This is today’s college football notebook, updated periodically throughout the day. For more up-to-the-minute college football commentary, follow @KevinOnCFB.
Big Ten 2015 schedule released
Wisconsin continues to get the biggest advantage when it comes to Big Ten scheduling. In 2015 the Badgers will not have to play Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State or Michigan State in cross-divisional games. Instead the Badgers get Rutgers and Maryland in back-to-back weeks, followed by a bye week to prepare for Northwestern (and another after that to prep for Minnesota). Wisconsin opens the season with their top two division threats, home vs. Iowa and then at Nebraska, but the rest of the 2015 schedule looks very manageable for the Badgers.
Also of note in the 2015 schedule, Nebraska and Iowa stay on the Friday after Thanksgiving and Maryland will host Penn State in Baltimore instead of College Park. This continues a recent trend for the Terps playing an occasional game in Baltimore. Full 2015 Big Ten schedule.
We should also be expecting some more Big Ten news later today, with an announcement about the Pinstripe Bowl reported to be coming out today. As you may know by now, I love the idea of the Big Ten adding the Pinstripe Bowl, but I hope they have a reputable partner in the game as well.
New safety initiative announced by Pac 12
We will find out more about this new safety initiative announced by the Pac 12 late next month at the Pac 12 media day, but it is hard to find anything bad about a multi-step initiative that attempts to provide for more player safety. You can read the Pac 12 release and some of my commentary on Crystal Ball Run. I applaud any measure that looks to reduce the impact of blows to the head, but I am curious about the reduction in contact in practices. Is that a good thing or not? I think there are some concerns on both sides worth discussing.
Crystal Ball Run opens Sun Belt Conference week
Over on Crystal Ball Run this week we are previewing the Sun Belt Conference. While Bobby Petrino at Western Kentucky will be one of the big stories in 2015, there are some other themes to keep an eye one, including Arkansas State going for a third consecutive outright conference crown with a third different head coach. Here is a look back at the 2012 season, highlighted by Louisiana-Monroe’s wild rally and overtime victory against Arkansas.
Johns Hopkins joins the Big Ten
This is unrelated to college football, but still pretty interesting. The conference is adding men’s and women’s lacrosse as official conference sports starting in the 2014-2015 season, and it will come with the addition of men’s lacrosse powerhouse Johns Hopkins as an associate member. The Big Ten lacrosse field will then include Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers and Johns Hopkins in men’s lacrosse. Northwestern will replace Johns Hopkins for the conference’s women’s lacrosse conference.
Cal wins College Rugby Championship
I covered the 2012 Collegiate Rugby Championships last year but did not have the time to do so again this season. Still, I have become fascinated with the Rugby 7s tournament and extend my congratulations to the Cal Bears for their championship victory over LIFE this weekend.
East Carolina extends Ruffin McNeill’s contract
Last week on the Crystal Ball Run hangout I discussed he idea that this may be a bit of a make-or-break year for East Carolina head coach Ruffin McNeill.
— Kevin McGuire (@KevinOnCFB) June 3, 2013
So much for that.