Things That Happened Comment Count

Brian December 29th, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Hello!

The DL took a hit for the Sugar. Nate Brink is out, leaving I Don't Know behind RVB at strongside defensive end, and Will Heininger is "questionable" with a foot thing.  No one expects him to play. Heininger's absence would probably mean a start for Will Campbell and more playing time for Quinton Washington, plus a tired Mike Martin since he won't have anything approximating a plausible backup:

"(We have) two other seniors up front that are going to play their last college game and their last game for Michigan," Hoke said. "Sometimes, you’ve got to be an iron man."

The line is thin.

MonuMental dropped wallpaper. It's uncommonly gorgeous even for MonuMental.

michigan-football-wallpaper-2012-sugar-bowl-widescreen[1]

He also has a request for people who have enjoyed his work. Click through.

Denard got Sports Scienced. BIZANG

Virginia Tech's kicker got in jail. Like, jail-jail. I think I mentioned that already, but the new thing is VT's significant uncertainty at the spot:

Beamer said everyone made the trip except suspended place-kicker Cody Journell, who is facing a felony charge of entering a house with the intent to commit a felony. He spent six days in jail before being released this morning.

Beamer said senior Tyler Weiss will handle extra-point tries and field goals of less than 22 yards against Michigan, and senior Justin Myer will attempt longer kicks.

The Hokies have a guy who's deadly accurate from inside the five but can't get a 30-yarder over the bar. I look forward to seeing this strangely configured man.

The Big Ten and Pac 12 enjoyed a long, teary hug. Starting in 2017 the two conferences will have a scheduling alliance designed to "match teams of similar strength" in football, which is all that matters. The two leagues will also play in all other sports but in all other sports it's a matter of replacing one of your quality nonconference opponents with a Pac-12 school. Only in football does this make for real change.

While the move away from cupcake non-games is welcome, that was already on the docket as the Big Ten prepared to move to a nine-game conference schedule. That is now off the table:

The scheduling partnership means the Big Ten won't be moving from eight conference games to nine beginning in the 2017 season. The league had announced the increase in August.

"If it's not off the board, it's coming off the board," Delany said. "When this opportunity was raised, it's pretty much the understanding that it's in lieu of."

Instead of playing Wisconsin and Penn State more Michigan will play some Pac-10 teams. Honestly, I'd rather skip this business and expand the conference schedule. I'd rather have a more balanced conference schedule and more frequently revisited rivalries with the rest of the league than games Michigan could schedule anyway.

ANTI-BONUS: This hurts Michigan and Ohio State more than anyone else since they are locked into that cross-divisional protected rivalry. The other contenders in the West have annual matchups against Purdue (Iowa), Indiana (MSU), and the post-apocalypse version of Penn State (Nebraska). Michigan gets OSU annually. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes' main division rival's permanent crossover is… Minnesota. At least the Badgers won't be able to duck any and all plausible nonconference opponents anymore.

So it's a push leaning to not good right now. It will will be a total fail if Michigan takes the opportunity to ditch the ND series. Survey says… probably not($):

While Brandon said he wouldn’t want to predict anything in the long term -- and he said 2017 is not considered long term in his view of football scheduling -- if the current schedule were to remain the same, the Irish will remain on the schedule.

That schedule would be eight Big Ten games, a home or away game with the Big Ten/Pac-12 agreement, a home or away game against Notre Dame and two non-conference home games.

“They like to play us and we like to play them so that game continues to be on our schedule,” Brandon said. “As it relates to the long term, who knows. The long term is pretty hard to predict with the constant changes in college football, but for now we intend to play Notre Dame and they are on our schedule and we’ll be playing them for the next few years anyway.”

If the ND game stays in place that will take Michigan's interesting nonconference games from one to two in 2017, but you can say goodbye to the idea of playing anyone from the ACC, Big 12, or SEC in the nonconference unless Jerry Jones is throwing money around like a sad old lonely man. And that was going to happen in 2017 anyway with a move to a nine-game conference schedule.

The Big Ten got a lot of credit for envisioneering a multifaceted solution to the dynamic problems of college athletics. I don't get it. Not to pick on the MZone, but, uh:

And just like that, the SEC's addition of Mizzou and Texas A&M seems so...quaint.  The Big East's addition of Boise State and...who again?... seems so 2011.  As Scott points out, the B1G and Pac-12 gain a lot of the upside of expansion (broader reach, new markets and recruiting areas( without actually expanding.  And with the conferences' TV deals with ESPN expiring in 2016, the BTN and the Pac-12 new network stand to make a financial killing.

This is far from an isolated opinion; check the link blizzard in the second paragraph of Get the Picture's analysis of the situation.

The SEC diluting its product with Mizzou and A&M was never a good idea to begin with. This lacks any huge, stupid downsides like the SEC deal, so there's that, but at its heart it's one football game a year. Just because the man with the eyebrows says something doesn't mean it's true.

Michigan hired a soccer coach. He's from Providence, he's turned a nothing program into a consistent NCAA participant, he's not Caleb Porter, but he seems like a pretty good idea. More details in the board thread.

Tigerdroppings got cited by a newspaper. Tennessee WR DeAnthony Arnett is leaving Tennessee after Charlie Baggett's exit to be closer to his ailing father. You're probably wondering if Michigan will take a look after grabbing Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh in the last few weeks. There is a wild card spot open since Bri'onte Dunn decided to stick with the Golden Bobcats.

Michigan would be foolish not to explore the possibility. If he doesn't get a waiver he'd be coming off his redshirt year with three to play when Roundtree and Stonum exit. He fills a hole on the roster after Michigan didn't take any WRs last year. If Michigan doesn't hop on him his most likely destination is MSU. Since he's a transfer he doesn't have to be crammed into the 28 available LOI slots. His stock has not dropped over the last year: Arnett had 24 catches as a freshman. His timeline matches up well with Michigan's needs and he's got talent. I would grab him and see if Michigan suffers the one or two extra departures that would allow them to take 28 on Signing Day anyway.

That's beside the point. This is the point:

Arnett caught 24 passes for 242 as a true freshman for the Volunteers last season, but several factors have prompted Arnett to ask for a release from Tennesse, according to fan site tigerdroppings.com.

That link leads to a C&P of the Rivals article on his decision to exit.

OH TE Sam Grant is seeing Michigan's main competition fill up a bit. Kyle Kalis teammate Sam Grant just picked up an Oklahoma offer, which had the potential to significantly complicate what looked like a straightforward decision to avoid the tire fire that is BC football for Michigan. That offer may have just fell by the wayside with AZ TE Taylor McNamara's commitment to the Sooners($). McNamara was briefly a Michigan target before he decided Ann Arbor was too far from home.

That gives OU two tight ends in the last week, but Grant is still planning on a visit in January.

Josh Garnett said something reasonable. This was it.

Michigan recruit Josh Garnett: 'I'm like Suh, but on offense'

NotSureIfSerious

Also not sure if serious. Wait… what?

Despite his pro-style roots, Borges didn't shun the spread. After resigning from Auburn in December 2007, Borges took the next year off, his first since starting coaching, and made visits to college teams like Mississippi State, Florida and Cal as well as to the NFL's Detroit Lions.

Then, in preparation for Michigan's season, he consulted with spread-offense practitioners like Temple coach Steve Addazio.

Steve Addazio is a spread offense practitioner like Jim Tressel is an honesty practitioner.

Multi-year scholarships got overriden, too. That PDF only had 48 objections to the multi-year scholarship option so I thought it was in the clear. It is not:

More than 75 schools are asking to override a plan approved in October to allow multiyear athletic scholarships rather than the one-year renewable awards schools currently provide.

That's disappointing but at least the world is being alerted to the asshat factory that is the Indiana State athletic department. If it goes to an override vote, 5/8ths of the membership would have to vote it down to eliminate it.

Someone made Central Michigan's stadium in Minecraft. Srs.

CMU was not in my top ten "schools most likely to create 1:1 replica of their stadium in Minecraft." BOOM:

  1. Georgia Tech
  2. Stanford
  3. Cal
  4. Michigan
  5. Rice
  6. UCLA
  7. Illinois
  8. Florida
  9. Washington State
  10. Notre Dame

Bowl lol continues. It's costing LSU and Alabama almost a million dollars to buy their band tickets for the SEC West title game. Clemson expects to eat 200k in losses for winning the ACC, too.

Michigan's uniforms were named the best in college football by, like, fashion people. WSJ:

Michigan: Of all the traditional uniforms, the Wolverines' maize-and-blue unis earned the highest marks from the panel. (Michigan also wore throwback uniforms this season that received mixed reviews, but our panel didn't evaluate them.)

American fashion designer Marc Ecko especially liked the color weight on the jersey, while graphic artist Josh Vanover praised the "bold, bright colors" and "clean" fonts.

But what really pushed Michigan to the top was its iconic winged helmet, which received near-universal praise for its creativity.

"Anyone that uses it, no matter what color you put it in, it's Michigan," said Anthony Coleman, the managing editor of the fashion and street culture blog SlamxHype. "You can use it, but realize that you're stealing from Michigan."

Maryland also came in for praise for their whatever that was, as did Oregon, so this is not a panel of get-off-my-lawn types. Michigan does their thing so well they don't have to resort to goofy things they've done so far this year.

Basketball had a scare against Bradley. A second-half run finally broke open an uncomfortable game as Michigan put the nonconference schedule (mostly) to bed. Holding the Rope has a holistic overview. Jon Horford's lingering stress fracture forced McLimans on the floor and there were a fair number of "OH COME ON" shots made by the Braves as they isolationed their way to a barrage of shots Kobe Bryant would find difficult. Still… Bradley went out and got annihilated 90-51 by a very good Witchita State team yesterday and the Big Ten is terrifying.

Without Horford it is even more critical for Morgan and Smotrycz to stay out of foul trouble. That is not likely. Michigan cannot drop tonight's game against Penn State. There's zero room for error in the league this year and there is a bright line between 9-9—tourney lock—and 8-10. This game against PSU is just one of seven Michigan has left against teams ranked below them in Kenpom (#143 PSU x2, #69 NW, #122 Iowa, #126 Nebraska, #93 Arkansas).

INSANE SMOTRYCZ SHOOTING UPDATE: 22 of 38 from 3 (58%), fifth nationally in eFG%. Novak is 16th with his 64%/42% shooting.

Etc.: Michigan scores best comeback on Doctor Saturday's year-end list of said comebacks. The Rees fumble that greatly aided that comeback leads off the list of gaffes. Penn State tire fire claims Drake, McGloin, Paul Jones, forces Bolden to start against Houston. Penn State still has no coach.

Comments

Erik_in_Dayton

December 29th, 2011 at 12:35 PM ^

(shakes fist in air - with respect)

I think that the Big Ten-Pac 12 deal is better than adding a 9th Big Ten game.  Reason:

It will increase Big Ten exposure nationally.  These games will draw attention from the paint-huffing apes that run ESPN.  Big Ten teams could schedule these games anyway, but, as Brian notes, Wisconsin doesn't schedule tough non-conference games and PSU only sometimes does.  While I hate to let the ESPNapes dictate Big Ten policy, college football today is a heavily public-relations-influenced sphere.  A Big Ten champ who has already defeated, say, USC (and possibly ND) will be hard to keep out of the national championship game - no matter how hard Gary Danielson whines. 

 

ak47

December 29th, 2011 at 12:38 PM ^

I swear there is no making you happy Brian, we get to play other interesting schools not named notre dame which you have been begging for, its not nuetral site and you are still upset.  I swear sometimes you don't understand the economics of college football.  If we don't have 7 home games the AD doesn't have enough money to add sports or improve facilities and every ann arbor business gets hurt so you get to see alabama in alabama one year rather than central and eastern at home.  Having two solid home and aways would mean less than 7 home games some years and thats not feasible and is honestly stupid for the department, but yes your desires should trump all of that.  Lets also ignore the exposure the conferences talked about increasing our west coast presence.  God get off your high horse and enjoy michigan football at some point.

TheBigAC

December 29th, 2011 at 2:02 PM ^

You say

"Having two solid home and aways would mean less than 7 home games some years"

Thats what we will have with a Pac 12 B1G and M-ND arrangement.

But even having these 2 solid home and away series M will have 7 home games a year.

4 home Big Ten Games

2 Home MACrifices

1 of the 2 home and away series games

4+2+1=7 Home game every year.

ak47

December 29th, 2011 at 3:06 PM ^

First this is not necessarily true, we only have 7 home games this year if the schedule happened to have the away version of our game rather than say air force we would only have six.  Second of all I am assuming we drop nd which should help balance the home away schedule from year to year.  Finnally the current set up has 7 home games one year, 8 the next, the new set up would mean never having 8 which would also hurt overall profitability of the department.  Adding an extra home away series would gaurantee no more than 7 home games on most years and for every year we would get 8 it would mean 6 another year, so yeah, still not feasible.  Also math is not my friend, I really dislike math, but that is another story entirely.

antidaily

December 29th, 2011 at 12:54 PM ^

Pining for another Big Ten game in place of a non-ND out of conference game is like declining an invitation to go back to Kate Upton's apartment to watch an episode of Whitney on your iPad*.

 

*not iPad2.

Needs

December 29th, 2011 at 1:10 PM ^

The competitive equity point is real, though. We stand to face the toughest schedule, year in and year out, of any team in the mostly west division, due to our protected cross-over against Ohio and the seemingly imminent collapse of Penn State. A 9th Big 10 game would level the field somewhat.

 

WolverBean

December 29th, 2011 at 2:11 PM ^

The competitive balance in scheduling issue ultimately comes down to the poor division alignments in the B1G, not to anything that happens in the non-conference. If anything, this arrangement helps increase balance in non-conference scheduling for the whole conference, by forcing teams like Wisconsin to actually play someone with a pulse in September. I understand the argument that if we always play OSU, it would be nice to balance that with a less competitive nonconference schedule. But wouldn't balance in overall scheduling be better achieved by re-adjusting the conference schedule to eliminate silliness like MSU-Indiana permanent rivalries? Besides, at the end of the day, we're permanent rivals with what is historically the toughest opponent in conference that we can play. We should be proud of that, and not use it as an excuse to weaken the rest of our schedule.

M-Wolverine

December 29th, 2011 at 8:15 PM ^

Every year different than having to play them every year without them rotating off our schedule every year for the last forever-years? Heck, OSU got us AND Penn State. It's never been fair. We still managed to win okay.

Budinski

December 29th, 2011 at 12:55 PM ^

I'm not surprised someone would make a replica of the stadium. It's the only way to get any enjoyment out of the place right now with how horrible they were/are. 

MGoShoe

December 29th, 2011 at 12:58 PM ^

...thought, this:

I'd rather have a more balanced conference schedule and more frequently revisited rivalries with the rest of the league than games Michigan could schedule anyway.

Here's the problem with it: Michigan could schedule them anyway, but they wouldn't. So, your point is moot.

Also, this is about valuation of the BTN, the pending PAC-12 Network, and the B1G's football rights deal once the current ABC/ESPN agreement expires.

This is a big deal.

Engin77

December 29th, 2011 at 1:29 PM ^

when Delaney says they're not ruling out the consideration of post-season matchups. I anticipate more Big Ten - Pac-12 matchups between Christmas and New Years night, restoring the Bowl Game to an event to which students, faculty and alums can travel during the holiday period, and not a Jan 3rd through 9th, made-for-TV event. If this diminishes the odds of No1 facing No2 in the final game, or of some kind of playoff, oh well.

funkywolve

December 29th, 2011 at 1:51 PM ^

to be honest the only time the Big 10 plays in a bowl game between Jan 2nd (in the case of this year Jan 3rd)  through the BCS title game is if the Big Ten is in the BCS title game or has gotten an at large BCS berth. 

The Rose Bowl is last on the schedule for the Big Ten's predetermined bowl games. 

 

Engin77

December 29th, 2011 at 2:06 PM ^

but the +1 proposal, and every playoff proposal I've seen which uses the winter break bowls as a first round, wind up extending the college football season deeper into January. This limits travel opportunity for much of the larger University community. This new direction by the Big Ten and Pac12 could offer an alternative for those 24 schools and their supporters.

GoWings2008

December 29th, 2011 at 12:56 PM ^

when hearing about this alliance is the two conferences putting up a bit of a moat around themselves to protect against more of the super-conference trend.  Or maybe I read it somewhere....hard to say, but I have no problem stealing the idea. 

funkywolve

December 29th, 2011 at 1:41 PM ^

I think Brian's point isn't so much about Wisky but rather Iowa, MSU and Nebraska having a protected cross-divisional opponent that annually will probably be much weaker than OSU.

By expanding to 9 conference games, you make it more likely that MSU, Nebraska and Iowa will be playing either OSU or Wisky every year and possibly both in a number of years.  With only 3 cross divisional games, you're more likely to have situations where UM's cross divisional schedule is much more difficult than MSU, Nebraska and Iowa.

Minent Domain

December 29th, 2011 at 1:38 PM ^

Our helmets, having wings, are the best, but it's worth noting as a point of historical accuracy that they weren't Michigan's first... they were Princeton's since 1935, where Fritz Crisler coached prior to Michigan.  Done in orange and black rather than maize and blue, they were supposed to resemble the ears of a tiger. 

Michigan Arrogance

December 29th, 2011 at 2:10 PM ^

IIRC, Spalding manufactured the helmets for many/most teams of the era. They designed the winged pattern of the helmet as a protective feature for the forehead (just an extra layer of leather).

 

Michigan was the 1st to have them paited on the new plastic helmets of the 1950s

French West Indian

December 29th, 2011 at 1:54 PM ^

Because it might be the end of the BCS shenanigans.

What do either the B1G  or Pac12 have to gain by participating in the current BCS arrangement?

Honestly, isn't a traditional New Year's Day (when everybody is watching) Rose Bowl matchup featuring B1G & Pac12 champs fresh off of their respective conference championship game victories more prestigious than the BCS farce of a "national" championship game featuring two teams from the SEC West* played at midnight on a January monday when everybody is either back to work or school?

Don't forget that even with the arrangement that presents the BCS championship game of #1 vs. #2, it is still ultimately the polls who decide who is crowned with the "mythical" national championship title.  And if you remember that it is still up to the polls, then the winner of the Rose Bowl (provieded the BCS has been scrapped) will annually have a very impressive resume.  It might not work out every year (this year for example, I'd imagine voting consensus who easily crown an undefeated LSU as national champ) but a B1G/Pac coalition (with the caveat that they drop the BCS) would give both conferences an increased likelihood of grabbing national titles while also maintaining New Year's day tradition.  That is pretty powerful stuff.  Under present circumstances, the SEC has gamed the system but with B1G and Pac12 working together they run an end around the SEC and game the system themselves.

 

*even if, albeit, they are the two best teams.  The point of a "national" championship game is to offer at least a semblance of national representation.  Otherwise it's really just regional championship and that's exactly what the taxonomy of conferences already offers, i.e., regional champions.  If you look at present circumstances with a clear head, you'll see that calling the winner of the BCS a "national" champion is actually less legitimate than calling the winner of the NIT in basketball a "national" champion.

funkywolve

December 29th, 2011 at 2:31 PM ^

I don't know about that.  If the BCS is dropped it's probably because it's been replaced by some sort of playoff.  In that case if the Big Ten and Pac-10 decide to stay with the Rose Bowl and pass on participating in the playoff they won't win any national titles.

If the Big Ten/Pac-12 drop the BCS but the BCS remains for the other conferences, I could see voting members from the SEC, Big 12, ACC, etc. punishing Big 10 and Pac-12 teams in the polls for leaving the BCS.   

French West Indian

December 29th, 2011 at 3:28 PM ^

I think a fairly balanced playoff system producing an NCAA sanctioned national championship is a very long ways away because of the multitude of politics and structural reforms necessary in a division with 120 teams.  I'd peg the chances of that happening in the next five years or so as something like 5%.

By comparision, I could easily see the B1G & Pac12 picking up their ball and going home from the BCS party.  It's a different direction, certainly, but if could allow them to continue consolidating power and grow their brand with the Rose Bowl and their networks.  I'm guessing the odds of that happening in the next five years or so are something more like 50%.

Also, don't forget that nobody likes the current BCS and that even a perceived step backward towards a more traditional pre-BCS bowl arrangement is probably unlikely to draw much ire from any quarters of the college football world.

funkywolve

December 29th, 2011 at 5:49 PM ^

The system that was in play right before the BCS had the Big 10/Pac-10 heading to the Rose Bowl and an agreement between the other conferences that would pair the #1 and #2 ranked teams in the country playing each (or at least the two highest ranked teams if either #1 or #2 was in the Rose Bowl).  This was called the Bowl Alliance from 1995-1997 and the Bowl Coalition from 1992-1994.

So the pre-BCS bowl arrangement wasn't that much different from the current BCS except that the Big Ten and Pac-10 were not involved.

Engin77

December 29th, 2011 at 3:55 PM ^

its hard to tell what will happen in the future.

Conventional wisdom says that since the BCS was started, then expanded to 5 bowls at the four sites, that the next logical step is a +1 game leading to a playoff. But, this year, the rapid changes in conference alignment, and the discarding of tradional rivalries, may be making it clear to many people that the tail is wagging the dog. Football and Basketball teams may have much more exposure, to the average American, than the rest of the University. But details like "National Championships" are not the primary goals of higher education.

In spite of recent, relatively minimal, expansions, the Big Ten and Pac-12 have historically valued stability and tradition. It's not unthinkable that they might step away from the conventional wisdom I described above.

wakamah

December 29th, 2011 at 11:43 PM ^

 

 

I totally agree with you, French West Indian. I think we should just go back to playing Rose Bowl with B1G and PAC12 and call it a day. There are 3 more schools than pre-BCS days in this now. It is always so nice to see B1G and PACx teams in Rose Bowl.

In terms of the prestige of this arrangement, don't forget about the academics of B1G and PAC12. 11 of B1G and 8 of PAC12 schools are in AAU. That is 19 of 61 AAU schools. Nebraska really needs to get back into AAU. We all know that the playing field in college athletics is not even. I am pretty sure that Rich Rod wanted to keep Marques Slocum if he could...

Also, B1G and PAC12 championship games should be played by 2 top ranking teams instead of the division winners. This will essentially give us 4-team playoff of B1G and PAC12. Unless the division teams play home and away games against all division opponents, division does not mean very much. College football schedule will be always unbalanced.

Only the solution to this is the 8 to 16 team playoff and we all know that this will not happen in near future with these bowl games. I don't think Plus One is not good enough. That's why I think we should just go back to pre-BCS. BCS only works sometimes anyhow.

GO BLUE!

 

Blue boy johnson

December 29th, 2011 at 2:39 PM ^

I think Hoke is sending all kinds of messages to all kinds of people with his "iron man" statement. The man is probably a good poker player.

"(We have) two other seniors up front that are going to play their last college game and their last game for Michigan," Hoke said. "Sometimes, you’ve got to be an iron man."

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

December 29th, 2011 at 2:45 PM ^

Clemson expects to eat 200k in losses for winning the ACC, too.

AGGGHHHHH.  No no no no.  Horrible horrible sloppy-media myth that I CANNOT BELIEVE someone like DocSat, of all people, perpetuated.  I will kill this thing if it takes all year.  Clemson gets $1.75 million from the ACC as an expense allowance.  They expect to spend about $1.9 million on traveling to the bowl.  But people are using those two numbers and only those two and acting as if Clemson is losing money on the deal.

NO, because the expense allowance comes out of the ACC's payout pool, and once those are paid to the bowl-bound teams, THEN the rest of the payout is split 12 ways.  People say this and then put 2 and 2 together all wrong and call it more evidence that going to a bowl loses a school money.  Clemson will make about $2.3 million when all's said and done.  Their actual bowl revenue (pre-trip expense) is much higher than non-bowl teams, because they get the 12-way payout plus the expense allowance.

Besides, let's say it did actually cost Clemson $200K (actual figure cited is $185K, I believe) to win the ACC and go to the Orange Bowl.  Shit, teams spend more than twice that to bring in Toledo.  Sounds like a nice deal to me.

French West Indian

December 29th, 2011 at 3:35 PM ^

...so what if it costs some schools money to go to bowl games?

Isn't the original idea of a bowl to serve as a reward for the student/athletes for a good (hopefully championship) season, a rallying point for alumni and a bit of media exposure for the university?

Why should their be any expectation on making a profit on such an endeavour?

Does anybody go on vacation expecting to come home with more money rather than less?  Probably not.

turd ferguson

December 30th, 2011 at 10:48 AM ^

The problem isn't the PAC-12 agreement - or even the 8-game schedule. It's the protected rivalries. With an 8-game schedule and protected rival, a player who stays for four years won't travel to every Big Ten stadium, a student who goes to every home game for four years won't see every Big Ten team, etc.
<br>The major structural flaw in the Big Ten right now is that Michigan and OSU aren't in the same division. If they fix that, protected inter-division rivals won't be necessary and an 8-game schedule + Pac-12 opponent would work really well.