Jim Delany: Big Ten should have 9-game conference schedule

Part of the reason I thought an eight game conference schedule for the Pac-12 was attractive stemmed from the fact that every other conference with a divisional alignment had one. There had to have been a reason -- even though I couldn't put my finger on exactly why -- that the Big 12, SEC, Mid-American conference, and ACC all chose eight game slates.

Larry Scott and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany both appear to be going against the grain, with Delany outwardly advocating a nine game schedule at the Big Ten media day.

The push for adding a ninth game to the Big Ten Conference football schedule received an influential nudge Monday afternoon.

"I think that would be really helpful to us," commissioner Jim Delany told reporters. "I think there's a consensus among our athletic directors to do that.

"We can't do that in the next year or two, but I'm hopeful we can make some progress in years three and four. Hopefully, it's not more than that." 

Jim Delany is a smart man. He's lead the Big Ten in a period where the conference -- and the schools within -- have  become incredibly lucrative. The Big Ten Network was brilliant and his subtle moves toward expansion started the wheels turning for the rest of the conference. If he's pushing for a nine game schedule, maybe there's something to it.

Maybe the newly expanded conferences -- the Pac-10 and Big Ten -- are being progressive in their thinking and giving the fans what they want.

We detailed the scheduling debate here, and much of this still rings true. After having time to reflect, the "beating up on each other" aspect comes into play more for fringe bowl teams than teams vying for the BCS. Pleasing everyone in the conference -- and preserving rivalries -- will also be impossible with an 8 game schedule, but at least plausible with nine.

For WSU, the priority should be placed into gaining equal revenue sharing, an alignment that works, and then deciding an eight or nine game schedule. I've realized lately that the number of conference games is small in the scheme of the other decisions. If we can walk out of the meetings with equal footing and an alignment that keeps the Northwest schools intact, the decision about conference games becomes a small issue.

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