Big Ten mailblog

What's on your mind today? Looks like the E-word.

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Red from Minneapolis writes: Love the blog, Adam. Help a die-hard Gopher out...with all this talk of expansion to a super-conference, (at least) one thing is really bothering me. In any theoretical where the Big 10 goes to divisions, protecting Minnesota's (or Indiana's or Purdue's) interests will be at best secondary to making sure Michigan, OSU, PSU, Notre Dame/Texas/Nebraska et al are happy. I'm not seeing many plausible scenarios where we keep all of our rivals, especially considering OSU and Michigan would likely end up together in most realignment scenarios. So my question for you is, will I ever see the Little Brown Jug again? The quality of my week depends on your answer.

Adam Rittenberg: Jim Delany said Sunday that rivalries remain an integral part of the Big Ten, and he doesn't want to sacrifice them through expansion. That said, Minnesota and Michigan already go through two-year stretches without playing one another (we're in one right now). I would hope that whatever happens, Big Ten teams wouldn't go more than four years without playing one another. You would really lose the intimacy of a league, already more than we already do. I think it's unrealistic for Minnesota fans to expect to face all of the Gophers' rivals on an annual basis, but I'd expect the annual Wisconsin and Iowa series to remain intact no matter what happens with the Big Ten.

Dan from Harrisburg, Pa., writes: Adam,One question I have yet to get answered by any source: What if some sort of expansion happens to the Big Ten or Pac-10 before the 2010 College Football Season kicks off? Are the conferences going to stay intact for the 2010 season no matter what, or will we see some kind of immediate schedule reshuffling?

Adam Rittenberg: Dan, I'd be stunned if the current conferences didn't stay intact for at least the 2010 season, if not the 2011 season as well. There has been too much planned in advance that couldn't be changed this late in the game. I go back to Penn State and the Big Ten. Penn State was admitted in the league in 1990 but didn't start competing in football until the 1993 season. Boston College joined the ACC in October 2003 but didn't start competing until the 2005 season. So you wouldn't see the reshuffling take place until 2011 at the earliest.

Jay from Ann Arbor, Mich., writes: The [Demar] Dorsey situation is going to end up further supporting the perception that Michigan is simply another major college football program that the new AD established when he thumbed his nose at the NCAA by not adequately addressing the five major infractions committed by Michigan if he is admitted as a student. That is not a perception [Dave] Brandon, or the University can afford heading into the August NCAA hearing given that the NCAA clearly showed some leniency in the five allegations. They could have been charged with more severe violations and weren't. Given the public scrutiny regarding this program, I think cooler heads will prevail and deny him admittance. Any thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg: I don't see how denying a player who met the NCAA's academic standards to play football impacts how the NCAA views Michigan. The Dorsey case is more about Michigan, its academic standards for football and how lenient it will be toward Rich Rodriguez entering a pivotal season. I'm hearing that Rodriguez and his coaches are fighting hard to get Dorsey admitted. How will the admissions office respond? You could be right and Dorsey gets denied and plays elsewhere, but I don't think Michigan has to worry about how the NCAA views the situation because Dorsey meets the NCAA's qualifications to play.

Alex from Chicago writes: The Texas legislature appears likely to demand that any Pac-10 coup include Baylor, which would likely leave Colorado out of the new Pac-16. Do you think there is any chance the Big Ten would give the Buffaloes a look? Colorado has a solid academic profile, a major football program, and an a great rivalry with Nebraska, a likely Big Ten addition in this scenario. Plus, Denver is a major market that would allow the Big Ten to drop an anchor in the Mountain West and compete with the newly expanded Pac-16. The travel times wouldn't be easy, but the trip from Columbus to Boulder isn't that much longer than the trip from Columbus to Austin. What do you think?

Adam Rittenberg: Some interesting points here. There's a chance the Big Ten would consider Colorado, but I don't know if the league is willing to extend its borders so far for a school that carries a few risks. Colorado's athletic department isn't exactly swimming in money right now, and the football program has declined in recent years. My sense is that if the Big Ten extends its borders in a major way, it needs to be for a school that has major potential to help the league. Texas certainly does this, but other schools in the South do not. Rutgers has potential because of its location near the New York market. Could the Denver market really help the Big Ten? Perhaps. I also doubt the Big Ten would consider Colorado without definitely bringing in Nebraska as well.

Eric from NYC writes: Adam, Help set me straight, because I seem to be a little confused. It seems that the Big 10 keeps talking about Rutgers because of its proximity to NYC. No one in the northeast watches Rutgers that avidly? Wouldn't Cincy be a better fit? Your talking about a program that has become the cream of the BE crop (that yearly beats the snot out of Rutgers), provides much better travel then Rutgers, and gives you better rivalries (Pitt if added, Iowa, Michigan State, and most importantly Ohio State). All Cincy seems to be lacking is money, which the Big 10 seems to have an abundance of. Help me out!

Adam Rittenberg: A few things here, Eric. Rutgers is located in a much larger market and has the potential to add much more revenue for the Big Ten. Here's how: the Big Ten gets its already-strong product on local cable in New York, bringing in a ton of money in subscriptions. Rutgers is the local hook, but the interest comes from being able to watch Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and others on a regular basis. Rutgers is merely a reason to be in that region. As far as Cincinnati, the school's academic profile just doesn't meet the Big Ten's standards for new membership. Academics will play a major role in this, whether people want to believe it or not. Cincinnati has a strong football program in a football-crazy state, but the school isn't the right fit for the Big Ten.

Paul from Pittsburgh writes: Adam,I enjoy reading all the ESPN blogs on College Football because I am totally addicted to following the pending shift/consolidation in the conferences. My question to you is this, "What will happen in the ESPN blogosphere if the Big Ten, Pac 10, and SEC swallow up the Big 12, Big East. Will Ubben and Bennett be carrying your helmet?

Adam Rittenberg: They already do, Paul. Just kidding, guys. As to your question, we'll have to wait and see ...