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Posted on Tue, May 17, 2011 : 2:40 p.m.

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon wants a 9-game Big Ten Conference football schedule sooner rather than later

By Michael Rothstein

CHICAGO — Among the topics up for discussion at this week’s Big Ten spring meetings is whether or not the league will go to a nine-game conference football schedule.

At least one athletic director, Dave Brandon, wants to see it happen.

“I wish it could happen sooner because I believe it is a positive thing,” Brandon said while at a meeting of league athletic directors. “Fans love to see conference competition, and you have so many great rivalries and traditions and histories around Big Ten football.

“The more we get to play, the better.”


Dave Brandon.

Since the Big Ten went to 12 teams and moved into two six-team divisions, the topic of more conference games has been a hot one. It would create potentially more revenue for the league and give the conference’s main TV affiliate, the Big Ten Network, potentially more games.

One of the biggest issues surrounding the schedule movement is existing contracts. Many Big Ten teams already have non-conference games scheduled out into 2015 or 2016 — which makes Brandon think it is unlikely the league would move to nine games that quickly.

“I fully recognize the complexities of trying to change those schedules once those contracts have been signed and commitments have been made,” Brandon said. “So the practical reality is we’re going to have to wait a period of years until we can make a transition.”

The next possible year would be 2017 — six years away.

“There’s pros and cons going both ways,” Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said. “Obviously any time you can play more games within a conference like the Big Ten, there are positives to that. It creates great games for the fans, great games for the student-athletes.

“I have some concerns and reservations with nine games on equity in the championship race, five versus four home games. You look at this year, three teams tied for the championship and each one lost a game on the road.”

As far as that championship game — future sites are also in the discussion over the next two days.

Brandon said he doesn’t have a strong feeling about where the game is played. Detroit is one of the cities considered, however he thinks it is better that those decisions are primarily made by the Big Ten office.

This year’s title game — the first in Big Ten football history — is at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

“Well, I love Detroit, but that’s one of the reasons we have a conference office, because they can approach this a lot more objectively and directly with competing cities,” Brandon said. “Detroit’s always been mentioned as one of the possibilities, but the conference office really has to drive this process because we all have conflicted ideas where we’d like to see it go.”

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by email at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein



Wed, May 18, 2011 : 10:55 a.m.

Don in AZ, says illogic is me; Wait a few years, Then we'll see, we shall see. To bash the spread, You need a lead head. Spread wins Crystal, No more needs to be said. Now to pro set we go; Some say it's like Bo. But Bo ran option, The Spread of long ago. Will we win? Not so sure. If we don't, Spread's the cure! And I'll just take a brief moment to welcome the newest members of the MCC (inducted last night at Dooley's Bar next to Lamplighter): D21 and meangoblue. Congrats, boys!


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 2:17 p.m.

"To bash the spread, You need a lead head." By standards, that's "hate speech" :-) "Now to pro set we go; Some say it's like Bo. But Bo ran option, The Spread of long ago." Ah, so now I see your game. Your definition of "spread" is whatever you want it to be at whatever moment you're making whatever argument you're making. Bo's "spread" had one wide out, two tight ends tucked up close to the guards, a halfback and a fullback. I can still hear Bob Ufer's call -- "Two tight ends and a balanced line, Huckleby deep and Davis close ... Ricky Leach under center." "Under center?" By earlier posts of yours that should indicate a "pro set." Because that's all Hoke/Borges have indicated changes with Denard Robinson -- more of an "under center" approach than shotgun. A more balanced running attack. Better use of the tight ends. Gosh, if Bo=Spread then clearly Hoke=Spread as well. Do you recall that from grade school? If A=B and B=C then A=C? Oh, and here's an interesting fact -- go back to the 2006 Florida BCS "crystal" team you find something *VERY* interesting -- "only" the 19th best offense nationally, but ... hey, lookey here ... the 6th best defense. What?!! Defense? That's irrelevant, isn't it? That's the dirty secret, isn't it -- the "spread" can't win without a good defense. Trading scores is no way to "crystal."


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 9:08 a.m.

Don and umtailgater, True, TCU would have held UM to 7 pts or under if RR were still the coach.


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 2:28 a.m.

So I was poking around my favorite college football stats website (<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> and I discovered some interesting things about Hoke at SDSU in 2010: o 19th rated scoring offense o 48th rated rushing offense o 11th rated passing offense o 16th rated total offense And here's the icing on the cake -- of all the teams the #1 defense in the country (TCU) faced, SDSU put up the most points (35). If that's &quot;3 yards and a cloud of dust&quot; ... then I LIKE IT.


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 3:16 a.m.

I love when peoples opinions are based on statistics and facts. Great job DonAz. We are in good hands.


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 2:44 a.m.

Oh, and he has a super-marquis DC in Greg Mattison. You think all those DEs, DTs and LBs see Mattison there and think about Baltimore's defense? You think those recruits aren't salivating at the thought of busting their arses for Mattison and Hoke to prove they're worthy of that kind of comparison?


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 2:41 a.m.

Oh, and a search of the recruiting commitment list for SDSU in 2007, 2008 and 2009 shows a bunch of 2 and 3 star players. No marquis players. It was SDSU for heaven's sake ... with USC up the street sucking up top level recruits like a Dyson vacuum. What does this say? It says Hoke knows how to develop talent and get the most out of each. Now he's HC at a recognized premier school. What do we see? A good run of 4-stars and others unranked right now but likely solid 3-stars. Umm ... do ya think the talent development skills at SDSU are still present? Ya think? Once again -- with feeling -- &quot;We are in good hands.&quot;


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 11:53 p.m.

Brandon forgot to mention another proposal: Each of the 12 Big Ten teams are to schedule a game against any team coached by RR on a yearly basis if applicable. Theo 212, does that work 4 you? GO BLUE!


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 9:12 a.m.

Yes about the WVU defense. RR did a great job in repeatedly pointing out the cupboard being bare (UM) instead of zipping up his lips and coaching em up.


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 2:12 a.m.

Hey, too be fair RR had a decent-enough team at WVU during the 2007 season. Oh, wait ... they had a DEFENSE. Who was the DC? Oh yeah, Jeff Casteel. From Wikipedia -- &quot;When former head coach Rich Rodriguez departed West Virginia University, before their Fiesta Bowl matchup against the University of Oklahoma, to accept the head coaching job at the University of Michigan, Casteel originally followed Rodriguez. But after interim head coach Bill Stewart was promoted to head coach after the 48-28 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl, Casteel decided to stay at West Virginia. For the 2008 season, Casteel and the new defensive staff helped the young Mountaineers defense to a #1 redzone defense national ranking, a #11 scoring defense national ranking, a #11 4th down defensive national ranking, and a #16 passing efficiency defense national ranking.[4] These Top 20 ranking were despite starting a true freshman at safety, Robert Sands, and the loss of all-conference linebacker Reed Williams to a medical redshirt.&quot; Ah ... do ya think maybe -- just maybe -- the secret to the RR teams at WVU was that they had a defense that held the opponent and got the ball back?


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 11:52 p.m.

If you run the spread with speed all over the place, then you win. It's that simple. And you need to nourish your speed and your swashbucklery. You can't cut down the tree after such a short spell. So, here's the answer: Recruit speed, win, then it doesn't matter if you play 9 or 90 league games. (Mike, please start writing more articles about Our King).


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 9:14 a.m.

DonAZ, Theo212 is being Theo212 as he actually is Hoke's biggest fan.


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 1:49 a.m.

That is so illogical a thing to write that I'm now starting to believe you write that stuff about the spread just to stir arguments; that you don't really believe a word of it.

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 11:42 p.m.

'Mick52'...agreed, in a perfect world we'd play ALLl11. Let the champion, BE the champion! Nobody dodges anyone. And I know what you are saying 'Cutty240', but way back when, when Penn State came in, a lot of folks thought they'd dominate the league...and they have not! I think it'll be the same for the Neb-sters...all blow, and no go! But back on the subject, I think one, or maybe two, non-cons, is more than enough.


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 10:06 p.m.

I thinks this hurts the league when it comes to BCS Bowl games.Because of the lack of Good Teams you play.Last years Bowl Games was Great example.Now Ohio State runs is all but over.If the cornhuskers come in a win it the first year.The Big Ten is in Trouble.I'm sure Delany didn't bring them in to win it all the first year.


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 9:36 p.m.

Ok, I have the solution for the 5/4 home and away problem. Very simply for every other year one division gets 5 home games and the other gets 4. That way it's fair for each division within their competitive balance. Again all Legends teams get 5 home games and Leaders get 4 Then, the next season Leaders get 5 and Legends 4 home games. That would make it fair for each team going up against their divisional foes. You're trying to make it to the championship game within your own division, so if all are playing the same amount of conference home/away games, no one should complain.

Buster W.

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 8:53 p.m.

Hollis: "I have some concerns and reservations with nine games on equity in the championship race, ...&quot; HUH?!?! What does Hollis know about equity in the championship race? No one avoids OSU and Wisconsin like MSU.


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 12:09 a.m.

Well said. You just got my vote.


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 8:48 p.m.

Nine? I want eleven. I like all teams playing all teams. Always have felt it dumb that all teams do not play all others. Big benefit to MSU last year not have to play OSU. And now we get Nebraska. Call me a traditionalist, I prefer the Big Ten. Didn't care much for Penn State joining either. They would have been a better fit in the Big East conference.


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 12:03 a.m.

Right on dude, we don't need no glorified cupcakes like Florida, Bama, Texas etc.,. mucking up However, better make it 10 teams with OSU getting the SMU death penalty. The SEC with the exception of Vandy can go the &quot;Longest Yard&quot; route with other prisons.

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 8:46 p.m.

Soper...I guess the PAC ten is remiss for playing a 'round robin'. If they can do it so can the Big Ten, er 12, er big whatever. Sunset brings up some great alternatives. Again, Hollis needs to 'buckel it up'...or, maybe MSU should leave the league. Waahh, wahhh, wahhh.......


Tue, May 17, 2011 : 8:45 p.m.

Just what the Big 10 need, is to have teams come to Detroit and not have their fans show up. No one from Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin or Even Ann Arbor would want to trudge around Detroit and walk all over the place to Ford Field. Except OSU, feels like home to them, and tattoo parlors take barter in Detwa.


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 2:54 a.m.

I know Detroit's not for everybody, but..... I'd go, if I could. It's hard to make it home now from Seattle these days with $600 plane tickets.

Macabre Sunset

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 8:32 p.m.

Having nine conference games increases strength of schedule, which, in turn, greatly increases computer rankings. If we want our champion in the NCG, it's the best way to go. I think this should be done as close to immediately as possible. Many of these deals getting in the way are with I-AA teams, and buying out the contract or moving the game back a couple of years could be done very cheaply. This would also open up the opportunity of playing more neutral-site conference games, which helps recruiting. Imagine Penn State and Michigan signing a two-year deal to play in the Meadowlands. Big crowd, more exposure for the schools and the league, give the teams involved a bonus tv payout to compensate for the extra travel and losing a home game.

Mike Soper

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 8:11 p.m.

Nice shot at Hollis there Lorain, but it's also about losing a home game overall during those seasons. When athletic depts. are already having a hard time making ends meet on 7 home games what will happen with 6 games? I know one thing that will increase, my season tickets to help off-set the loss of that home game. Also the BIG TEN will be at a disadvantage against the other conferences in regards to getting into the national championship game. I am quite sure the SEC has no plans to increase their conf. games, and neither should we. Terrible idea.


Wed, May 18, 2011 : 12:07 a.m.

Fret not Soper cuz by 2017, the Big Ten will start playing 14 game regular seasons. Mark my words!

David Vande Bunte

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 8:07 p.m.

Or keep it simpler. You alternate. If you play 5 home/4 away this year, next year you get 4 home/5 away, repeat.

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, May 17, 2011 : 7:43 p.m.

I agree with Brandon on more league games, SOONER rather than later! Leave it to Hollis to whine about the 4 vs 5 home game situations. Hey, if that's a concern, then just go to 10 league games. 5 and 5, home and away. The sooner the league faces this, the sooner that schools like UM can lock down their non-conference rivalry games, eg, UM-ND, Ill-Missouri, and OSU-Youngstown St.