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Big Ten Coaches Aren't Sold on a Nine-Game Conference Schedule

MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 26:  Head coach Bret Bielema of the Wisconsin Badgers talks with the referee against the Michigan State Spartans on September 26, 2009 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
B.Senior Analyst ISeptember 18, 2016

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany might have ruffled a few feathers amongst the coaches with his decisive talk about switching to a nine-game conference schedule.

Delany's idea didn't seem to go over well with the coaches around the league.

"In this conference, a home game is a tremendous advantage," Wisconsin Badger head coach Bret Bielema told the press. "I bet [it] would be a dramatic difference."

Bielema echoed the sentiment of most Big Ten coaches. He reminded that a look at history might be needed. 

"I know one conference that did it is the Pac-10 Conference and they're trying to do everything they can to get out of it."

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel seemed to agree, and pointed out to reporters that it causes an imbalance. An imbalance is created by having half of the teams with five conference home games and the other half with four.

That imbalance might put some of the non-revenue generating sports in trouble, as the football team wouldn’t always be able to schedule eight home games.

Then factor in an impending Big Ten championship game. That also makes scheduling more of a factor in the conference title hopes, giving a distinct advantage to teams with more home games.  

Illinois head coach Ron Zook sided with Bielema and Tressel, and had a point of his own. 

"It's going to cost bowl berths," Zook proclaimed. "It's going to knock teams out of the postseason." 

A nine-game schedule is difficult to understand until divisions are established and rivalries are maintained. Both might make an eight-game conference schedule difficult to salvage. 

One Big Ten coach seemed to be in favor of the potential schedule change, though. 

"I'm definitely in favor," Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster told reporters. "I think competition brings out the best in everybody.

"For us to elevate the status of Minnesota football, we want to play teams that bring value to us. Beating Towson State, to me, that doesn't elevate your program."

Whether the coaches like the change or not, nine-game schedules might be on the horizon.


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