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Big Ten Talk: Title Game Bidding & Recon

August 17, 2010

Written by Jon Miller

Hawkeye Nation

News and notes from around the Big Ten Conference as it relates to the 2010 football season, Iowa’s opponents & More…

The Big Ten is going to make some serious bank when it holds its first annual football title game in 15 months.  Just how much? How about $20 million, with ESPN and Fox leading the way for the bidding war, according to this article.  My bet is on ESPN/ABC, with the Saturday night of Championship Weekend being available in 2011 since the Big 12 won’t have a title game any longer.  Prime time on ABC..tough to beat.  Then again, Fox doesn’t want to keep losing these bidding wars for college football broadcasting property to ESPN, like they did when they helped bid up the ACC’s new deal earlier this summer.  They could throw such a crazy number out there that it becomes a loss leader for them..they also own 49% of the Big Ten Network.  If they make a bold play and get this game, it could make one wonder about the bidding war that could ensue for Big Ten football the next time the league’s ABC/ESPN contract comes up for bid.  That contract expires in 2016 and by then, who knows what Fox’s sports offerings could look like and they will be further along in their relationship with the league through the BTN.

One more part of the article I love; Commish Jim Delany could ask ESPN to pony up more money for the Big Ten’s regular season games, since they are adding a 12th member in Nebraska…nice.

Big Ten II: Lane Grindle is a media member that covers the Nebraska Cornhuskers.  He aired interviews with Big Ten Commish Jim Delany and Nebraska AD Tom Osborne on Tuesday night, and he posted the following to twitter (@lanegrindle):

-“Jim Delany tells me that a 9-game schedule likely wouldn’t be implemented until 2015.”
-“Delany says that if you apply the principals in determining divisions…it’s hard to see a straight East-West split.”

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With regards to the geography, you can pretty much write off any divisional speculation that includes Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State in the same division.  I still think there is logic with Michigan and Ohio State being in one division with Penn State and Nebraska in the other, but I will no longer be shocked if PSU and OSU are in an eastern division, with Michigan and Nebraska in a western division.  Of course, Iowa would be in the western division, too.  I’d be fine with that.

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Michigan:  Troy Woolfolk, their top defensive back and starting corner, went down in practice on Tuesday with a lower leg injury.  In an ESPN tweet, his father Butch said it was a dislocated ankle with possible ligament damage.  Then this tweet from ESPN:  “Woolfolk’s high school coach tells colleague @schadjoe that Troy has dislocated ankle, broken bone in leg. Injury likely season ending.”

They suffered a blow in secondary depth last week when a redshirt freshman transfered out of the program.  My friend and radio partner Steve Deace is a huge Michigan fan.  His reaction to me when learning of this was that the Rich Rodriquez era was over…while that was probably a bit of emotion coming out in him from being a Michigan fan not used to so much losing an attrition and off field drama, Michigan’s defense has put up back to back seasons that are among the worst in the program’s illustrious history.

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My thought is this; Michigan needed its offense to average more than 30 points per game to bounce back off the mat in the first place.  The defense probably wasn’t going to be in the upper half of the league, and that has a lot to do with the style of offense they run.  Still, if Woolfolk is out for an extended period of time, it could create some problems when they travel to Notre Dame to face Brian Kelly’s passing attack.  If they lose in South Bend, that could start them down a slippery slope.  Experienced thrower Kirk Cousins of Michigan State could pick that secondary apart, too, the week before Iowa visits Ann Arbor.  IF they lose those two games, the Hawkeyes could be facing an opponent that is already defeated before the opening kick, as they will know their coach is likely playing out the string.

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