Big Ten Friday mailblog

By Adam Rittenberg July, 23, 2010

Pat from Columbus, Ohio, writes: Adam -- Love the blog. Help me settle a bet...Does the Big Ten still have a "rule" regarding night games after November 1st? I recall last year teams were not allowed to play night games after November 1.

Adam Rittenberg: Pat, the Big Ten has a contractual provision with its teams and its TV partners regarding night games played after Nov. 1. Unless both teams and the TV partner agree to play a night game and do it far enough in advance -- the prime-time football schedule is typically finalized in mid April -- the game won't kick off after 3:30 p.m. ET. Penn State and Ohio State talked about playing last year's game (on Nov. 7) at night, but an agreement wasn't finalized in time. Check out my piece on November night games from this spring for more information. Basically, night games after Nov. 1 are possible, but unlikely.

Bob from Scranton, Pa., writes: Why is everyone so worried about PSU's recruiting? They have had the top or one of the top recruiting classes in the Big Ten for the last 5 years. With approximately 17 scholarships available, they are taking their time. By the end of the month, I would not be surprised to see several Big time recruits commit to PSU. Paterno knows what he is doing.

Adam Rittenberg: Bob, I like your attitude toward this, but a lot of fans have a hard time being patient about recruiting. And I understand their anxiety as well, especially when teams like Texas, Ohio State and Florida State are racking up top recruits. Heck, even Indiana is pretty much done with 2010 recruiting, and it's only July 22. Penn State's recruiting has been very good for a while after a dip in the early part of the 2000s. This won't be a huge class and might not be as highly rated as the 2010 crop, but I have faith that Joe Paterno's staff will get it done. That said, the longer this goes without Penn State landing a few big-time verbal commits, the more anxious Nittany Lions fans will get.

Dan from Columbus, Ohio, writes: With regards to the Rose Bowl tie-in to a non-BCS school, what happens if the Big Ten/Pac10 send somebody to the Championship game but there are no non-BCS schools eligible for the BCS? Can the Rose Bowl take a non-Big Ten/Pac10 team from another BCS conference? If a non-BCS school isn't eligible does the rule roll over for another year or is that their only shot and they just didn't have somebody eligible?

Adam Rittenberg: Good questions, Dan. If no non-BCS team is eligible for the Rose Bowl, the game can select an eligible team from a BCS league. In this case, you'll almost certainly see a Big Ten-Pac-10 matchup in the Rose Bowl because those leagues typically have enough BCS-eligible teams (read: Illinois in 2007). I can't see the Rose Bowl going away from the Big Ten-Pac-10 pairing unless there are no teams available for selection. Regarding your second question, a rollover would go into effect, but keep in mind that this access change can only happen once during the upcoming BCS cycles (2010-13 seasons). So if Rose Bowl is required to select Boise State this season, it fulfills the new BCS policy and wouldn't have to do it again until at least 2014. But if no non-BCS team is available in 2010, the Rose Bowl would have to select one in 2011 if a team is eligible.

Kevin from Columbus, Ohio, writes: Adam, first thing's first, I think it's brilliant how ESPN set up a blog for each of the BCS conferences. Secondly, I was wondering if I could get your thoughts on what it would be like if Big Ten revenue sharing was like Big 12 revenue sharing over the past decade (excluding the Big Ten network)? How far ahead/behind would some programs be financially, in facilities, in recruiting? And thirdly, isn't Big Ten revenue sharing a better situation for Nebraska to be moving into compared to what it's leaving? Thank you.

Adam Rittenberg: Kevin, some of the Big Ten's bigger programs might have benefited from a Big 12-like model, where the rich get richer, but overall the league would have undoubtedly suffered. The Big Ten's model is ideal because it allows every school to share evenly in what has become the nation's largest revenue pie. The fact that Ohio State and Michigan are willing to share evenly with Northwestern and Indiana helps prevent situations like the one this summer in the Big 12. Look at the recent facilities improvements we've seen in the Big Ten. Almost every school has upgraded their football stadium -- in Minnesota's case, built a new one -- or updated their football training and practice facilities. Indiana has become a more attractive program, and so has Michigan with an incredible indoor facility and a renovated Michigan Stadium. So the model has benefited everyone, and it'll definitely be a better situation for Nebraska, which would always be looking up at Texas in the Big 12.

Jason from Chicago writes: MSU has not been a bad or flaky team in October, or November, in recent years. 6-3 and 4-2 respectively the last two years(13-9 combine under Dantonio). You keep banging on this "MSU in October" drum that was true for John L. Smith, who was fired four years ago. Other media members do this as well, it's old, lazy, and has nothing to do with the current team and regime, let it go. Here are the quotes I'm speaking of from the last few days:"It's never easy to forecast what Michigan State will do during October, a rough month for the program in recent years." "We've seen Michigan State fall apart in October after strong starts."

Adam Rittenberg: Jason, I understand you're tired of it, but you're acting like Michigan State's problems in October are ancient history. I'll give you the 2008 season, where Michigan State had only one October loss, albeit a sobering 45-7 shellacking at the hands of Ohio State. But in 2007, Dantonio's first year, the team went 1-3 in October, with all three losses by seven points. Last season, Michigan State started October with three wins, but in a game where the team really could have turned the corner against Iowa, it lost on the final play. A week later, Michigan State drops a bizarre game on Halloween night at Minnesota. You can't tell me the Iowa game wasn't the critical juncture for Michigan State, and it took place in October. Maybe I'm simplifying things a bit by confining things to one month, but the Spartans' track record of starting fast and then stumbling midway through the season is still very much relevant. Look at the schedule this year and Michigan State should be 4-0 in September, with Notre Dame as the only real test. Things then get a lot harder -- and more revealing -- in October.