The Big Ten's latest expansion adds more questions to the future of the Rose Bowl

INDIANAPOLIS — Playing in the Rose Bowl was the pinnacle of a college football career for those who coached and played in the Big Ten for decades.

The importance of the Rose Bowl has been declining for years as the college football postseason has evolved. The Big Ten’s latest expansion casts doubt on the future of the Pac-12, the conference’s longtime Rose Bowl partner, and was another damaging blow to the granddaddy of all bowls.

“You have to adapt,” former Wisconsin coach and athletic director Barry Alvarez said Tuesday at Big Ten media days at Lucas Oil Stadium. “When I came into the league, every kid that played in this league, their vision was to play the Rose Bowl and win the Rose Bowl.

“It’s not the same anymore. It is the PPC. It’s getting into the playoffs.”

The future of the Rose Bowl as an exhibition game, featuring mostly Big Ten and Pac-12 teams on New Year’s Day, was already murky as the College Football Playoff moved toward what seems like an inevitable expansion of the current format. of four teams.

“The Rose Bowl will always be an important part of the Big Ten,” said Alvarez, who now works for the conference as a special adviser to Commissioner Kevin Warren.

Now that the Big Ten have taken over Southern California and UCLA from the Pac-12, it remains to be seen if the West Coast Power Five conference will remain a major part of the Rose Bowl.

“I focus on the Big Ten,” Alvarez said. “When we went through expansion (in the early 2010s), I was very happy to be able to add my alma mater, Nebraska, to our league. I met Nebraska in the Big Eight. There are no big eight. Then things change. You have to go with the flow.”

Warren said playoff talks with the other FBS commissioners will resume in September. Warren maintains that he is a strong advocate for expansion, but was among a group of newer commissioners who stood in the way of early implementation of a 12-team format.

Alvarez said he’s not sure what the best number should be for a tiebreaker, but eight, 12 and 16 would all be intriguing, depending on the specifics of the format.

He also said the Big Ten should be open to considering expanding their own postseason when the league grows to 16 teams with USC and UCLA.

Perhaps a four-team Big Ten tournament instead of just a championship game?

“That’s something you’re going to have to review,” Alvarez said.

After winning the Big Ten West last season, all of the assistant coaches who returned from Iowa received raises.

The smallest raise went to offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, the son of head coach Kirk Ferentz. Brian Ferentz’s salary went from $860,000 to $900,000, according to The Athletic.

The elder Ferentz was asked if the lackluster performance of the offense, tied for 11th in the Big Ten in yards per play (4.67), had something to do with his son’s relatively small raise.

“Not necessarily. I think he’s been compensated very well,” Kirk Ferentz said. “Bottom line … I feel like our people, the numbers, there are reasons for everything we do, and we have private conversations about it. I feel like the Staff salaries reflect levels of experience, contributions to the program.

“As a head coach, it’s important to me that we can keep the guys, retain the guys and hopefully it’s an attractive place for them to work.”

Jim Harbaugh’s return to Michigan after leading the Wolverines to a playoff berth and their first Big Ten title since 2004 was not a success.

Harbaugh interviewed for the Minnesota Vikings head coaching job after the Michigan season and was ultimately not offered the job.

While the former Michigan quarterback is back for his eighth season as head coach, both coordinators from last year’s team are gone.

Mike Macdonald returned to work for Harbaugh’s brother with the Baltimore Ravens as defensive coordinator, and Josh Gattis took a job with Miami as offensive coordinator.

Harbaugh looked to the Ravens for another defensive coordinator. Jesse Minter was defensive coordinator at Vanderbilt last season after spending four seasons with the Ravens. Harbaugh said that when he hired Macdonald before last season, he had also considered Minter, who will run the same system the Wolverines succeeded in last year.

“So I went back and talked to Jesse Minter right after Mike left, and I felt like it was absolutely in the best interest of our team,” Harbaugh said.

To replace Gattis, Harbaugh looked inward and promoted offensive assistants Sherrone Moore and Matt Weiss.

While the scheme might look a lot like last year, who runs the offense is the most intriguing question of the preseason for Michigan. Cade McNamara was QB1 last season with talented freshman JJ McCarthy playing a complementary role off the bench.

There’s no guarantee those roles will stay the same this season, Harbaugh said.

“Cade McNamara is going to be very hard to beat for the starting quarterback job,” Harbaugh said. “JJ McCarthy is going to be very hard to beat for the starting quarterback job.”

Maryland coach Mike Locksley said wide receiver Dontay Demus Jr. was ahead of schedule recovering from a knee injury that cost him more than half of last season.

Demus had 507 yards and three touchdowns in five games before getting injured.

Taulia Tagovailoa and the Terps still managed to have one of the most prolific passing seasons in school history, but getting Demus back on the team with Rakim Jarrett could give Maryland one of the best combos in the Big Ten.

“Really, really impressed with the way he’s come back,” Locksley said of Demus. “We expect him, barring hiccups during training camp, we’ll do a good job of trying to protect him and get him into that opening game, but there’s an expectation that we’ll see Dontay Demus playing in the first game. .”

The Terps open the season at home against Buffalo on September 3.

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After helping Minnesota win nine games in 2019, offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca left Minnesota for Penn State. He was fired after one season with the Nittany Lions.

Now, after spending last season in West Virginia, the 56-year-old has reunited with the Golden Gophers — and much of the supporting cast that helped deliver nine wins in 2019.

Quarterback Tanner Morgan and running back Mohamed Ibrahim return for their sixth season, and coach PJ Fleck believes getting the band back together could lead to another big season in 2022.

Fleck is not alone.

“Kirk wanted to know how that would affect the kids, and I wanted to know how that would affect the kids,” Fleck said, calling the rehire an easy decision. “I said, of course, you may have to answer some questions at the first team meeting, but that will be easy after the first five minutes, and he did. I know we’re excited to have it. Tanner is very excited to have him.”

Morgan threw for 3,253 yards and 30 touchdowns, both career highs, and had just seven interceptions in 2019. Ibrahim rushed for a career-best 1,160 yards in 2018, also with Ciarrocca.

AP sportswriter Mike Marot contributed.

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