One thing about Barry Alvarez: He's not afraid to share the goods.
And there are plenty of goods to share these days in regards to Big Ten discussions -- whether the talk is about potential division shakeups, night games in November, nine or 10-game conference schedules, or maybe not playing FCS foes anymore.
Let's start with that last topic.
Alvarez said on his radio station this week that those Big Ten-FCS games are about to meet their end. I know. Tissues needed. Wipe away those tears.
“The non-conference schedule in our league is ridiculous,” the Badgers' athletic director said according to the Wisconsin State Journal. “It’s not very appealing… So we’ve made an agreement that our future games will all be Division I schools. It will not be FCS schools.”
Like plenty of teams around the country, Nebraska has had one FCS team on its schedule in recent years -- South Dakota State in 2010 (pictured), Tennessee-Chattanooga in 2011 and Idaho State in 2012.
The Huskers will play South Dakota State again this year and has McNeese State on the docket in 2014.
While there's always a fair amount of griping about these types of games, scheduling FCS contests has been one way big-time programs can assure at least a seven-game home schedule. Because FCS schools just ask for the paycheck, not a home-and-home.
But the loss of these types of games in the future only make sense as the Big Ten appears headed toward nine or 10 conference games a year.
As for that conversation? Nobody asked me but I hope the Big Ten keeps it at nine conference games.
Here's why: Even though a nine-game non-conference schedule would be unbalanced between home and away games, I favor it under the belief that such a format allows each school to produce at least one fairly attractive non-conference game with three dates given.
I worry that you'd see the power programs in the Big Ten schedule both its non-conference games against creampuff FBS teams with a 10-game conference schedule. (They'd have to do this to always secure 7-game home schedules, which they'll want to do considering the millions of dollars at stake.)
That's why I'd prefer seeing the league keep three non-conference games, with pressure to put at least one attractive foe on the list.
On the year you play five conference home games, that's the year you play your marque non-conference game on the road. On the year you only get four conference games, then ideally you get all three non-conference games at home, with a name program coming to town on one of those weeks.
I'm all for adding to the conference schedule, but there still needs to be room for the Big Ten to test itself against an SEC, Pac-12 or Big 12 team in September.