Pac-10 vs. Big Ten: An Idea for Kicking Off College Football Openers
With less than a month to go before most campuses are buzzing with college football practices, I ran across Adam Rose's Los Angeles Times blog
, which expands on an article by Jerry Green of Detroit News
. They present an interesting idea to showcase opening games with nearly all the Pac-10 and Big Ten teams, and do so in annual head-to-head competition. Television networks have already featured games of college basketball teams from differing conferences in a similar fashion, so why not football? Plus, it would (sort of) keep the Pac-10/Big Ten tradition alive, even if it's not at a particular bowl game in Pasadena.
In his blog, Rose has the top team finishers (from last year) playing each other, second place teams playing each other, and so on. With the Big Ten fielding eleven teams, however, this model has the bottom team (Minnesota) scrambling to find a suitable replacement, in a short period of time. That task of filling a hole in the schedule could prove to be difficult.
According to Rose and Green, here's what the 2008 openers would look like:
USC vs. Ohio State
Arizona State vs. Illinois
Oregon State vs. Michigan
Oregon vs. Wisconsin
UCLA vs. Penn State
Arizona vs. Iowa
California vs. Purdue
Washington State vs. Indiana
Stanford vs. Michigan State
Washington vs. Northwestern
I like the idea, and I think it would get fans from both conferences interested and jabbering at each other early (and often), from the end of the previous bowl season, until the next season arrives. Compared to some openers that Top 25 teams actually play, these Pac-10/Big Ten games would be easy for networks to market, and have broad, nationwide appeal.
To demonstrate, here are my strong "must see" choices for college football openers around the country for Week 1 in 2008:
(Exactly. I can't think of any. If you can, plead your case.)
Now, for the some real stinkers (I'll stick to the Top 25 mostly):
Villanova at West Virginia – would be great… if it were basketball
Youngstown State at Ohio State – gas consumption won't be a big factor for fans
Georgia Southern at Georgia – not fair, but they can dream like Appalachian State
Florida Atlantic at Texas – NEXT
Chattanooga at Oklahoma – Come on….
Appalachian State at LSU – No upset this time
Florida International at Kansas – Nope
Louisiana-Monroe at Auburn – Monroe might hang for a while, but that's it
Idaho State at Boise State – Not too terribly long ago, this would've been a game
Northern Arizona at Arizona State – NAU should stand for NEC (Not even close)
Although college football's arrival is exciting regardless of the schedule, I would love to see out-of-conference rivalries get started with this idea. And, it would heighten everyone's senses, as well as each team's strength of schedule. One can only hope this idea keeps rolling along (and mentioned to the conference commissioners) in the future.