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Previewing the Big Ten in the 2010s

What are we supposed to call the new decade? The twenty-teens? Anyway, the Big Ten will be playing football in the next 10 years -- unless I didn't get the memo -- and we can expect some changes and new developments in the league.

Here are 10 things to look out for in the Big Ten during the upcoming decade, in no particular order.

1. The Big Ten will expand: There's a good chance the league's most recent expansion push, announced in December, will result in a new member or members. And even if it doesn't, expect some type of expansion to take place before 2020. A Big Ten championship game in football will be a huge success for the league.

2. A new coach at Penn State: No one thought Joe Paterno would still be coaching at age 83, and who's to say he won't be roaming the sidelines at Beaver Stadium in 2020. But the odds are the Lead Lion will step down at some point this decade, taking the all-time coaching victories record with him. Needless to say, it'll be an extremely tough act to follow.

3. A new Big Ten commissioner: Jim Delany's current contract runs through June 2013, and it's likely he'll step down at that point. Last summer, Delany told me, "I'll be here for the next five years or so. That's my horizon." Expect the Big Ten to be looking for a new lead administrator for the first time since 1989.

4. Two national titles: It hasn't happened since the 1970s, but the SEC's reign has to end sometime, and the Big Ten remains in a strong position to reach the national title game on a consistent basis. Jim Tressel wins another title before retirement, and another Big Ten team, possibly Michigan, sits atop the college football world.

5. An intraleague head-coaching change: It happens in other leagues (SEC, ACC, Pac-10) and has taken place before in the Big Ten, though not for a while. This will be the decade we'll see a Big Ten head coach jump to another post within the league. Regional recruiting knowledge is so vital in this day and age, and schools will look within the league to fill vacancies.

6. Jim Tressel will be named Big Ten Coach of the Year: The Vest has done everything else at Ohio State but win a Big Ten Coach of the Year award. He'll get one this decade before leaving his post sometime before 2020. It might take a mini drop-off for the Buckeyes followed by a surprise title run, but Tressel will finally be recognized.

7. Michigan State will improve: Despite a rough year on and off the field in 2009, Michigan State is still positioned well to boost its standing in the Big Ten. Improved local recruiting and an excellent new facility will help the Spartans finally reach their potential and compete for a few Big Ten titles.

8. Iowa will win a Rose Bowl: It hasn't happened since 1959, but the Hawkeyes will go to Pasadena and win a game before 2020. Hanging onto head coach Kirk Ferentz will continue to be a challenge, but before he leaves for the NFL, Iowa will win a Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl championship.

9. Bob Stoops will return to the Big Ten: Stoops has a few more years left at Oklahoma, but he'll eventually return to his native Midwest. If Tressel retires at Ohio State, Stoops will be one of the leading candidates there, and he also might go back to his alma mater, Iowa, should Ferentz bolt to the NFL.

10. The Big Ten will play a Thursday conference game: The Big Ten has resisted weekday games more than any other leagues, but things will change in the 2010s. The potential for national exposure will be too great to pass up, and the Big Ten will schedule a league game or two on Thursdays.