- Member for
- 4 years 46 weeks
- View recent blog entries
- Current value
|1 day 9 hours ago||Realistic choices might include . . . .||
There are a number of schools that might be on any list, but are unrealistic choices unless they change their own scheduling practices and/or conference scale back to eight conference games (not likely).
Programs that already have major non-conference opponent on an annual basis include:
USC and Stanford ( with Notre Dame)
Florida and Florida State
Georgia and Georgia Tech
South Carolina and Clemson
The Pac 12 and Big XII have nine conference games and the Big Ten will adopt that practice in 2016. The SEC is considering it and the ACC has gone back and forth on implementing that practice. So who's left?
1. Texas - UT has a four-game series with Notre Dame and has played Ohio State in a home-and-home series, so the Longhorns are a good possibility. Since the Big XII doesn't have a conference championship game, it makes sense for Texas to enhance their non-conference schedule in any possible. Having Michigan on the schedule would help accomplish that goal.
2. Oklahoma - Pretty much the same situation as Texas IRT their situation within the Big XII and the four-team playoff. OU probably doesn't have quite the same profile as UT, but they'd be on the list.
3. Miami - The U has occasional games with Florida, but UF isn't regularly on their schedule. For now, the ACC has an eight game conference schedule, so Miami does have more open dates to fill than other schools. ND has a series of games with them, so playing Michigan could also fit.
4. LSU - This is a program that Michigan has never played, so it would be unique to start up a long term series. Would it happen? Perhaps not with Les Miles as head coach, but some other HC and/or athletic director might be interested. If the SEC goes to a nine-game conference schedule, this isn't a likely scenario.
5. Tennessee - Two schools with large stadiums and large traditions. But like LSU, if the SEC goes to a nine-game conference schedule, a long-term relationship isn't likely. A home-and home might work out (same with LSU).
6. Texas A&M - Another SEC team that is expanding its stadium, plays in front of a passionate fan base and is located in a main recruiting area. They only other SEC team on the list would be Alabama, but it looks llike the Crimson Tide isn't more likely to have a neutral site game.
I"m not real excited about any of the Pac 12 teams outside of USC and Stanford. Washington could be a possibility along with UCLA. But given Michigan's history of not playing well on West Coast and the fact UM has actually played a number of P12 teams in the regular season in recent history. I'd like to see Michigan go in another direction (such as the home-and-home with Arkansas).
There aren't any ACC teams that are realistic possibilities outside of Miami. UM does have the home-and-home with Virginia Tech coming up. But none of the others that are realistic don't move the needle.
|1 week 2 days ago||Master plan?||
I think you have to keep in mind that scheduling is done years out and that the most David Brandon really controls is the non-conference slate.
As we witnessed with Notre Dame, these relationships can be cancelled or changed. It happens all the time in college football.
The games with Utah, Oregon State and Colorado were clearly put in there in response to what was going to be a Big Ten/Pac 12 scheduling alliance. While that didn't happen, those games are still in place and we'll still see them played.
Now I'm sure Brandon had a voice in keeping Ohio State in the Eastern Division and making sure that game was at the end of the season. But IRT Michigan State, I imagine the conference opted to have them in the East because they didn't want UM's conference schedule restricted by the necessity of a permanent cross-divisional game.
I'm really not going to sweat the back to back games in East Lansing because those types of arrangements happen all the time in the scheduling world. Besides, it appears that UM's cycle of Eastern Division teams for the foreseeable future is as follows:
Home: Penn State, Indiana, Maryland
Road: at Ohio State, at Michigan State, at Rutgers
Home: Ohio State, Michigan State, Rutgers
Road: at Penn State, at Indiana, at Maryland
By 2016, Michigan will play either Nebraska or Wisconsin on what is likely to be a two year on, two year off arrangement. The other five teams from the west (Minnesota, Northwestern, Illinois, Iowa, Purdue) will be put in a rotation so that they each have at least one game with Michigan over a two-year period.
If you couple that Nebraska/Wisconsin game with the major home and homes coming up (Arkansas, Virginia Tech), then the 2018 through 2021 seasons will be something like this:
2018 (5 Home B1G Games)
Home: Penn State, Indiana, Maryland, Arkansas
Away: at Ohio State, at Michigan State, at Rutgers, at Nebraska/Wisconsin
2019 (4 Home B1G Games)
Home: Ohio State, Michigan State, Rutgers, Nebraska/Wisconsin
Away: at Penn State, at Indiana, at Maryland, at Arkansas
Replace Arkansas with Virginia Tech for 2020/1 and you get the idea. I think what Brandon wanted to do here (in cooperation with the Big Ten) is to have a balanced schedule home/away for the higher end teams on the schedule. I suspect he didn't want another situation like he does now where he had Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State all on the road or all at home.
If I were a UM fan, I'd just write off 2014/5 as transitional years in the scheduling and look forward to 2016 (when Nebraska or Wisconsin get on the schedule) and 2018 (when the major non-conference home and home games start kicking in).
What David Brandon has to do is get a quality non-conference opponent in place for the 2022 seasons and beyond. Programs like Texas, LSU, Miami-FL, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Tennessee could be candidates for future games because they don't have an instate non-conference rival (such as Florida-Florida State or Clemson-South Carolina) and they might be persuaded to leave familiar ground and come up north.
He also has to make sure the buy-in game opponents are varied and interesting. I have to give him credit for getting Brigham Young, Oregon State and Colorado in here with no return date required. Add UNLV and Hawaii to that list and you can see he's trying to expand those no return date games to programs outside the usual MAC teams like Miami OH, Bowling Green, the directional Michigan schools, Toledo, etc.
|1 week 2 days ago||Some schedule thoughts . . .||
1. Michigan's B1G Eastern Division rotation is as follows:
|2 weeks 2 days ago||Virginia Tech has played at Fedex Field three times in the past||
One thing to keep in mind is that Virginia Tech has played at Fedex Field outside Washigton, DC on three occasions (2004-USC, 2010-Boise State, 2012-Cincinnati). Fedex Field has a seating capacity of 85,000 while Lane Stadium is 65,632.
Is there any possibility the game is moed to the DC area because of higher attendance? The USC game had 91,665 spectators (Fedex Field had a larger capacity back then) and the BSU contest had 86,587. OTOH, the game with the UC Bearcats last year only had 46,026.
The other interesting thing about his annoucement is the possiblity Michigan will play alternating seasons of 8 and 6 home games. According to the Big Ten, the teams in the Eastern Division will be hosting five conference games during the even-numbered years (2016, 2018, 2020) once the nine game coference schedule is adopted in 2016.
But Michigan's future non-conference home and homes with Arkansa and Virginia Tech as UM hosting those teams in Ann Arbor during the even numbered years (Ark-2018, VaTech-2020). During the odd numbered years (2019, 2021) when the Wolverines are slated to have only four home conference games, UM is going on the road to play the Razorback and the Hokies.
If everything remains unchanged, Michigan should have eight home games in 2016. Five will be in conference and the three non-conference games (Hawaii, Ball State, Colorado) are in Ann Arbor.
In 2017, Michigan has four home conference games with one home non-conference game with CIncinnati on 9/9 scheduled to date. If UM has a home-and-home non-conference games that year, it means only six home dates. If not, then it could mean a second consecutive season with eight home games.
I expect the future coference schedules will be put out later this month. I suspect the rotation with Ohio State and Michigan State will stay in place in terms of home or away locations. If Penn State is coupled with MSU and Rutgers/Maryland are one-home-one away, then the rotation of Eastern Division games for the even/odd years could look like this:
Home: Michigan State, Penn State, Rutgers, 2 Western Teams
Away: at Ohio State, at Maryland, at Indiana, 1 Western Team
Home: Ohio State, Maryland, Indiana, 1 Western Team
Away: at Michigan State, at Penn State, at Rutgers, 2 Western Teams
With Nebraska and Wisconsin likely to be on the schedule more often than not due to the weighted scheduling the conference plans on doing, it could be a situation whereby UM plays both OSU and one of UN-L/UW either at home or on the road going forward.
If that were the case, it would make some sense for the timing of the major non-conference games. We could be looking at something like this:
2018 (5 Home Conference games)
Home: Arkansas, Michigan State, Penn State, Rutgers, 2 Western Teams
Away: at Ohio State, at Maryland, at Indiana, at either Nebraska or Wisconsin
2019 (4 Home Conference games)
Home: Ohio State, Maryland, Indiana, either Nebraska or Wisconsin
Away: at Arkansas, at Michigan State, at Penn State, at Rutgers, at 2 Western Teams
2020 and 2021 would be just like 2018 and 2019, except replace Arkansas with Virgiia Tech.
|2 weeks 2 days ago||If you want to credit people . . .||
First off, I think you're being a bit hyperbolic about the Michigan Athletic Department "bleeding money". Martin's predecessor did have one year where revenues were less than expenses by around $3M (I think), but UM's situation was nothing akin to, for example, what Maryland has gone through in recent years.
If you want to thank someone else for Michigan's profitability, then you have to add Jim Delany to the list. He made the decision to create the Big Ten Network, he brokered all the current television deals and he's in part responsible for what will be a more lucrative post-season payoff. He'll also be responsible for the new television rights deal that will be negotiated in three years. He was also Big Ten Commissioner for all the recent expansion, moving the B1G from ten to fourteen teams.
Brandon's primary responsibility will be paying down the debt Michigan has incurred with its most recent projects while still progressing on the plan to upgrade a number of facilities on the South Campus. That involves planning, fund raising and putting together future budgets that will accompllish all the athletic department's goals.
|2 weeks 3 days ago||Per Michigan's FY 2013 Athletic Department Budget . . .||
Michigan released its FY 2013 Athletic Department Budget eleven months ago. According to that document (see http://www.regents.umich.edu/meetings/06-12/2012-06-X-19.pdf), Spectator Admissions for all sports were ($M):
FY 2009 Actual - 35.9 (7 Home Football Games - 31.7 Football Admissions)
FY 2010 Actual - 38.4 (8 Home Football Games - 34.0 Football Admissions)
FY 2011 Actual - 39.1 (7 Home Football Games - 33.3 Football Admissions)
FY 2012 Projected - 50.0M (8 Home Football Games - 43.1 Football Admissions)
FY 2013 Budget - 44.1 (6 Home Football Games - 39.1 Football Admissiosn)
According to the budget report, these figures are net of associated payments to visiting schools. On a per home football game average, here's how the numbers stack up ($M):
FY 2009 - 4.53
FY 2010 - 4.25
FY 2011 - 4.76
FY 2012 - 5.39
FY 2013 - 6.52
The mlive.com report had FY 2012 ticket revenue at $52.4M. It would appear the athletic department may have been a little short in their projections or the figure in the newspaper isn't net the payments to the visiting schools (in football, that was Air Force and Massachusetts).
The preferred seating revenue remains in the lower $20M range per the budget document. It'll be interesting to see if the university was able to generate more money with the club seats at Crisler Center.
|2 weeks 4 days ago||I believe your assessment is incorrect . . .||
Conferences with two BCS bowl participants get a revenue cap for the second participant of $4.5M. See this article from 2010: http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2010/01/20100125/This-Weeks-News/The-BCS-Big-Split.aspx
That $4.5M figure is prior to bowl expenses and unsold tickets that schools have to repay. A round number for that cost is probably about $2.0M give or take (I've seen higher figures quoted--see http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2011/03/auburn_reports_losing_more_tha.html).
So let's say that the 12 schools in the Big Ten would have split the net bowl income of approx. $2.5M from the second BCS bowl appearance. That would have been a little over $208K per each of the 12 school in the Big Ten.
One point that people need to be mindful of regarding bowls is that while the payouts sound impressive, the contracts with them usually indicated that teams have to stay in the locale for a certain time, use certain hotels, etc. Then, of course, there's the cost involved with absorbing unsold tickets as well.
That's why we might see more conferences do what the SEC and Big XII have done by essentially creating and running their own bowl without the middlemen siphoning their cut of the overall money.
|2 weeks 5 days ago||It does include pooled bowl revenue . . .||
The $25.7M total does include pooled bowl revenue. Per the FY 2013 Michigan Athletic Department Budget published in June 2012, the conference distribution amount was expected to be $25.183M. See http://www.regents.umich.edu/meetings/06-12/2012-06-X-19.pdf
That $25.183M was broken down in this document as follows:
Television (Football & Basketball) - $18.718M
NCAA based basketball distributions - $3.345M
Football Bowl Games - $2.344M
Other - $0.776M
So it would appear that the Big Ten's conference distribution was a little over $500K per school more than in the UM budget document. The article says that $19.0M would be coming from television, so that means the actual money from television was a little under $300K more than in the budget.
The NCAA based basketball distrubitions may have been more than expected given the Big Ten's success in the tourney. We'll know more details next month when the Athletic Department releases its FY 2014 budget.
IRT bowl games, what happens for the Big Ten is that all the teams pool their bowl revenue, then the confernce apportions a share of it back to the teams participating as a budget against expenses for the trip. What's left is then divided up between all the teams in the conference, including those who didn't go to bowl games.
As far as bowls are concerned, the Big Ten partcipated in seven last year. I think the only one that normally had a B1G team but didn't was the Little Caesar's in Detroit. But that bowl doesn't pay out too much, so it wasn't a big loss. Besides, given the way the confernce splits the money, not having major expenses in a bowl game might actually have caused the overall payout per school to be higher than expected.
|2 weeks 5 days ago||The Big Ten told Maryland . . .||
Maryland is looking at making around $32M in FY 2014/5. See http://tracking.si.com/2013/03/16/maryland-big-ten-travel-subsidy/
Maryland is also projected to add $100M to $150M to the Big Ten's coffers due to the additional geographic reach the conference will be getting. See http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/pete_thamel/11/19/maryland-big-ten-realignment/index.html
By 2017, Maryland and the other Big Ten schools are looking at conference distributions of around $43M once the new television negotiations are completed. See http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/pete_thamel/11/19/maryland-big-ten-realignment/index.html
To summarize from all these sources, here's what Maryland and the other Big Ten schools will be looking at in the upcoming fiscal years:
FY 2013 - $25.7M
FY 2014 - $32M (due to new football playoff setup plus additional television revenue)
FY 2015 - $33M
FY 2016 - $34M
FY 2017 - $43M (new television deal)
FY 2018 - $44M
FY 2019 - $45M
When discussing these numbers, always keep in mind that conference distributions include revenue from television and net bowl revenue and playoff/conference championship money and the NCAA men's basketball tournament and some other miscellaneous sources.
These numbers are approximate and may not be uniform for all the schools. Nebraska was taking less money initially as it was buying equity and it looks Maryland isgetting more up front than usual given their financial duress and travel expenses. No real information on Rutgers.
But the numbers certainly reflect what Michigan should be looking at in future years. Is it trillions of dollars? No. But if you go back to the pre-Big Ten Network days about five years ago when conference distributions were in the $10M range, it's a real sea change in how much money B1G schools are going to be receiving.
It'll be interesting to see what happens in the near terms. The larger athletic programs seem to be getting fed up with the NCAA's leadership and its "one set of rules fits all" approach that doesn't seem to work in an environment where there are big and small programs with markedly different needs. Then you add the O'Bannon suit and you're laying the groundwork for a scenario whereby the major college athletic programs secede from the NCAA and put together their own governing body which will manage the post-season and negotiate one large scale media deal vs. a handful of deals for each of the separate conferences.
|3 weeks 5 days ago||Well, if we really want to preserve the relationship . . .||
If you really want to preserve the relationship with the "old Big Ten", then I trust you will soon be writing Commissioner Delany and telling him that the conference should rid itself of Nebraska and Penn State, but keep the nine game conference schedule.
This way, Michigan will play a true round robin of B1G teams and not have any worries about one of those "non-traditional" conference championship games either.
To help you out with your quest, here's the address and telephone numbers for the Big Ten Conference offices:
Big Ten Conference Headquarters and Meeting Center
Phone: (847) 696-1010
Good luck, Don Quixote!
|3 weeks 5 days ago||You mean a more difficult path in relative terms, don't you?||
I trust you mean that Michigan will have a more difficult path in relative terms, don't you?
Let's look at the teams we know UM and MSU will play each year in their own division:
Michigan - Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers
Michigan State - Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers
UM is playing two peer programs that are legitimate major football programs in Ohio State and Penn State. The remaining programs are ones they should beat the vast majority of the time.
MSU's peers may be who in that bunch? Not Indiana. Maybe Rutgers and Maryland. But Michigan State has to deal with three major football programs in its own division and probably more competitive games with RU and MD than Michigan will have.
Now let's say Michigan gets Nebraska and MSU doesn't. That means UM has a third major legitimate program as its competition, i.e, the same as MSU does regarless of who they play in the west. But what happens when UM plays Wisconsin and MSU gets Nebraska? The situation changes there to some degree.
So no, I'm not real worried that MSU is going to have an easier schedule run that Michigan when it comes to Big Ten conference games.
|3 weeks 5 days ago||If that's your concern . . .||
If that's your concern, then you haven't been paying attention. First off, the conference is mandating that teams play at least one non-conference game against an opponent of similar stature in another league. There will be real pressure on the Michigan, Ohio State, etc., to have that one marquee game in place on the schedule because we're looking at a new television contract in a few years' time.
Secondly, when it comes to the four-team playoff, the committee is going to look at strength of schedule as one of their metrics. If a program has a bunch of MAC level programs on their non-conference docket, it's going to be a negative when all factors are being considered.
Finally, the Big Ten is telling teams no more FCS programs. That means Illinois can't play Eastern, Western or Southern Illinois and that game between Minnesota and South Dakota State is a thing of the past.
Besides, schedules have to be made years in advance even if they aren't "on purpose". It's always a bit of a crap shoot when it comes to figuring out if a team or program is going to be good five years down the line.
|3 weeks 5 days ago||The 18-year thing . . .||
I believe the 18-year time span was used because that how long the complete scheduling cycle will take. It's not a prediction for how long the Big Ten will be a 14-team conference.
|3 weeks 5 days ago||You do realize that . . .||
You do realize that Michigan State will be playing Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State each year. If they're drooling about that prospect, it's not because that's a happy option for them. Then add in their games with Notre Dame (four years out of every six through 2032) and future games with Alabama, Oregon, and Miami-FL and you can see why they're going to have a pretty tough road to hoe.
Also keep in mind that Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northwestern are going to be on the slate for them as well. It's not going to be much of a picnic for Sparty.
But before we get our panties in a wad, let's see how the scheduling works out. Besides, I read plenty of message boards where fans complain that the games they attend aren't worth the tickets. Now that we may see something of an upgrade with more games against B1G opponents, where's that complaint now?
|3 weeks 5 days ago||For those of us on the East Coast . . .||
For those Michigan alums and fans living on the East Coast, this is a big deal (something Brian is consistently satirical about in his narratives). It's taxing getting to Ann Arbor for a game, although having Penn State in the neighborhood since 1993 helps out. Now that Rutgers and Maryland have been added to the conference, seeing the Wolverines in person for football, basketball, etc., became that much easier.
When was the last time Michigan football travelled to the northeast or mid-Atlantic for a regular season football game? The Wolverines played at Syracuse in 1999 and before that, UM travelled to Beantown to play Boston College in 1995. Michigan will be playing Connecticut later this year as payback for UConn being the stadium dedication opponent in 2010. So that's almost 14 years between appearances.
But with Maryland and Rutgers regularly on the schedule, it's probable that Michigan will be playing those two teams on their home turf in alternating seasons. Who knows? It might be on their home stadiums or even at the bigger pro venues in the Washington DC, Baltimore and New York City areas. Personally, I like the idea that Michgan's geographic footprint in terms of conference play now goes from Nebraska to the Atlantic Ocean.
I'm excited for the change. Annual games with Ohio State, Michigan State and now Penn State coupled with a steady dose of Nebraska or Wisconsin along with I anticipate will be a series of pretty good home-and-home games with at least one top flight non-conference opponent per year means the overall schedule is going to probably be better going forward. We'll see what David Brandon can do with the OOC schedule--if he can line up teams like LSU or Texas A&M or Tennessee from the SEC or Oklahoma or Texas from the Big XII, then that'll be a definite upgrade.
|4 weeks 1 day ago||Those scheduling assumptions about Michigan sound correct . .||
Those assumptions about Michigan's home schedule sound about right. I agree with you that the conference will pair up Michigan and Ohio State for visits to the East Coast (one goes to Maryland, the other to Rutgers) and then have another pair of Michigan State and Penn State doing the same thing. We'll probably see a rotation like this:
Year 1 - Maryland hosts Michigan and Penn State, plays at Michigan State and Ohio State
Year 2 - Maryland hosts Michgian State and Ohio State, plays at Michigan and Penn State
Year 1 - Rutgers hosts Michigan State and Ohio State, plays at Michigan and Penn State
Year 2 - Rutgers hosts Michigan and Penn State, plays at Michigan State and Ohio State
If they're correct, that would synch up nicely with the home-and-home series schedule with Arkansas. The Razorbacks are scheduled to play in Ann Arbor in 2018, which would coincide with a year with only four home conference games at Michigan Stadium. Then the following season, Michigan goes to Fayetteville, which means UM can still host seven home games (five confrence, two non-conference).
If Michigan is able to get a home-and-home on the schedule with a major program for 2017 and 2020, they'll have to find someone who will host them in the odd numbered year and play in Ann Arbor in the even numbered year. I suspect David Brandon and company have been working that out already.
I also expect we'll still be seeing a lot of Nebraska and Wisconsin on the schedule. They're the top two programs in the West Division right now and the conference does need to "feed the beast" that is network television (especially with a new rights deal starting in 2017).
As far as Michigan State is concerned, the other problem they have is with the non-conference schedule. MSU AD Mark Hollis has made it a point to put some major teams on the schedule with home-and-home agreements as a way to promote Spartan football. Besides Notre Dame, MSU has Alabama, Miami-FL and Boise State on the future slate.
In fact, MSU has four non-conference game scheduled in the 2016 and 2017 seasons with two games each year against Alabama and Notre Dame. Hollis is going to have to lose one of those major non-conference games now that the B1G is going to a nine-game conference schedule or opt to eliminate one of the body bag games (2016 - Furman, E. Michigan, 2017 - Miami (Ohio), W. Michigan). Wouldn't it be funny if he had to cancel out on ND in order to play Alabama? I'm sure Notre Dame could find a replacement, but it's probably been pretty rare for teams to cancel games with ND.
But if Hollis is committed to playing at least one major non-conference opponent per year plus Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and one of Nebraska or Wisconsin more often than not, he's going to have a pretty difficult football schedule on his hands. If he was in the West Divsion with a dedicated crossover game with Michgan, he'd have elminated the annual contests with OSU and PSU and that may have tempered the schedule enough in his mind to continue playing major opponents non-conference (on a side note, MSU does have a home-and-home with Oregon in 2014/5).
|4 weeks 2 days ago||Article on Ways in New Jersey Newspaper||
From April 18th. He certainly caught Rutgers attention when they were scouting QB Tyler Wiegers. See http://www.nj.com/rutgersfootball/index.ssf/2013/04/rutgers_recruiting_tyler_wiege.html
|4 weeks 3 days ago||An atrocity? Really?||
Aren't we being a bit hyperbolic in our commentary? Do you really think it's an atrocity that Michigan will be playing Maryland and Rutgers on a more regular basis than Iowa? Please tell me what it is about MD and RU that make them "flaky-ass" because I don't get that vibe where I'm located. If anything, their profiles in terms of student body, research profiles, etc. make them quentessential Big Ten schools.
If you're talking about zero track records of success, then you have to include Minnesota and Indiana to that list. Should we kick them out because of it or is okay because they have long standing ties in the conference? Of course, neither Penn State or Nebraska have long standing ties, but it's okay for them to be in the conference because the programs are successful. You don't mind playing PSU or UN-L in lieu of "traditional" Big Ten schools, but it's an atrocity if Michigan plays Maryland or Rutgers on a regular basis.
What happens in those years where Rutgers and/or Maryland are actually better in the W-L column than Iowa? Are they suddenly better choices because of it? Or is this just a temporary thing until the Hawkeyes get their program back on track again?
I may have a longer sense of history than you, but I can remember when the Big Ten was the Big 8/Little 2 and a school like Wisconsin or Northwestern didn't stand a snowball's chance in hell to beat Michigan or Ohio State. Should the conference have outed them back in the 1970s? Or would you concede that those programs got better over time.
The thing is, we don't know how good Maryland and Rutgers can become given the resources they're going to be managing in the near term. As I wrote before, if they become the next Utah or TCU, then we'll be singing a whole different tune here.
One more thing. While I don't know where you're located in Iowa, here's the time per Mapquest to drive to the following locations from iowa City:
Madison, WI - 3.3 hours
Champaign, IL - 4.3 hours
Evanston, IL - 4.5 hours
Lincoln, NE - 4.8 hours
Minneapolis, MN - 5.0 hours
It looks to me that in those years when Michigan isn't playing at Iowa, you probably have some other options to work with.
|4 weeks 3 days ago||As one of the Michgian East Coast alums . . . .||
I live in the Washington DC area, so the idea of seeing Michigan play Maryland (20 minute drive from my home) and Rutgers (3.5 hour drive) every year in football (not to mention a whole slew of other sports) in person is pretty appealing. I love Ann Arbor and going to MIchigan Stadium for a game, but when the drive is between seven and eight hours (or I have to pay plane fare, etc.), it's a real bonus to be able to go to College Park (or Fedex Field or M&T Stadium) or northern New Jersey (or the "new Meadowlands") to see them play as an alternative.
One thing Brian deliberatley fails to mention is that with Michigan in the Big Ten East, that locks in Penn State as an annual opponent as well (something that didn't happen before Nebraska joined the B1G). Now I realize it'll take awhile for PSU to get its football program back to snuff given the sanctions, but the program is still one of the most recognizable in CFB and it's still a rivalry (besides, it's fun to watch highlights of the 1997 game on YouTube).
Brian also talks about Michigan not playing Nebraska or Wisconsin or Iowa on a regular basis. But with a nine-game conference schedule starting in 2016 and with the Big Ten anxious to keep the networks happy (especially with a new media deal in the works a few years down the line), I strongly suspect that we'll see those schools on the schedule more often then not. That's especially true since the B1G designed the divisions so that there was only one protected crossover game (Indiana-Purdue) On a side note, I don't understand the attraction to Iowa given their recent up and down track record. If anything, Northwestern seems a more solid program right now than the Hawkeyes.
We'll see what happens. If Maryland and/or Rutgers becomes the new Utah or Texas Christian, then bringing those two schools into the conference is going to be judged differently. If not, then at worst, they're just as likely replacing programs like Minnesota or Illinois on the schedule as they are Nebraska, Wisconsin or Iowa (?!!!).
So fast forward five years and assume there's no more major conference realignment. The Big Ten will have signed its new media rights deal and by current estimates, conference distributions will be in the low $40M range. Michigan will open the season with a game at Arkansas with two more home non-conference opponents on the slate. There may even be a conference game in Week 2 or 3 of the season. Since this is an even numbered year, Michigan will likely play Ohio State in Columbus and MSU in Ann Arbor. There will be at least one game on the East Coast (Maryland or Rutgers) plus matchups with Penn State and Indiana. Finally, there will be three more games against Western Division opponents with one of them probably being Nebraska or Wiscconsin. And who knows? Iowa may be on the upswing again and they could be on the schedule as well. That doesn't seem to me like anyone lifted thier middle finger to the fans, now does it?
Besides, if the conference does opt for a ten-game conference schedule, it means UM will be playing all the western division teams at least twice over a four-year period. It just gives me chills thinking about that regular rotation of games between the Wolverines and the Hawkeyes. :)
|9 weeks 4 days ago||Lies, Damn Lies, and . . .||
When you look at the figures that Brian presents on Michigan's Salaries, Wages and Benefits, it's interesting to note that the 2006 figure is 30.9% of Total Revenue in 2006 and 33.8% in in 2013. So while that number has gone up 109% from $21M to $44M, the increase as a pecentage of total revenue has only been 2.9%.
The question he needs to ask is why has this expense line gone up so much over a seven year period. Are there more people on the payroll now? Has their benefits structure (such as health care) changed markedly over the last seven years? Are retention levels high? Have average salaries gotten larger in the athletic department?
If you go to the University of Michigan Salary Search website at http://www.umsalary.info/deptsearch.php?Dept=Athletics&Year=6&Campus=0, you get some of the answers.
When you look at the 2013 data, it shows the Athletic Department having 321 employees with an average salary of $76,110.82. Using those numbers, the total AD salary is $24.4M.
If you look at the 2006 data, the AD has fewer employees (234) with an average salary of $57, 235.57. That would put total salaries at $13.4M.
So we know that the athletic department has expanded the number of employees from 2006 to 2013 by 87 people. Here's the numbers of employees per year and the average salaries from the database:
2006 - 234 ($57,235.57)
2007 - 240 ($59,684.48)
2008 - 241 ($63, 931.63)
2009 - 252 ($70,592.24)
2010 - 250 ($72, 035.54)
2011 - 253 ($73,382.64)
2012 - 281 ($75, 503.35)
2013 - 321 ($76,110.82)
David Brandon became Athletic Director in March 2010 and its in the wake of his hiring that we see the majority of growth in the numbers of athletic department employees (although the salary growth was largest between 2008 and 2009, prior to his arrival at UM).
I'll let someone else take a look at these databases and figure out who these extra people are and what job titles they have. I suspect we'll see some more coaches for new sports (lacrosse) and probably more S&C staff. But I suspect the biggest increase will be in marketing, promotions, public relations and fund raising.
As far as scholarships are concerned, the percentages of money spent on Financial Aid to Students as a percentage of Total Revenues is 16.2% in 2006 and 13.8% in 2012. Depending on how you want to spin it, I suppose you could say that's a good thing or a bad one. The UM Athletic Department pays the university full cost of tuition and the AD puts no restrictions on its coaches regarding instate and out-of-state students. Tuition costs have certainly risen between 2006 and 2011 and I imagine the number of athletes getting support has increased somewhat over the years. Seeing that this expense item is actually a smaller percentage of revenue might actually be considered a good thing.
One other thing of interest is the huge change in revenue--from $68M in 2006 to $130M in 2013. That's attributable to the new television deal with ABC/ESPN, the introduction of the Big Ten Network, increased donations/PSLs largely due to the football stadium renovations and, of course, higher ticket prices. That is a huge increase, and if conference distributions go up to $43M in FY 2017 with the new television deal and post-season set up, then that revenue number will be in the $150M range about four years down the line.
|9 weeks 4 days ago||Purdue in the west . . . .||
In the end, I suspect we'll see Purdue in the west with Indiana in the east for the short-term future while the conference is still at 14 teams.
If the B1G goes to 16 teams (say Virginia and North Carolina) and both programs come from the ACC, then Indiana will probably head west if the conference opts to use a setup with two permanent 8-team divisions.
if the B1G goes to four 4-team pods, then we'd likely see the following:
Pod A - Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin
Pod B - Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Northwestern
Pod C - Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State
Pod D - Rutgers, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina
Like the WAC from the mid-90s two pods (A & C) would be permanently assigned to two different division while pods B & D rotate between the two divisions. Teams would play the three other programs in their pod each year and the teams in the other pods two times every four years.
If the B1G goes to 18 teams (add Duke and Georgia Tech) with both programs coming from the ACC, then the B1G can have two 9-team divisions:
West - Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Northwestern, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State
East - Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech
If the conference opts to go to ten conference games with this lineup, it means it'll take ten years to cycle through the teams in the west if home-and-home series are scheduled.
With ten conference games and a pod system, the rotation is much quicker---just under six years to make sure each team plays the other twice. We'd have two 5-team pods and two 4-team pods with the two smaller pods rotating between divisions:
Pod A - Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan State
Pod B - Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana, Purdue
Pod C - Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland
Pod D - Georgia Tech, Duke, North Carolina, Virginia
If the Big Ten were to go to 20 teams (add Florida State and Notre Dame), then it's very likely a pod system with four 5-team pods would be in place. It would take six years for every team to play one another home-and-home with divisions rotating every two years with a nine-game conference schedule.
Pod A - Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois
Pod B - Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Indiana
Pod C - Purdue, Notre Dame, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland
Pod D - Florida State, Georgia Tech, Duke, North Carolina, Virginia
Years 1 & 2 (Pods A/B and Pods C/D)
Division 1 - Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Wisconsin
Division 2 - Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, Virginia
Years 3 & 4 (Pods A/C and B/D)
Division 1 - Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, Wisconsin
Division 2 - Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Northwestern, Ohio State, Virginia
Years 5 & 6 (Pods A/D and B/C)
Division 1 - Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin
Division 2 - Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers
|14 weeks 4 days ago||I was at that meeting . . . .||
That's a very good description of the meeting highlights. You are correct that he did a quick poll to see how many people liked the expansion and that the majority indicated no. What I would have loved to have seen is a second question to that same group asking them if they'd buy tickets to a Michigan-Maryland football game in 2014 held at Byrd Stadium or Fedex Field. I suspect if he did that, everyone in the room would have raised their hands.
I go to perhaps one Michigan game a year in Ann Arbor since I live in the DC area and I've been going to them since I was a freshman in 1978. To be frank with you, the core experiences of a UM game really haven't changed for me, so all this angst that people (including Brian) bring up about changes David Brandon has brought ring hollow to me.
Goodness knows the stadium's improved greatly over these last 35 years! I remember chain link fence surrounding it, the old press box and not having enough rest rooms. It was certainly a functional stadium, but it lacked any real amenities (and enough restrooms). I think that groundkeeper's house was still on the grounds in 1978 as well. The scoreboard was fine, but absolutely nothing compared to what we have today. And, of course, the luxury boxes are a big change (and I've been in them--they're first class) not only to the stadium's interior, but to its exterior presence as well.
But what else has really changed? The band still plays "The Victors". The team still runs under the Banner. The uniforms have changed a bit to keep up with the times but the helmet is still one of the most recognizable in college football. There are still no permanent ads in the stadium. People still do the Wave and the cheerleaders still shout "Go Blue!". I could do without some of the rawk music, but it's not as deafening as pro events. The halftime shows are pretty much the same, not to mention the pregame ceremonies. I suppose there are more Michigan-oriented promotions (free T-shirts!), but it doesn't ruin the larger experience for me.
So while I may see some of the generic elements to a game day in Ann Arbor, there's still plenty there to keep it unique.
One think I would say to David Brandon is this though. If Michgian ever does add more seating to the south side of the stadium, I hope the tickets there are put in a price range that would make it more affordable for families to come to these games. They could be a modern day version of bleachers, but more importantly, it'd open up the Michigan game experience to youngsters who might not normally be in a position to attend because it's too costly.
|14 weeks 5 days ago||With a 10-game schedule . . .||
With a 10-game schedule and 14 teams, the B1G could adopt a 6-1-3 setup with teams playing the six programs in their division, one protected cross division opponent and then three of the other six teams in the opposite division. That allows programs to play one another at least twice in a four year period.
They aren't looking at adapting this until 2016 or 2017, which means they're synching this up with the new television contracts. It's also a signal to any program that is a possible expansion candidate that the B1G intends to play as many conference games as possible while maintaining the financial bottom line.
It'll be interesting to see what programs do with their non-conference schedules if there are only two opponents on it. Some will just schedule two easy opponents. Others might do a home-and-home and opt to play alternate years of six and seven home games. I suppose it will all depend on what their post-season objectives are (playoff or just getting into a bowl game) and what the impact will be revenue wise not only for the athletic department, but the communities where the universities are located.
It's also encouraging to see that they're looking at playing conference games the first two weeks of September. It should make the schedule somewhat more interesting, but it has to be recognized as a move for television. I also wonder if teams are really going to schedule difficult non-conference opponents late in the season. The SEC doesn't do it and I can't imagine there are too many B1G teams that would do it as well.
|15 weeks 1 day ago||A couple of things . . . .||
The recruiting expenses for a number of Big Ten schools have gone up between 2011 and 2012. From the article at http://thegazette.com/2013/02/07/urban-meyer-effect-b1g-football-recruit...
The Big Ten’s football programs already have followed suit financially. At least eight Big Ten programs increased football recruiting expenses in the 2012 fiscal year, according to records supplied by 10 league schools to The Gazette via the Freedom of Information Act. Only two schools did not send information to The Gazette: Northwestern and Penn State. As a private school, Northwestern is not required to submit financial information. A Penn State official said the school is waiting for auditors to certify the report.
Overall, the 10 league schools saw their recruiting expenses increase by a combined $720,177 from 2011 to 2012. Iowa’s recruiting costs soared by more than $96,000 to a program-high $403,305. That’s nearly double what the Hawkeyes spent on football recruiting in fiscal year 2010. But that’s still lower than at least six other Big Ten programs.
Here's a review from a Florida fan about Meyer's recruiting classes the year after he left--see http://ourtwobits.com/floridas-troubles-start-with-meyers-recruiting/
Here's an excerpt from that article. Keep in mind this was written in November 2011:
Final Review: It is quite clear and quite evident that while Meyer’s classes were great on paper, they left much to be desired. Twenty-two (22) players transferred. Nine players had no career or no legitimate playing time at UF. At least seven players have drastically played below their rankings. Six QBs were recruited, only two are currently on the roster as QBs, two are TEs and two transferred, leaving UF with a Redshirt Senior QB, a Redshirt Freshman QB and two Freshmen QBs. The Gators have struggled to recruit talented Wide Receivers. The Gators have struggled to find a “Power Running Back” that can block and knows the playbook. The Gators have struggled mightily recruiting Defensive Ends. The Gators Offensive Line has been considered “small”. The Gators have struggled to recruit and retain blocking Tight Ends. UF currently only has 69 players on their roster (85 is the maximum).
It should be quite clear and quite evident why UF is playing poorly this year. While UF owes Urban Meyer and staff a debt of gratitude, UF really struggled retaining and developing talent, especially for a “Pro-Style” Offense.
If I'm a Big Ten coach and I'm listening to Meyer talk about recruiting, I'd look very closely not only at Meyer's successes af Florida, but his problems there as well, including with the recruiting classes. Here's a Sporting News article titled "From Champs to Chomped: How Urban Meyer Broke Florida Football" from April 2012 toat goes into some details. See http://aol.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/story/2012-04-09/urban-meyer-f...
|15 weeks 2 days ago||Did you also look at . . . . ?||
Did you also look at the stadium capacities for Fedex Field outside Washington DC (85,000), M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore (71,008) or MetLife Stadium in northern New Jersey (82,287) before you sulked away into a pile of money?
All three stadiums have hosted college football games and while we're still working out the details regarding schedules, divisions, etc., I don't think there'll be too much suprise if Maryland or Rutgers uses these stadium perhaps once a year to host a Michigan, Ohio State or Penn State game.
|15 weeks 2 days ago||January primetime ratings are BTN’s highest ever||
January primetime ratings are BTN’s highest ever
January 2013 marked the Big Ten Network’s highest-rated month ever in primetime, according to Nielsen metered market data, fueled by high-quality men’s basketball matchups and strong performance of The Journey, which also set new ratings records. BTN’s average primetime men’s conference basketball rating was 0.87 in the network’s eight metered markets*. Among all national sports networks for the month, BTN trailed only ESPN in its eight metered markets.
“Our ratings growth is a testament to the high level of competition in the Big Ten, improved quality of our content, and continued increased distribution of the network,” BTN President Mark Silverman.
Through the first 14 weeks of the season, BTN has aired 55 games featuring ranked teams, including 32 games with teams ranked in the top 10, and 20 games with teams ranked in the top 5. In all, BTN will air more than 115 men’s basketball games this season.
Men’s basketball games contributing to the ratings growth include Minnesota at Indiana (1/12), the highest-rated regular season basketball game in BTN history, along with Ohio State at Illinois (1/5), Minnesota at Wisconsin (1/26), Michigan at Illinois (1/27), and Indiana at Purdue (1/30).
|15 weeks 5 days ago||I strongly suspect we'll see the conference go to nine games . .||
I strongly suspect we'll see the Big Ten go to nine conference football games, but per Purdue's athletic director, the AD's have been given guidance that they can schedule four non-conference games for 2014/5, three for 2016 thru 2018 and two four 2019 and 2020.
That would suggest there is a possible timetable in place for getting to nine-conference games with the first season we see this happening being 2016. At that time, however, we may be looking at 16 or more teams in the conference by then.
But for 2014/5, expect Michigan to keep the four non-conference games on the schedule with some shake up on the conference side. All indications at this point show that UM and OSU will be joining Penn State, Rutgers and Maryland in an eastern division. The remaining question then seems to be the seventh member in the east--Purdue or Michigan State. My guess is that it will be the latter, especially with eight conference games on the slate for 2014/5.
That means Michigan will play two teams from the western division those two seasons. The current pre-expansion schedules have at Minnesota, Iowa, at Nebraska and Northwestern for 2014 and Wisconsin, Minnesota, at Illinois, Nebraska, at Northwestern and Iowa in 2015. Maryland and Rutgers will replace two of those teams each year and Penn State will be added as a division game for 2015. If Nebraska is kept on the rotation, it means having the Cornhuskers, Buckeyes and Fighting Irish games all on the road in 2014, so perhaps Nebraska will be dropped for those two seasons.
As far as Brian interviewing Brandon is concerned, who knows? Brian's been critical of things the conference has done (such as expansion) and it's no secret he doesn't approve of Brandon's corporate approach to running the athletic department. Perhaps this is an interveiw that is best left undone . . . .
|16 weeks 3 days ago||Let's put it this way . . .||
David Brandon and a number of other Big Ten Athletic Directors want to be in a position where they can play seven home games per year in order to maximize ticket revenues supporting their department's operations.
A ten-game schedule with five home/five road conference games means the two non-conference games would have to be played at Michigan Stadium every season in order to have those seven home games.
The belief is that it would be difficult for any athletic director to put together a compelling non-conference schedule without being able to do at least one home-and-home series. Michigan might be able to get some good or BCS conference teams in Ann Arbor who don't need a return date like Brigham Young (2015), Oregon State (2015) and Colorado (2016), but that can also be a difficult propositon (ex. UM was able to get Connecticut for stadium rededication game, but had to agree to reutrn date).
With a nine-game schedule, there's at least the opportunity to upgrade the non-conference schedule because there's room for a home-and-home series. For a long time standing, the team that was in that slot was Notre Dame. With ND dropping off the schedule after 2014, the only home-and-home we do know about is Arkansas in 2018/9.
The other thing I would say is that there are no assurances that with a ten-team conference schedule, all the B1G teams on UM's schedule that particular year are going to be as compelling as some of the squads on the non-conference portion of the schedule. For example, would you rather play Minnesota or Purdue as the tenth conference game or have BYU or Oregon State as the third non-conference opponent? I'd pick the latter option over the former one.
I do expect that the Big Ten will be handsomely compensated with the new television deals that will come in place for the 2017 season. The estimate for confrence distributions (which includes television revenue) is $43M by that year. That's in comparison to the roughly $28M this fiscal year. I don't think it's going to change much if there are nine or ten conference games because if one of the non-conference teams on a particular school's schedule is pretty good, it'll likely be better than that 10th B1G opponent.
The conference will adopt a nine game conference schedule and encourage teams to "schedule up" on the non-conference portion of it because of post-season implications. I suspect the adaptation of the nine game conference schedule is going to take a few years--perhaps by 2016. At that point, we may also be looking at a 16- or more team Big Ten.
|16 weeks 3 days ago||I'd be fine with a 16 team conference||
A sixteen-team conference with two fixed 8-team divisions would work out fine geographically with a nine-game conference schedule. Assuming Virginia and Georgia Tech are the 15th and 16th programs, then here's a simple East-West Split-
East: Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia Tech
West: Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana, Purdue
That's pretty straightforward. With a nine-game conference schedule, teams would play the seven in their division plus two in the other division (7-2). If the B1G opted not to make those cross-divisional games home-and-home on the schedule, then the teams in each of the divisions would play one another once in a four year period. Admittedly, this would mean that teams wouldn't travel to all eight different schools in that time frame, but there would be at least one game apiece with all the other squads.
In this setup, Michigan would play Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, Virgnia, Georgia Tech and two of the West Division teams each year. The pro side is UM gets to play its conference rivals, have two games on the east coast each year and still have two more games against traditional B10 teams in the western division.
The other way to do it is construct four 4-team pods and having them rotate every two years. A team would play the three programs in its pods plus four in the pods its paired up with and two more teams in a third pod. After two years, swap pods and keep the same set up. That ensures team get at least two games per opponent every four years.
The pods could be set up as follows:
Pod A: Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota
Pod B: Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana, Purdue
Pod C: Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State
Pod D; Rutgers, Maryland, Virgnia, Georgia Tech.
With this setup, Michigan would play Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State annually. In Years 1 and 2, Pod C and Pod D form one division and UM would also play Rutgers, Maryland, Virgniia and Georgia Tech. The fnal two games are from opponents in Pod A (perhaps paired up this way--Nebraska/Minnesota and Wisconsin/Iowa)
In Years 3 and 4, Pod B and Pod C form one division. Michgian continues to play MSU, OSU and PSU, but now the rest of the division is Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana and Purdue. The final two games are the two opponents in Pod A that weren't played in Years 1 and 2.
So in a four-year cycle, Michigan would have four games with Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State and two games apiece (one home, one away) with the other twelve teams in the conference for 36 total conference games. The winners of the two divisions would go onto the conference championship game.
I don't agree with Brian's assessment that the Big Ten can't have all its teams play one another in a four-year period in a sixteen-team conference. The two methods I described above work and the second one was used during the brief period when the WAC had 16 teams.
Obviously, the schedule would be rounded out with three non-conference games and in years where Michigan had four home conference games, those three OOC contests would have to be played in Ann Arbor to ensure seven home games are played at Michigan Stadium. That means one of those three non-conference games can be a home-and-home series.
You can set up the pods differently, but the one I outlined above is mindful of geography and most of the rivalry/desired games. Its not perfect on all accounts because the Little Brown Jug and the Illinibuck, for example, would be contest for two years out of every four. It also ensures that Nebraska/Wisconsin/Iowa are always in one divisions and Michigan/Ohio State/Penn State are in the other for some semblance of competitive balance.
|16 weeks 5 days ago||A 10-game conference schedule isn't very likely . . . .||
A ten-game conference schedule isn't very likely because the ticket revenue for a home football game is still an important element in any athletic department's budget. That gets compounded for schools like Michigan with larger stadiums and bigger budgets. Athletic directors will want to have the opportunity not only to schedule seven home games per year, but to at least have a somewhat compelling non-conference lineup.
If the conference did adopt a ten-game conference schedule, it'd probably mean Michigan would have two pay-for-play opponents in the non-conference portion of the schedule. UM isn't likely to get a very interesting opponent in either case, especially if the B1G opts to move conference games up into the September timeframe. In other words, you're more likely to see a MAC level team non-conference team on the schedule in October and November in the midst of conference play than a higher quality program (which is what happens in the SEC).
It would also essentially eliminate any chance for a home-and-home game with an interesting non-conference opponent from outside the Midwest. I think the last thing the B1G wants to be is Midwest-centric in its approach, but that's exactly the sort of thing that would happen with a ten-game conference schedule and with 14 teams at hand. You might make a somewhat different case with a larger conference that is geographically diverse and/or adds more major programs (Notre Dame, Florida State). But until that happens, I think it makes more sense to adopt a nine-game schedule and let the athletic directors take their own direction regarding the non-conference line ups.
One other thing to keep in mind is that while a nine-game conference schedule means alternating years of five and four home games, having a seven team division means that there will be three home and three road games within the division each season. Since winning the division is the prerequisite for getting into the CCG, it's at least fair that there's a round robin within that division with each team playing an even number of home and road games.
We'll see what happens with the divisions, but I think it's highly likely that Michigan and Ohio State will be in the east with Penn State, Rutgers and Maryland. The sixth and seventh members of the division will be either Michigan State or Northwestern or Indiana or Purdue. Regardless of the lineup, UM will probably play MSU annually either because they're both in the same division of its a protected crossover game between teams in two divisions.
Let's assume the latter and put Michigan in the east with Indiana and Purdue while MSU goes out west. That means UM might play the following rotation within the division:
Year 1 -
Home: Ohio State, Rutgers, Indiana
Away: Penn State, Maryland, Purdue, Michigan State
Home: Penn State, Maryland, Purdue, Michigan State
Away: Ohio State, Rutgers, Indiana
That leaves two open slots for six schools from the west. A likely pairing of those schools would be Nebraska-Minnesota, Wisconsin-Illinois, Northwestern-Iowa. They rotate through every two years as the eighth and ninth games in the conference schedule with one home and one on the road.
That leaves David Brandon the opportunity to schedule three non-conference home games in Year 1 in order to have seven in Ann Arbor and two OOC home games in Year 2 for the same result. That means two pay for play games and one major non-conference home and home (such as Arkansas in 2018/9). UM gets seven home games per year and the opportunity to have one good major non-conference opponent each year.
When we get to 16 or more teams, we could still have fixed divisions with a 7-2 split or a 4X4 pod set up. The latter is more likely because it allows all the teams to play one another over a two year period at least twice and it means all the Big Ten teams get to play throughout the physical breadth of the conference.
If there's any takeaway to this, it's that a nine-game schedule can work with a conference that goes up to 20 teams in a 4X5 pod setup while still leaving room for programs to have seven home games per year and still keeping at least one good home-and-home non-conference game on the books. If the B1G is seriously contemplating having that many teams in the near term, then it might make sense to adopt a nine game set up now. Otherwise, the conference would be going back and forth between nine- and ten-game conference schedule formats and cause a lot of chaos in the maintenance of the non-conference schedule.