Today’s Topic: What Will My First Act as B1G Commish Be?
Today at 12:00 pm Eastern, the Big Ten will announce the conference’s next commissioner. Current commish Jim Delany will be stepping down in 13 months, so he will have a year to get his new protege up to speed.
Recent reports have the job going to Minnesota Vikings chief operating officer Kevin Warren, but I have yet to be told that I am no longer in consideration, so I am not sure how accurate the Warren reports even are.
Since my PowerPoint attachment/resume/plan of attack/epic poem/email of a job application was never rebuffed, I am holding out hope that when the Big Ten Network airs the press conference today, my name will be the one being introduced. Would I have liked to have been there to be greeted personally? Sure, but budgets are tight in this economy, so I get it.
Yesterday, I asked on Twitter and on our message board what folks’ first act as Big Ten commissioner would be, and many were some combination of getting rid of Maryland or Rutgers or Penn State, or even all three.
The other most popular answer is where I’m siding as well — improving the scheduling for the football programs.
The Southeastern Conference does everything in its power to get their teams to December as safely as possible. The Big Ten sees the regular season as the big moneymaker because of the inventory the football games provide. The nine-game conference schedule, however, has likely kept the Big Ten out of the College Football Playoffs the last two seasons.
If the Big Ten plays eight conference games instead of nine, then maybe Ohio State isn’t playing Iowa or Purdue the last two years.
That is why in my first act as commissioner, we’re going back to eight conference games because people are going to watch the games regardless, and we’re not going to try to screw over the top programs by pitting them against each other late in the season.
A loss in October is easier to overcome than a loss in the middle of November, after all.
Contrast that with the SEC and how Alabama is protected and you’ll see a much different picture.
Alabama hasn’t played an FBS opponent before the rivalry game against Auburn since 2008. Now, I would never suggest the Big Ten take the coward’s way out and start scheduling scrimmages in late November like the SEC does. But there is also no reason for the Buckeyes to be hosting Penn State the week before traveling to Michigan.
The last time Alabama played a Power 5 opponent with a winning record before the Auburn game was 2006 when they traveled to LSU. The Tigers won by two touchdowns. That was also back when Alabama wasn’t any good, so the SEC really had no reason to protect them.
The Tide played LSU five years in a row right before Auburn. Over the last decade, however, the conference has freed up that slot for most of the conference to make it a non-conference game so that those programs can be at their best for their rivalries — several of which are against other conferences.
The SEC understands the conference supremacy perception. The Big Ten looks at receipts.
From 2011 to 2021, the Buckeyes will have played either Michigan State or Penn State six times the week before the Michigan game — and that’s not even including the trip to Wisconsin in 2012.
Personally, I like the Big Ten playing nine conference games, but there is no reason to make things more difficult for your own conference when it clearly isn’t helping anywhere and nobody else of note is following suit.
I would also institute a new conference-wide slogan of “Can you B1G it?!” because everybody needs their own Leaders and Legends gaffe.