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Expansion in Big Ten's future?

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Gazette wire services
July 28, 2009
— The question was simple. But Minnesota football coach Tim Brewster took it and ran with it.

Brewster was taking his turn answering questions at the Big Ten Conference media days. A couple of coaches, particularly Illinois’ Ron Zook, suggested it might be a good idea for the Big Ten to follow his lead and push their schedule into early December.


Such a move would diminish the down time conference teams have between the end of the regular season and the bowl games, which might keep those teams sharper for postseason appearances. Much of the talk Monday centered around what would make the Big Ten more competitive in bowls—particularly in the BCS. The conference is 0-6 in BCS bowl games the past two seasons.


Brewster endorsed Zook’s idea, then took it a little further.


“I think playing into the month of December would help us,” Brewster said. “I look forward to the day when we add a team and we split the divisions and we play for a (conference) championship on national TV on a Saturday night in December!


“I mean, how good would that be for this conference, for the exposure of this conference?” Brewster continued. “I think we’re missing a little something there by not having that.”


Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said university presidents—not coaches—ultimately would have the final say on conference expansion.


BCS tweaking gives greater access to Rose Bowl

Some tweaking to the Bowl Championship Series rules gives greater access to the Rose Bowl to teams outside the six conferences with automatic BCS bids—such as Utah.


“Under certain circumstances, they can play their way into the Rose Bowl, which hasn’t been true in the past,” Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said Monday at Big Ten media day. “That’s additional access. Standards have been, I think, lightened to access the BCS.”


The Big Ten and Pacific-10 champions are contractually bound to play in the Rose Bowl unless one of those teams qualifies for the national championship game.


Starting with the 2010 season and running through the 2013 season, the first time the Rose Bowl loses one of its conference champions and a team from one of the non-automatic qualifying leagues earns a BCS bid, the Rose Bowl must take that team.


Since the BCS was implemented in 1998, a team from a conference outside the automatic qualifying leagues has never played in the Rose Bowl.


The Big Ten, Big East, Big 12, Atlantic Coast Conference, Southeastern Conference and Pac-10 champions receive automatic bids to the five BCS games.


The champions from the Mountain West Conference—where Utah plays—Western Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Sun Belt and Mid-American Conference do not get automatic entry into the big-money BCS games, but can play their way in. The Utes, Hawaii and Boise State from the WAC have done that in recent years.


Etc.

-- Penn State coach Joe Paterno said it was “ridiculous” the NCAA opted to vacate some Florida State victories because of rules violations. Paterno and FSU coach Bobby Bowden are battling for the career lead in Division I victories.


-- Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi said he is still working to fill the remaining two slots in his 2010 schedule. He said he’s been close, only to have other schools back out.


“I’m not panicking about it, but I’m getting nervous,” Maturi said. “We hope to get this solved in the next couple weeks.”



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