Unverified Voracity Recoils From Zombie Horror

Submitted by Brian on May 21st, 2009 at 2:06 PM

It will not die. Big Ten meetings have just gone down, causing a minor deluge of weird content. It's time for the annual fruitless discussion of a ninth conference game:

"We talk about that at every meeting," said Michigan athletic director Bill Martin, who added that the drive for nine is getting more support. "As the guarantees [for nonconference games] go up and up and up and the fans want to play our sister institutions in the conference, to me it's a no-brainer. Play 'em."

Martin has been leading the charge on this since it came up, FWIW, which is an indication the athletic department is not happy with the current state nonconference scheduling. So there's that.

This discussion is such a zombie that I mentioned it "would not die" the last time it came up; I still fail to see how the league can get away with having one team play only eight conference games while everyone else has nine. This haphazard system was the best I could do in February:

All league schedules are set just like they are now with the exception of one particular week. This week is kept clear until the previous season ends. The last place team in the league gets matched with a pre-arranged MAC opponent. They probably wouldn't mind, as they would have an easier path to bowl eligibility.

At this point you have ten teams in two groups:

  • 2 teams not scheduled to play the last-place team.
  • 8 teams with the last place team on the schedule.

The group of two have one and only one available option for their ninth game and get matched up with that option. The other six (or eight) teams get randomly matched up with one of the two teams they miss, with an emphasis on 1) variety and 2) fairly balancing home and away.

At that point you're hoping there are no worst-to-first miracles, which is an uncomfortable spot to be in. Would that work? I kind of think it might. I have doubts you could get enough schools on board to get it approved.

More interesting and more plausible. The Big Ten has talked about moving up the window during which you can go on official visits:

Zook and several of his Big Ten colleagues are discussing whether football recruits should be allowed to take official visits during June or even May of their junior years. Recruits currently cannot make official visits until after the first day of classes during their senior year.

"What's happening is these kids are making a lot of unofficial visits, which they're having to pay for," Zook said Wednesday. "Some of them quite frankly can't afford it. So you're helping that way as well."

I'm on board with this; who cares when an official visit is, within reason? It would help the Big Ten recruit distant prospects: last year LA WR Kenny Bell seemed interested in Michigan and planned a visit that fell through because his family couldn't afford it. He ended up signing with LSU. Also, I'd rather bring a kid from sweltering August mosquito death into a pleasant Michigan summer than go from pleasant southern winter to 20 and snowy.

Maybe that's why Rittenberg mentions other conferences' desire to shove officials all the way back to December, which what?

Yes, they can read. Unless you're a South Florida fan, and even then most of them can read. Wisconsin just got hit with a decommit from spectacularly-named safety Vander Blue. The predictable result:

“Just to see how these so-called Wisconsin fans, what they had to say on those blogs,” he said, “it really made me second-guess: Do people really want me here?

“Because I know if I was a fan and I heard about a recruit I’d be more like: ‘What can we do to help him? And not: ‘Let’s make him feel like the worst person in Madison right now.’"

Point for Blue. Also I'm willing to bet 99% of the flaming came from Scout/Rivals/newspaper message boards and not blogs simply because there is no Wisconsin blog of note. The SBNation blog—which I guess is the closest thing—has a grand total of zero comments on three Blue stories.

Ah, Ann Arbor. Now this… this is a missed connection. Via Misopogon on the board:

Originally Posted: Sun, 1 Mar 03:26 EST
The Streaker Tripper - m4w
Date: 2009-03-01, 3:26AM EST

I was streaking through the Diag Friday night at 2:15 am. Coming around the corner of State and Liberty, fast as a naked blur, I bumped into you and we both fell to the ground. I was a little upset with you at first, cuz I scratched my right butt cheek pretty bad, but I knew it was my fault. You said, "Nice New Balances," And all I could say was, "Thanks," with the adrenaline still rushing. In less awkward circumstances, I would have liked to talk to you. I had never run into a girl that fast or naked before... I didn't know how to respond so I helped you up quickly and kept running. Since my friends paid me $100 for making it to Kerrytown with just my socks, shoes, and a big smile, I'd like to take you on a date. You looked pretty fit so maybe you'd like to go for a run sometime. Hit me up! Bye!

* Location: Corner State+Lib
* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

As the OP states: please, no discussion of current or former defensive linemen.

Etc.: Deadspin on Dr. Z; Rodriguez interview from the Big Ten meetings.



May 21st, 2009 at 4:01 PM ^

Penn State leaves the B10 and joins the Big East. Geographically it's a better fit for them. That gets us back to 10 teams, and with the 12-game schedule everybody can play a round-robin of nine games and still fit in three non-conf. games.


May 21st, 2009 at 6:54 PM ^

Worked out pretty poorly for No. 1 ranked Michigan.
Lost at Wisconsin, vs. Iowa and vs. OSU but beat the snot out of the UCLA Bruins.

Navy and Notre Stain were the Non-Conf. opponents.

I think Ohio State got the shaft that year in that Iowa and OSU only played 8 conf. games.

1981 was a brutal year in that 5 of the 10 teams had 6 wins. Iowa and OSU were 6-2, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois were 6-3. Hawkeyes went to the Rose Bowl.

Since Big Ten does not have a conf. title game, a round robin schedule like the PAC-10 is the most thorough way to determine a conf. champion.


May 22nd, 2009 at 12:21 AM ^

The downside, of course, of more conference games is that you end up with more losses in-conference. Games scheduled against D-IAA or MAC schools are 80-90 percent wins for the conference, meaning more bowl bids and higher rankings all around at the end. Convert those games to head-to-heads and the Big Ten is guaranteed to win only 50 percent.

There's a big difference for the conference in a 7-5 Minnesota with 4 non-conf weaklings on the schedule versus a 6-6 Minnesota with 3 non-conf weaklings. Now imagine the top of the conference: rather than Mich and Penn State finishing 10-2 each, now one of them is 9-3.

So there is zero incentive (Brian covered the $$$ side for big programs inviting D-IAA cupcakes) for ONE conference to do this.

But what if they all did?

I wish every conference would just go to 9 (Pac10) or 10 (Big Ten) or 11 (rest) games. Play everyone, every year. There's room for the Big Ten to schedule Notre Dame or a local MAC team or a loose Pac10 team, plus everyone still gets an out-of-conference rivalry or one tune-up game they could play against anyone they want. That, at least, would help justify why the BCS can keep the other conferences out. It would also create greater separation, as the field would be forced to play itself more often. Stats 101 (or 402 at Michigan): the greater the sample, the better the results.

[email protected]

May 22nd, 2009 at 9:24 AM ^

This won't work, because it works.

1) All BCS conferences go to 12 teams.

2) Conference "divisions" and conference championship games are dropped.

3) Everyone goes to a 13-game schedule and plays a true round-robin.

4) Add a preseason game up front against a DIAA tomato can and charge full price for it.

If everyone starts and stops on the same week, this fits without pushing anything back. The current BCS system, as it exists right now, becomes ten times more legitimate under my proposed schedule. Teams still get their tune-up, the little schools still get some love, there's still room for ND/USC, and conferences are conferences again. ADs still get at least 7 (and as many as 9) home games.

As far as the preseason game goes, people already pay $70/seat to watch NFL starters play one series; those same people people will gladly pay $50/seat to watch college starters play one half.

Ty @ The Lions in Winter

Michigan Arrogance

May 22nd, 2009 at 10:36 AM ^

Penn State adds alot to the Big Ten; they have a huge fanbase on the east coast which gets big ten games on TV throughout the northeast. Drop Michigan State; they'd add alot to the MAC.