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  1. #1

    Is a Big Ten championship in the works?

    Is a Big Ten championship in the works?
    Donald Wagner

    CHICAGO — Everyone has an opinion on whether or not the Big Ten should hold a conference championship. The opening session of the Big Ten’s media day Wednesday proved that.

    With the newly-expanded ACC petitioning the NCAA recently for the right to hold a conference title game with just 11 teams, most everyone rolled into the Windy City wondering what that might mean for the Big Ten.

    But while the merits of a conference title game were addressed by almost all of the coaches here, the tenor of their arguments varied.

    Some, like Ohio State’s Jim Tressel, were surprisingly indifferent.

    “I don’t have much of an opinion on it,” he said.

    As of right now nothing has been put together and until something is, Penn State’s Joe Paterno won’t pass judgment on whether or not it’s a good idea.

    All he said was, “[A conference championship] is difficult when you have 11 teams.”

    Tressel’s indifference aside, most of the conference coaches were not in favor of having a conference title game.

    While all acknowledged that it would mean a profit for the league (between $10-15 million according to conference commissioner Jim Delaney) most did not think it was worth the cost.

    Wisconsin’s Barry Alvarez said one of the problems of a championship is that for the losing team, some of the luster would be taken away from its bowl game.

    One of the few proponents of a conference championship was Northwestern’s Randy Walker who said the excitement generated by such a game was reason enough to have it.

    “A Big Ten playoff game would be a huge event,” he said. “The positives would far outweigh the negatives.”

    A championship wasn’t the only thing on the coach’s minds Wednesday. So too were the recent rash of off-field missteps by several of their brethren and the impact those mistakes have had on their profession.

    “I think there is more scrutiny on college coaches now and there probably should be because we are influencing a lot of young people,” said Illinois’ Ron Turner. “Helping make them better is part of the job and because of that there is more responsibility on us and that’s something we accept when we accept this position.”

    One coach who has felt the heat lately is Tressel. His program came under scrutiny after a story in the New York Times revealed that sophomore star running back Maurice Clarett walked out of a mid-term last fall only to make it up it later orally, a privilege not afforded any other students in the class.

    The report also leveled allegations of other special academic help for student-athletes. Asked Wednesday if he wanted to refute any parts of the Times’ story, Tressel said he hadn’t even read it.

    “I think we would all like the discussions about who we are to be on a positive side,” he said. “But on the other hand you have to be realistic that if someone says you aren’t doing this very well then you’d better look into it and see if you are doing it well.

    “Coaches and the academic sector really need to be separate by design. I don’t call the faculty members and tell them what to do. I feel our role as coaches is to make sure our young people understand the importance of academics. As I look in the mirror maybe I need to do a better job of making sure we keep pounding and pounding the importance of academics and doing things right.”

    Not surprisingly the folks at the Big Ten quickly put the kibosh on any and all questions concerning the Buckeyes’ academic woes. After Tressel answered a follow-up question on the subject, moderator Mike Mahoney from Northwestern University said, “We’ll take one more question, please keep it to football related questions.”


    • Delaney said that the conference will hold a press conference in approximately two weeks to discuss the findings of its comprehensive review of its officiating, which was requested by Penn State last season.

    • Thanks to inclement weather, Purdue coach Joe Tiller didn’t arrive in Chicago until 5 a.m. Wednesday morning. Standing in front of the media at 9:30 a.m., Tiller said, “Damn, it’s nice to see you.”

    • One coach who didn’t travel to Chicago was Minnesota’s Glen Mason, who stayed in Minneapolis to undergo Achilles tendon surgery. In his place was Gophers’ co-offensive coordinator Mitch Browning, who said that Mason will begin the season on crutches and wearing a protective boot.

    • The conference’s media members voted Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin as their preseason top three. They also picked Clarett as the conference’s preseason Offensive Player of the Year and Michigan senior cornerback Marlin Jackson as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

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  3. #2
    Won't happen... at least with 11 teams. The NCAA will strike down the ACC request because there will be no stop and conferences with 10, 9, 8, etc teams will say well how come 11 is okay but 10 isn't?

  4. #3
    It's no big deal, we pretty much already have one at the end of the season. It's called Michigan-OSU!

    And i got a feeling they will change the championship game rules, to keep teams from leaving confresses like Miami and VTech did.

  5. #4
    Like I said before, I really don't think they will. The 12 team rule has been in place for a while and like I said if you change it to 11, then you got to change it for 10, and then you got to change it for 9... and so on. They won't change it.

  6. #5
    tigers#1 dont count out illinois this year

  7. #6
    Originally posted by zitourlacherfan
    tigers#1 dont count out illinois this year
    Illinois? I've barley heard of anyone on this team, and they're one of those Big 11 teams that are always in the middle of the confrence. Never great but never bad. Plus, i don't think anyone can compete with Michigan, or Ohio State this year, even in the deepest confrence in the country. Purdue's a distant third, than it's everyone else. But i could be wrong.

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