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Joel Maturi's "Retirement", Big Ten's college football playoff proposal, and Gopher hockey moves up by doing absolutely nothing

So Joel Maturi is "retiring" as the athletic director at the University of Minnesota. Interesting, as we guessed that Maturi's ideals of a balanced athletic department where every sport is treated equally would differ from new president Eric Kaler's ideals of an athletic department where the revenue-generating sports produce, you know, revenue.

Also interesting because while Maturi won't be the school's athletic director after June, he'll sure still be getting paid like it. Some folks at in the Minnesota legislature are a wee bit puzzled why Maturi will still get his full athletic director's salary AND full benefits to be a special assistant to Kaler. It means that the University of Minnesota will be paying TWO people to do the job of athletic director, and you can bet whomever they hire isn't going to take less to do the job than what they'll be paying Maturi to NOT do the job.

Should that matter to Gopher fans? We're not the one's paying his salary, except that we kind of are with ticket sales and all the rest. And isn't the full AD's salary he'll be getting next year money that could be going to help fund Maturi's beloved NR's? Maybe there's a precedent here that I'm not aware of. Maybe there's plenty of other BCS schools who give their ousted AD's golden parachutes despite the athletic department needing revenue in a down economy. Maybe, but I'd feel better if Maturi were a special assistant on an assistant's salary, or, maybe he could just actually retire and live off what I'm sure is a hefty pension.

Gopher Hockey moves up in the rankings

As weekend's off go, the one the Minnesota Gopher hockey team just enjoyed was about as good as it gets. The boys got some time to rest up and prepare for the rest of the season while everybody else played some games, and the results for Minnesota were mostly good. Or about as good as expected. The Gophs started the weekend tied for 8th in the Pairwise Standings with a 5 point lead over UMD for first in the WCHA, with the Bulldogs holding two games in hand. UMD played those two games against UAA, and after the Seawolves and Bulldogs split, Duluth was able to only pick up two points on the Gophs. So not only is Minnesota still three points up in the WCHA, but they moved up one spot in the Pairwise too, now sitting tied for 7th with Merrimack.

Now down to fifth? That'd be UMD, and while the national polls don't mean much, it still looks good for the Gophers to be ranked second and UMD third. Or maybe it just feels good. Of course, we don't want our dear rival Bulldogs to fall TOO far, since they're still by far Minnesota's best pair of wins this year, and will be for the rest of the regular season. To keep moving up the Pairwise, Minnesota needs to keep winning, but really, so does Duluth- just not too much. Minnesota gets a chance to help themselves on the ice this weekend when they travel to Denver to play the #17 Pioneers, who are 4th in the WCHA and 14th right now in the Pairwise.

Big Ten's College Football Playoff Plan

How quickly things change; it wasn't long ago- like less than 2 months ago- when B1G commish Jim Delaney was squarely against the idea of a college football playoff. Yet according to the Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein, Delaney is not only now willing to listen to proposals for a playoff, he now has one of his own. Delaney wants a 4 team playoff where the top two seeds host, and the championship game site goes to the highest bidder, much like how the Super Bowl site is selected now. On the surface this seems like a relatively modest proposal, which is fine by me. I think anything more than 4 waters down the best regular season in sports, and this idea would also keep more of the big bowl games on or around January 1 where they belong.

But of course, this is a plan that benefits the B1G too. If the Big Ten gets a team in the top 2, it means someone from the SEC, Big 12 or Pac 12 is coming north in December to play in cold weather in a hostile environment. And if they get the third or fourth best team, well, then they'll just head down to a sunny, warm destination to play the semi-final game- you know, like they already do for bowl games. Sure, Death Valley or Bryant-Denny Stadium or Autzen or Oklahoma Memorial would be a lot tougher to play in than a neutral site like the Rose, Gator or Outback, but it's less of a disadvantage for the cold weather Big Ten teams to have to go south than the possibility of a southern school coming north- in December.

Not only that, but you can be guaranteed that if/when the B1G would place a team in the top 4 of the rankings and out of the regular bowl lineup, the Big Ten is NOT about to lose their Rose Bowl berth. The second best B1G squad would go to the Rose Bowl as I'm sure the second best Pac 12 school would take the place of Oregon or SC or Stanford if they made the top 4. So in Delaney's plan, the B1G gains a possible advantage by hosting a cold weather semi-final game AND still keeps its coveted tie-in with the Rose Bowl.

Now that's what I call a win-win.