So the Big Ten is going to a nine-game conference schedule, beginning in 2017 as expected. This raises a few major questions.
Will the league be better off with nine conference games? Surely another league matchup will create excitement and anticipation (not to mention excellent inventory for the Big Ten Network), but it also means six more losses for Big Ten teams, which could keep some schools out of bowl games.
Will this discourage teams from scheduling ambitious nonconference games, knowing they have to get as many home dates and wins as possible? If you're Michigan, Michigan State or Purdue, for example, you now only have the flexibility to schedule two games per year because of the Notre Dame series. Why take a risk in those other two games?
Does this help the SEC increase its stranglehold on the BCS title? Think about it. By 2017, the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12 will all be playing nine-game conference schedules, and Pac-12 and Big Ten teams also have navigate a championship game. SEC teams will only have eight league games and a title game. Sure, SEC fans love to proclaim that nothing compares to the grind of their league schedule. But now those same teams can schedule one more win, which could be huge in the BCS selection process. (Of course, if teams from other leagues want to shut the SEC up, they first need to beat them in the BCS).
There are other issues to ponder, such as the advantage that will be gained for teams who get five conference home games in a given year compared to four, and how another inter-divisional game could lead to unbalanced schedules.
But for now, we want to know what you think. Is the nine-game schedule a good or bad idea? Vote in the poll below, and send whatever other questions or concerns to either Adam or me and we'll tackle them in future mailbags.