Looking at the 2011-12 schedules, I think the idea of a 9-game conference schedule will lose some of its luster as AD's and coaches think about it more. Teams like IN, MN, NW, PUR, MSU and IL are going to find it much harder to get to six or seven wins as it is with the addition of NE to the B10 and this divisional alignment. A nine-game conference schedule will compound that problem because it forces every team in the B10 to add another BCS level opponent. It also will make it more difficult for AD's to get at least seven home games every year unless they begin trading their one good non-conference opponent for an extra baby seal game that doesn't have to be returned.
9-Game Conference Schedule More or Less Likely?
Much more likely. Otherwise it'd be really strange that Purdue and Illinois would show up two years in a row. Then what: do you replace them with two other teams and have an odd one out? Which a whole class of players would never play against? Releasing two years of schedules with the same cross-division opponents on both of them suggests to me that nine games is coming in 2013, by which time the conference may well have expanded again and a more permanent rotation will be set up.
Remember, the AD's UNANIMOUSLY voted for Nebraska and UNAMIOUSLY approved the division and schedule. I think everyone is on board with the 9 game schedule. They pushed the date back to 2015 to accomodate everyone's contracts, and I think everyone is on board.
The big side question is what's going to happen to non-conference scheduling. Teams generally want 7-8 home games for revenue, and sexy match-ups aren't going to agree to not get return trips. Will OSU continue to schedule one big name each year? Will Michigan play ND each season? Ideas?
Based on what they were saying tonight, I think Delaney's still really pulling for the 9 conference game idea. It'll make things tougher for some teams, sure, but I think that will also help the conference look (and become) stronger in general. Plus, that way we get to play teams in the other division much more often, which would be nice for matchups like Michigan-Penn State.
So 9 conference games would mean 4-5 home games per season in the conference schedule.
So if teams wanted to get 7 or 8 home games in a season they would need all 3 non-conference games to be at home.
In Michigan's case for instance, they would need to make sure that their 4 conference home game year coincides with ND at home. That would allow them to have 7 at home every year.
However, the chance of Michigan scheduling any other kind of home-home or neutral site game would be diminished considerably.
It will be interesting to see what happens, but 9 games seems to be the future.
On the BTN show, Delaney basically said that most of the B10 teams budget their athletic departments around having 7 home games per season. An 8 game conference schedule guarantees each team 4 home games with the possibility of 3-4 more in a 12 game schedule, based on 3-4 OOC's.