By Ricardo Ramirez (Twitter:@Rick_Ramirex)
On Thursday, July 18 and Friday, July 19, the 48th edition of the “Big Ten Football Kickoff Luncheon and Media Days” were held at the Hilton Hotel on South Michigan Avenue in Chicago, an event presenting the 2019 Football season of the Big Ten Conference. This event was attended by 27 student-athletes representing their respective Universities.
One of the topics that grabbed the most attention is that the Big Tem has not been present in the “College Football Playoffs” in the last 2 seasons. Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern expressed openly that he would like to extend the postseason to 8 teams, as there are 5 “big conferences” (ACC, Big10, BigXII, PAC12 and SEC) plus independents. Thus, the 5 conference champions, Notre Dame, and 2 wild cards would make it (Georgia and Ohio state last season are a great example). James Franklin of Penn State commented: “I think minimum, we have to discuss the issue of expanding the postseason. All teams play nine games within their same conference, mathematically, you will have more lost games than won.”
Another of the rumors that circulated in the halls of the Hilton is the need to realign the conference divisions. Mark Dantonio Head Coach of the Michigan State Spartans commented: “The changes are inevitable, eventually something will happen and at that time I will worry. This rumor is that the East Division (Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State) It is much stronger than that of the West (Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin).
Finally transparency; all coaches at the Big 10 conference asked for transparency when asked about the ‘transfer portal’ or how college football players transfer easily from one team to another in recent years, especially when it comes to immediate eligibility, for example Luke Ford, tight end from Illinois (who transferred from Georgia to be close to his grandmother) who has to wait a year to play, Lovie Smith told us.
Kirk Ferentz head Coach of Iowa says he understands how this portal works, it is clear and to the point, the part that has him dismayed is who decides which player will play immediately and who does not. What is clear to Coach Ferentz is: “Like everything we do in college football, the scoop of these types of decisions must be based on doing our best to help the student-athletes.”