CHICAGO For the Big Ten, at least for now, eight is enough.
Commissioner Jim Delany said Thursday there is no push for a 9-game Big Ten schedule.
“I think we’re of a unanimous mind to stay at eight games,” Delany said. “I think we’ll try to work with other conferences to figure out ways to enhance schedules in order to allow us to have additional opportunities to demonstrate strength.”
Delany wants to make sure the Big Ten provides a strong candidate every year for the 4-team playoff that starts in 2014.
“The committee is going to have to look with the eye test at conferences,” Delany said. “But it’s also going to have to look at competitive results between conferences, members from conferences, and we think going forward that’s the best way to prepare for the new postseason model.”
Beef up the Big Ten non-conference schedules to impress the selection committee? That may require a nudge or two from the league.
Looking at the non-conference schedule this fall, of the 48 games, just 17 are against BCS Conference (and to be fair Michigan State faces Mountain West power Boise State).
Earlier this summer the Pac-12 decided to dissolve the agreement to play cross-conference games with the Big Ten every year starting in 2017.
That leaves a lot of athletic directors with a lot of chances to “schedule up” as the case may be, in the years ahead.
“Rather than having 36 opportunities, we’ll have 48 opportunities,” Delany said. “I suspect going forward you’re going to see enhanced schedules coming from the Big Ten … especially those universities that are focused on competing for national championships.”
Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said Iowa was willing to roll with either the 9-game schedule, or the Pac-10 agreement.
“I like the idea of bulking up the schedule,” Barta said. “At Iowa, historically, most years we’re trying to get two BCS schools. Iowa State and one other.
“Our scheduling philosophy wouldn’t change.”
Ferentz reflects on Paterno Legacy
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz grew up in Pittsburgh and was a long-time admirer of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno.
Ferentz was asked Thursday how he feels about Paterno, whose legacy has been tarnished by the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
Paterno was fired as the Penn State coach in November and then died in January of lung cancer. He had been with the Penn State program as a head coach and assistant coach for over a half century.
“Really, the only I can say in driving in here last night it puts things in perspective,” Ferentz said. “You come in here and just think about a year ago how everything looked as opposed to how everything looks right now.
“It’s just kind of a life lesson that things really can look very, very different. The whole thing is just one that for me is hard to comprehend. It’s complex as well.”
Iowa will face Penn State in a night game on Oct. 20 at Kinnick Stadium. The Nittany Lions defeated Iowa 13-3 last season.
However, that victory along with every other Penn State victory since 1998 was vacated as part of the NCAA punishment.
“The only two things I know about Penn State right now is that they handled us pretty much with ease last fall and we’re expecting a really tough game with them,” Ferentz said. “I think they’ll come in with a team that will be really focused and well coached in October.”
– Pat Harty
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football