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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Return of the Bye Week

All Big Ten conference teams will now be allowed to play a game after Thanksgiving. Schools will be allowed to shift 2008 games to the last weekend in November, and the conference will start scheduling later games starting in 2009. This means that teams will once again be able to schedule a Bye Week to give athletes extra rest during the season. The Bye Week was initially lost when the NCAA expanded the regular season to 12 games.

This is a move that the Big Ten needed to make and it will help conference teams in two ways. First, the obvious advantage will be the extra week for players to rehab injuries and get rested. The other major benefit this change will have is the fact all other conferences continue to play regular season games and championship games after the Thanksgiving break. Big Ten schools will now be able to move their week of rivalries back to compete with the end of the regular season in other conferences. Playing later will also greatly affect a team's chance at moving up the polls in order to get into the BCS. Generally a big win late in the season helps a team get a much needed boost in the rankings when it is needed most, unlike this year where all the late upsets helped Ohio State climb back into the National Title picture. Finally, the added week also means Big Ten team's will no longer be able to use the long layoff between their final season game and bowl game as an excuse for any lackluster performance. The playing field is now equal in terms of a team's downtime before the bowl season.