Welcome to 2013. A new year brings about moments of self reflection and resolutions of change. Some attempt to lose weight or quit smoking. Others resolve to read Ulysses or be nicer to children. In this new year, how will the B1G strive to change? Below we take a shot at the Big Ten’s 2013 New Year’s Resolutions.
The B1G Conference resolves to stay out of trouble in 2013. In 2012, the B1G had two teams, Ohio State and Penn State, ineligible for the post season. Penn State is ineligible for post season play until 2016. Both Penn State and Ohio State had winning seasons in 2012 that would have qualified them for respectable bowls. In fact Ohio State (12-0) could have found itself in the National Title game. The ineligibility of the two teams meant the 3rd place Wisconsin Badgers represented the Leaders Division in the B1G Title Game. The Badgers defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the B1G Championship to become the first 5-loss team to play in the Rose Bowl. The B1G should resolve to keep all of its members out of trouble and free from sanctions in 2013.
2. Represent OOC –
The B1G Conference resolves to win more out-of-conference games in 2013. In order to improve the B1G’s image nationally the Conference must do better at the beginning of the season. In 2012, the B1G went 34-14 as a conference losing a number of high profile games such as Michigan vs. Alabama, Michigan State vs. Notre Dame. The B1G’s image also suffered from losing in games where they were heavily favored like Iowa vs. Central Michigan and Wisconsin vs. Oregon State. Only three B1G teams escaped out-of-conference play undefeated; Northwestern, Minnesota, and Ohio State (ineligible for bowl game). In order to improve its national image the B1G must not only be competitive in its high profile 2013 games (Notre Dame at Michigan and BYU at Wisconsin) but the conference must also win the games it should win (B1G vs. MAC or Directional Cupcake University) and have at least half its teams retain undefeated records heading into B1G play in week 5.
In 2013, the B1G Conference resolves to rename its divisions. The Legends and Leaders monikers have not been well received. The initial reaction to the division names was unfavorable. The names are felt to be pretentious, pompous and unbecoming the ingrained humble essence of the midwest. It has been two years and we still don’t like the division names. Jim Delany and the B1G Presidents have invited Rutgers and Maryland into the B1G Conference. Both schools are expected to join the B1G in 2014. Delany is currently devising a plan to integrate the Scarlet Knights and the Terrapins into the conference and in doing so will change the divisions. To what degree the divisions will be rearranged is not known but as long as Delany is tinkering with the divisions he may as well change the division names to something sensible, if uninspired, like B1G East and Big West.
4. Stagger the Bowl Games –
The B1G resolves not to schedule four bowls at the same time. I love B1G Bowls on New Years Day. I am happily glued to my couch cushions all day long watching B1G bowl games on New Year’s Day. However, not every B1G bowl should be on New Years and certainly not four B1G bowl scheduled at the same time. This year the B1G participated in four bowl games that had start times of either 11:00 or 12:00 CT. B1G fans want to watch B1G bowl games. While I understand some overlap having four games at the same time divides up your television audience. The B1G gets money from playing in the bowl games and the bowl games make money by selling advertisements. It would make sense that the bowl games and in turn the B1G would want as broad an audience as it could muster. It is also conceivably important to the B1G programs playing to attract viewership to increase their name recognition and national exposure. What is wrong with playing one of those four bowl games the day before on December 31? You would increase your national exposure, increase your television audience, and possibly increase your bowl revenue. It may be too late fix this bowl situation for 2013 but Delany can correct this oversight for future bowl seasons when he renegotiates the B1G’s bowl deal in 2013.
In 2013, the B1G resolves to become a conference of 16 teams. As mentioned above the B1G added Rutgers and Maryland to the conference in 2012 brining the total number of athletic participating Universities in the B1G to 14. The B1G is not going to stop at 14. 14 teams doesn’t make as much sense as 16 teams. The B1G should rip off the band-aid and complete the super-conference. This might not be the logical move and Jim Delany will not make a move unless he perceives an advantage in moving at that time. But be rest assured the B1G will welcome two more schools into the B1G fold in the near future. Who will those school be? I don’t know. An educated guess would be any large, flag-ship university with a respected educational record, AAU membership in a growing population center and large television market. Popular candidates are Virginia, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina. However, it is all just conjecture until the announcement is made. The only thing we know for sure is the B1G is looking to poach two more schools. We should know more once Maryland’s $50 million exit fee is sorted out with the ACC. Hopefully, that mess get sorted out in 2013 and we know which schools will round out the B16.