BIG JIM IS GETTING THE GANG TOGETHER. There's a lot of news coming out of the Big Ten meetings in Chicago. The conference will announce future Big Ten schedules Thursday, with new members Maryland and Rutgers included. The conference will expand league games to nine conference games in 2016. Iowa knows for sure they will have Illinois and Wisconsin on their future schedule. The Illini and Badgers will move to the Big Ten West as Maryland and Rutgers will make up the Big Ten East.
THE FUTURE NINE GAME CONFERENCE SLATE LIMITS IOWA'S OPTIONS FOR NON-CONFERENCE GAMES. According to Gary Barta, "We'll (Iowa) have two games to fill every year and they won't be home-and-homes, because I have to have seven home games." Barta says that the rivalry game with Iowa State will remain Iowa's premier BCS league non-conference game. He then adds this:
"It's a good rivalry, it's good for college football, but the unique challenge is they're [Iowa State] not in our conference. Our No. 1 goal is to win the Big Ten Conference and whatever beyond that. But because our in-state rival is there, it's great for the game, it's great for for the state, it just doesn't apply toward that No. 1 goal of winning the Big Ten Conference, which is unique."
WHAT'S NOT ON THE TABLE IS CONFERENCE EXPANSION. Earlier in the year rumors circulated that the Big Ten was considering a few ACC schools to get the league to 16 teams. Those remained just that, rumors. Expansion talk is on the shelf these meetings.
THE BIG TEN BOWL LINEUP IS GETTING A SHAKEUP. According to Scott Dochterman, the Holiday Bowl could pair the Big Ten's third bowl eligible team with the PAC-12's second in 2014. Also new to the lineup, the Pinstripe Bowl in New York City and the Music City Bowl in Nashville.
IOWA BASKETBALL KNOWS THE SINGLE PLAYS FOR NEXT SEASON. Iowa will play Nebraska and Purdue at home and Indiana and Penn State on the road. Nebraska, Purdue and Penn State all finished in the lower half of the Big Ten in 2013. Iowa's schedule will be pretty tough next year.
WHAT ABOUT HOOPS DIVISIONAL PLAY? Fran McCaffery doesn't think that will happen. The exact science to hoops scheduling is still on the table at the meetings.
BARTA WOULDN'T SPECULATE ON JACK DAHM'S JOB. Iowa baseball is (19-27) on the season. Barta says he "won't discuss the future of Iowa baseball coach Jack Dahm until the season is completed."
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