldn't save the glory of such a major story for the entity that you work for.

Still, it's definitely a topic of conversation on the internet -except at ESPN. Now employing two full-time bloggers to cover the SEC, the story is no where to be found. I get that. They don't like to report accusations without facts to back them up. However, in yesterday's chat with ESPN's SEC blogger Chris Low, the topic never even "came up". This strikes me as incredibly odd because it sure seems like something people would like to talk about.

The accusations were made in the morning and the chat started at 1:00 pm. Surely accusations also travel at SEC speed, no?

Maybe I'm stretching given that almost nobody is touching this story, but I think this is a nice example of what news does and does not get through the SEC filters now that they've partnered up with ESPN.

Not only do they not talk about it, but they want to make people think that nobody is talking about it.
===========================================

No Labels Is Good Labels

New Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges said this past week that there's no specific label you can put on this Wolverine offense, which is a change given all of the labels Rich Rodriguez's offenses wore. Most of which, of course, ended in "-ucks".

As Borges told the media earlier in the week, there are going to be some familiar elements to the offense, and there also will be some that are quite unfamiliar.

For instance, one unfamiliarity will be teaching quarterback Denard Robinson how to drop back and throw a football.

I'm sorry, what?!

Yes, it's true. Here's what he had to say about Robinson's learning process.

"I think the drop mechanics are probably the biggest change for him, how to time the throws, how to three-step drop, how to get it out quick."

In other words, how to be an actual quarterback.

They'll keep some of the same shotgun plays that allow Robinson to run, but they want to spread the ball around to the rest of the team in an effort to--get this--keep Robinson fresh!

Rich Rodriguez is rolling over in his plaid robe right now.

Borges' offense will incorporate aspects of many different styles, which is why there's no specific label you can attach to it.

We've seen this happen before, however.

Remember Tim Brewster's "Spread Coast Offense"? Yeah, that was awesome. So was each successive annual offense he ran.

Michigan fans will have to be patient with this Wolverine offense, which they won't want to be. If they see too much struggling, they'll begin to reminisce back to last year's offense that they pretend was dynamic, but they forget that it averaged 20 points per game against the top four defenses in the Big Ten, and scored a whopping 14 against Mississippi State in their bowl game.

Nostalgia is great because we only think back on the good stuff.

Wolverine fans, however, will need to avoid feeling nostalgic if they're ever going to get beyond losing their dear leader.

Of course, one win over Ohio State would snap them out of any cult-like brainwashery that they're currently stuck in.

============================================

The Seven-on-Seven's Deadly Sins

Here's a pretty good read from Penn State assistant Jay Paterno on the continued AAU-ization of college football, specifically the growing 7-on-7 teams and tournaments.

I'd tell you more about it, but you really should read it for yourself.

Does that make me lazy for not telling you more about it, or does it make you lazy for simply not reading it?

That's what I thought.

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