After the last 12 months, Gene Smith is more than happy to talk about actual football.
Rise and shine, friends. Here's what's going down in the Big Ten today.
- The Big Ten is sending out a message to the rest of college football: SOS! Which is to say, Strength of Schedule—what'd you think we meant? Anyway, Michigan State AD Mark Hollis wants strength of schedule to play into even minor bowl selection, and Ohio State AD Gene Smith thinks it needs to be a major factor in the BCS Playoff selection process.
Smith's interest in the SOS factor may be just a bit self-serving, considering Ohio State's long-standing tradition of scheduling tough non-conference foes. But just because it's selfish doesn't mean it's wrong; there needs to be some incentive to playing tough non-conference games, otherwise you get four home cupcakes a year and you call yourself the SEC.
- Nebraska landed a verbal from Greg Hart, a 3-star tight end, late on Wednesday. Hart hails from Kettering, Ohio, and he's an interesting prospect; he's rangy and can cover a lot of ground, but as yet he doesn't play as physically as one would hope from a 6'5", 225-pound prospect. Highlights are here.
- In an interview with PennLive.com, Tom Lemming says Penn State's recruiting presence has expanded under Bill O'Brien. Lemming notes that PSU is starting to work Illinois, Florida and Texas with more regularity, signaling a shift from the days when Penn State could recruit the Northeast almost exclusively. This is wise; the days of being able to recruit Penn State, D.C. and Ohio all the way to a championship are over, and frankly, they've been over for quite a while.
- Per the Lansing State Journal, Jim Delany is experimenting with conditional ticket and hotel sales for the 2012 Big Ten Championship Game after Nebraska fans with prematurely high expectations bought nearly 20,000 tickets to the game in 2011. Nebraska, of course, did not end up going to Indianapolis.
It's a neat concept and potentially groundbreaking in terms of limiting secondary ticket sales, but it can turn into a logistical nightmare in a hurry. Hopefully Lucas Oil Stadium and the Big Ten can figure this one out.