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UW football: Alvarez not a proponent of playing 9 conference games

2012-07-21T04:55:00Z 2012-07-21T08:59:36Z UW football: Alvarez not a proponent of playing 9 conference gamesANDY BAGGOT | Wisconsin State Journal | abaggot@madison.com | 608-252-6175 madison.com

Two major football scheduling issues are expected to be on the table next week when officials from the Big Ten Conference and member athletic directors meet in Chicago.

University of Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said he expects there will be a vote about the number of Big Ten games — continue playing eight conference opponents or expand to nine — as well as a discussion about aligning with another major conference for non-conference scheduling purposes.

Alvarez is a proponent of staying at eight games because nine would mean playing five Big Ten games on the road every other season.

"Five (road games) and four (home games) could really make a heck of a difference" in the championship race, he said.

During a recent conference call between Big Ten ADs, Alvarez said there was one voice for a 10-game conference football schedule, but Alvarez doesn't think that will be part of the discussion this time around.

"There are some guys who feel very strongly about nine and some feel very strongly about eight," he said.

It was announced last week that a planned scheduling agreement between the Big Ten and the Pac-12 Conference, to begin in 2017, has been scrapped in part because the Pac-12 plays a nine-game football schedule.

Some Pac-12 members took issue with the idea of adding another Bowl Championship Series opponent to the schedule, believing the degree of difficulty is high enough already.

"It didn't surprise me," Alvarez said of the crumbled alliance, "because I could see the point a couple schools were making."

Alvarez said Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has reached out to officials from the Atlantic Coast and Big 12 conferences with the idea of finding a new scheduling partner. Big Ten athletic directors and football coaches could give Delany the go-ahead for such a commitment when they meet in Chicago.

"I'd be all in favor if we could set up some type of agreement," Alvarez said. "I'd love to do that."

The ongoing saga at Penn State will likely be another topic of conversation during the two-day Big Ten football media get-together, but Alvarez declined to address any of the prime particulars.

What happens if the NCAA administers the "death penalty" to Penn State in wake of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse case and subsequent investigative report that suggested a cover-up by Penn State officials?

Does the Big Ten have a contingency plan for football scheduling if the Nittany Lions are removed for a season or more?

What about the statue of Joe Paterno, the late football coach whose role in the apparent cover-up appears prominent? Should it be removed?

Alvarez said the issues of the case will be handled by Delany and Big Ten presidents and chancellors, and won't involve athletic directors.

"As I see it, it appears that the NCAA and our league are sitting there waiting for Penn State to step forward and say, 'This is how we've corrected our situation and this is how we'll move forward,' " Alvarez said.

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(9) Comments

  1. The1000Free
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    The1000Free - July 24, 2012 1:38 pm
    People say, just make schedules harder. Well, it's easier said than done to some degree. Uw has contact multiple SEC schools, such as Alabama, about playing a home-and-home. All of those schools have denied. They're in the same boat as UW. Alabama can't afford to come to Camp Randall one year, on the off-chance that they may actually get beat. Not to mention, schedules must also be created years in the future, which means that just because a team is hot currently (aka: what used to be Penn State), doesn't mean they will be in 4 years.
  2. Maui Jim
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    Maui Jim - July 22, 2012 10:04 am
    Totally agree...to win the conference in years you don't play Mich. or OSU is a hollow championship no matter how you cut it. If you lose but you've played quality teams, so be it, the fans would love to see more than the Wofords, etc. but Barry doesn't give a damn about the fans...unless you've contributed at least 4 figures or more.
  3. Fflambeau
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    Fflambeau - July 21, 2012 10:47 pm
    Trouble with scheduling cupcakes (Barry and Brett's preference) is the new national championship rules which take into consideration strength of schedule. That's why almost all top programs are now strengthening their schedules! UW must do more than just adding BYU. Going to 9 conference games might also give the UW the opportunity to add the likes of Iowa and MSU (now in the other division) to the schedule! That would be fun for fans and good for the bottom line.
  4. Fflambeau
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    Fflambeau - July 21, 2012 10:44 pm
    Truth is, Barry was a good football coach but as an AD he has neither been creative nor innovative. He indicates he wants some kind of pact with another conference but the one with the Pac12 fell apart precisely because they play 9 conference games and the Big 10 only 8. The Big 10 should move in that direction too. Wisconsin might be able to add another protected opponent on an annual basis (like Iowa) with 9 games. That would be great for fans and for football. Moreover, the new makeup of the national championship puts a bigger emphasis on quality of competition. That means Barry and Brett's cupcake strategy is out the door if the UW ever wants to be a national champion in football. We need someone with better ideas at the top.
  5. dvieth
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    dvieth - July 21, 2012 6:15 pm
    Barry will never favor any system where the UW might get only six home games some years. Too much money lost. The cupcakes are easy wins, true, but mainly they have no leverage to get the Badgers to come to their place.
  6. 1440 monroe
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    1440 monroe - July 21, 2012 2:08 pm
    Play everyone in your conference! That's why you're in a conference! The state schools all play one another each year(What a Concept?)! UTEP and Utah State are you kidding me?
  7. mgallo
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    mgallo - July 21, 2012 10:56 am
    As a season ticket holder (at Iowa), I am tired of watching subpar competition so that my team can qualify for a minor bowl. As long as I am paying for my tickets, I'd kind of like to see a competitive game against a conference rival. If Barry and the other A.D.s don't want imbalance, I agree with runrunrun, play 10 conference games. This year, Iowa plays three directional schools, Northern Iowa, Northern Illinois and Central Michigan, as well as Iowa State. Wisconsin has a similar set-up. Drop the patsies and give us our money's worth.
  8. Maui Jim
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    Maui Jim - July 21, 2012 10:40 am
    Barry wants those 4 patsy preseason games, then he only has to win 3 Big 10 games and be bowl eligible, even if it's a second rate bowl. I don't see adding BYU as a "continuation" of efforts to improve the non conference schedule....just throwing a bone to the barking dogs.
  9. Runrunrun
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    Runrunrun - July 21, 2012 9:51 am
    If Barry's worry is the imbalance of a nine game conference schedule then play 10 conference games. The fans would love it and it would represent a endorsement of ROI to season ticket holders and donars plus we'd get to see our long time rivals Iowa, Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State, etc. on a more frequent basis. Adding BYU was a great move, now please either go to nine or 10 games. Remember SOS is part of the forthcoming playoff selection.

    Finally if you calculate in the price of tickets, seat license your football seats cost a minimum of $100 per game. Please add more conference games and continue in your efforts to improve the NC schedule.

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