Top 25 Coaches Poll, 9-Game B1G Slate Starting in 2017

A few big pieces of information to pass along on this Thursday afternoon. First of all, the Big Ten will go to a 9-game league schedule starting with the 2017 season.

Per the Big Ten press release:
Park Ridge, Ill. – The Big Ten announced today that conference football programs will move to a nine-game Big Ten schedule beginning with the 2017 season.

Three teams each from the Legends Division and Leaders Division will feature five conference home games during odd-numbered years, while the other three schools from each division will host five conference contests during even-numbered years. The 2017 schedule will include five conference home outings for Iowa, Michigan State and Nebraska from the Legends Division and Illinois, Indiana and Ohio State from the Leaders Division. The 2018 schedule will feature five Big Ten home games for Michigan, Minnesota and Northwestern of the Legends Division and Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin of the Leaders Division.

The Big Ten will return to a full nine-game conference schedule for the first time since the 1983 and 1984 seasons. Eight of 10 conference schools played nine-game schedules during the 1981 and 1982 seasons, while two of 10 teams featured nine-game schedules from 1971-72 and 1977-80.

The 116th season of Big Ten football kicks off with prime time home games for the defending Big Ten co-Champions, with Wisconsin hosting UNLV on Thursday, Sept. 1, and Michigan State facing Youngstown State on Friday, Sept. 2. The conference’s remaining 10 teams open action on Saturday, Sept. 3, including Nebraska’s first official game as a member of the Big Ten. Conference play will begin on Saturday, Oct. 1, and will feature divisional play for the first time. The champions of each division will meet on Saturday, Dec. 3, in the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and televised by FOX Sports. The winner of the title game will earn the Big Ten Championship and a chance to play in either the Rose Bowl Game or Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game.
I will admit that while the new 9-game league schedule will add a bit of complexity when it comes to the rotating 5 and 4 game home league games a year, I like it because it will add Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana or Purdue to the schedule and probably eliminate Eastern Michigan or the another MAC equivalent game.

As you know, last week Dave Brandon came out and said this...
"I don't believe we can or should go on the road for nonconference games when we can put 113,000 people in our stadium.  It's, financially, the right thing to do. It's the right thing to do for our fans, in terms of their ticket packages. And we're going to alternate with Notre Dame, so we're going to have one game on the road every other year. So the rest of those games, I would like to have at Michigan Stadium."
That's all fine and great if you're happy with Toledo or EMU or an FCS school on the schedule until the end of eternity...which I'm not. Frankly, I'm all for doing things the right way in terms of being financially responsible, but not when it takes away a possibly exceptional home-and-home contests such as Texas, USC, Arkansas, etc. Don't try and sell this idea as it being the best thing for the fans. Its not. Ticket packages be damned. We've never had a tough time filling the stadium before...and if you bring in Florida State or Oregon, we won't have a tough time filling it then either.

Not a fan.

Also worth noting is that the Notre Dame game is a road game for us on even years...exactly the same years we'll be heading on the road for 5 league games. Further proof, if you even needed any, that playing Notre Dame every year is bad for everyone...except Notre Dame.

Also released today is the top 25 coaches poll [HT: DetNews].
1. Oklahoma (12-2)
2. Alabama (10-3)
3. Oregon (12-1)
4. LSU (11-2)
5. Florida State (10-4)
6. Stanford (12-1)
7. Boise State (12-1)
8. Oklahoma State (11-2)
9. Texas A&M (9-4)
10. Wisconsin (11-2)
Other schools of note for Michigan fans, Nebraska is #11, Ohio State #16, MSU #17, Notre Dame #18, Penn State #25. Also worth noting is Auburn at #19...which is probably the lowest I've ever seen a defending national title team ranked. Also, Texas at #24 is proof that the Longhorn brand still carries water...but the real question is whether any of their 4 QBs carry any :/

1 comment

  1. Dave Brandon has been causing a lot of uproars by assuming he knows what the fans want, hmm? Yeah, I'm not really a fan of the whole "we shan't play any non-conference games anywhere but the Big House" largely because I live in California and a home-and-home with USC would be great. Besides, national away games (i.e. non bowl games) give alumni a chance to come out and support the Blue. I think it's wrong to assume every Michigan fan or alumnus lives within driving distance to Ann Arbor.

    Another thing: Brandon's refusal to budge on the home thing is going to make scheduling anyone difficult after a while. Even MAC teams want the home-and-home for the same reasons (i.e. $). Only Western and Eastern seem fine with going away because their "stadiums" don't get much of a crowd anyway. And you can bet Ron English will make sure that this year will be the last time Eastern plays Michigan. If he really wants to get more numbers in the win column, and we all know he does, then scheduling Michigan is the least possible way to do that.

    A nine-game conference schedule should make things a little better for Michigan, since it'll add another game of Big Ten play. And don't let anyone fool you, the Big Ten is a tough conference, esp. with the addition of Nebraska. Sure, it might not be as tough as the SEC these days, but assuming the other Big Ten teams get their act together (I'm looking at YOU, Minnesota! Be NC Contenders like the days of old, dammit!), it will be plenty tough.

    I just wish Brandon wasn't so opposed to the idea of a home and home with Florida. Because it would be so awesome and would generate more revenue than he'd know what to do with.