-What if the Big Ten does decide it needs a 12th member school to stage a lucrative conference championship game? Notre Dame values its football independence above all else. Syracuse football is in free fall, and its basketball program has strong ties to the Big East. Beyond that there aren't many obvious logical candidates. And nothing is imminent. But here's an interesting hypothetical that came out of New Jersey from columnist Steve Politi of The Star-Ledger, The Official Newspaper of Tony Soprano:
"If the Scarlet Knights prove they can win the Big East, if they finish the stadium expansion and keep selling out the stadium, then they can start mapping their exit strategy.
Big Ten officials insist they're not looking at expansion, but they need a 12th team to create a championship game. Rutgers, a large state institution in the shadow of the New York market, has plenty in common with the flagship schools in the Midwest conference."
-Vanderbilt defensive end Josh Jelesky, a Naperville Central graduate, is using his freshman season as a redshirt. That's not a huge surprise - coach Bobby Johnson and his staff have used the redshirt as a way to build program depth in the brutal Southeastern Conference. The Commodores (6-6) face Boston College (9-4) in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl on Dec. 31 in Nashville, Tenn.
-Northern Illinois will play Illinois for just the fourth time in program history on Sept. 18, 2010, the DeKalb university announced Wednesday. According to the press release:
"The Illinois game continues the Huskies' commitment to scheduling in-state foes as well as Big Ten opponents. Northern Illinois will play Western Illinois at Huskie Stadium in 2009 and will play host to Big Ten foe Wisconsin on Sept. 17, 2011 at Soldier Field in Chicago. The Huskies open the 2009 season at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison and will also play at Purdue next year."