Link – Here’s why Illinois, not Northwestern, has brutal Big Ten East crossover games in the future

This is a side-effect of conference conglomeration.

“The Big Ten on Wednesday released its football schedules for 2022-25, and not every fan base is thrilled with the division crossover games.

Take Illinois. The Illini appear to be have been dealt 2-7 against a pair of aces. They will face Penn State four times, Michigan and Michigan State twice and the following teams once: Ohio State, Maryland, Indiana and Rutgers.

Northwestern, meanwhile, gets Maryland four times, Ohio State and Indiana twice and Penn State, Rutgers, Michigan and Michigan State once.”

It’s simple. The more teams your conference has, the more each of those teams is not playing against equal competition. The Big Ten has seen this with Wisconsin over the last few years, who have a very good team, but the much easier road to winning their division than anyone in the East, assisted by not playing Ohio State, for example.

When the conference had 10 teams and 8 conference games, the team you didn’t play could have some effect on the conference championship. When it went to 11, 12 and then 14, that effect only grew. The more unbalanced the schedule becomes the more likely someone is going to win a conference championship without really having to face the toughest teams in their conference.

And unless you want to play 26 game seasons, and play everyone home and home, that’s just the way it is. It will never really be fair.

Playoff Chaos Again, But Will Ohio State Lose Out?

Field View from Press BoxAfter yesterdays losses by 3 of the top 4 teams in the College Football Playoff rankings, things are pretty much a mess. As it stands right now, we have unbeaten Alabama, and everyone else.

Which, is kind of what we thought we had, but with 3 other Big 5 conference teams also undefeated, the playoff picture seemed pretty simple. Now, it’s really not.

Given Ohio State’s 5th place ranking before yesterday, I’ve seen a lot of Buckeye fans celebrating, but I wouldn’t be so sure. Yes, this week OSU should get into the top 4, but can they stay there?

First, obviously, they have to beat Michigan State and Michigan.

Then, things get interesting. Unless Penn State somehow loses to either Rutgers or Michigan State, they will win the Eastern Division. They will go on to play in the Big ten Championship game, while Ohio State sits around waiting to see what happens.

Here’s the challenge. There has not yet been a team in the final four that did not win it’s conference, and for Ohio State to become the first, they need to be clearly better than two of the conference champs, and every other one-loss team.

That could be a problem.

  • Let’s assume one spot goes to Alabama.
  • Let’s also assume a one-loss Clemson wins the ACC and gets a spot.
  • Out West, if Washington wins the PAC12 with one loss? I think they’re golden.
  • In the Big 12, any of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State (2 losees each), or West Virginia (1 loss) could win it.
  • In the Big 10, Penn State may wind up playing 2 loss Wisconsin for the title.
  • Louisville could also be sitting out there with one loss.

Are you so sure the committee will still see Ohio State as one of the top four?

If Penn State wins the conference, I think they get in over OSU, they won the conference and beat them head to head. In that case, I think 11-2 beats 11-1. Wisconsin would be a tougher call, does the committee value winning the conference, or OSU’s OT win over Wisconsin? Either way, I’m not feeling super confident that OSU gets in over the winner of their own conference.

That means OSU has to be clearly better than the PAC12 and Big12 winners, and hope the committee values their SOS more than Louisville, who may only have a close loss to another playoff team on it’s resume, just like Ohio State would if PSU wins the conference and gets into the playoff.

If you’re a Buckeye fan, here’s what you’re rooting for:

  • A Louisville loss to Houston, or a Clemson loss in the ACC championship.
  • Washington State or USC to win the PAC12. Preferably as a 3 loss team!
  • Oklahoma to win the Big!2 – That early, dominate, win in Norman would be hard for the committee to ignore.

See how much simpler the path to the playoff was before Michigan lost? We can’t ever count on them… 😉

Do you think OSU gets in? How do you think this will play out over the next three weeks?

Wisconsin Recruit to Take Leave for Depression

I have to give a lot of credit to Jaden Gault for having the courage to get help for his depression and putting off playing football for Wisconsin while he does so. Not only is seeking help as a young make a difficult thing to do, but in the macho culture of college football, where plenty of kids wind up playing through injury and illness “for the good of the team”, it’s good to have a kid and a coaching staff recognize that there are bigger things than football.

Here’ hoping Jaden is back playing again soon, but more important, here’s hoping for a heatlhy and happy kid.


H/T to College Football Talk at NBCSports for the story!