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 STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -Michigan's miserable start was rough for the Big Ten, but a boon for the Big Ten Network, commissioner Jim Delany said Saturday.
Phones at the Big Ten Network were ringing off the hook last weekend from media outlets requesting clips of Appalachian State's shocking win on Sept. 1 over the Wolverines at the Big House, he said.
``I think it shattered the perception that we didn't have competitive games,'' Delany said before No. 14 Penn State played Notre Dame at Beaver Stadium, and Michigan fell to 0-2 with a 39-7 loss to Oregon.
Delany said Michigan's season-opening loss hurt the Big Ten's image a lot.
``I don't think you can overstate the fact that Michigan has got a great program, was a preseason favorite,'' he said.
Delany earlier in his career spent a decade working as commissioner of the Ohio Valley Conference, which is in the Championshop Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-AA).
The Wolverines were ranked fifth in the preseason AP Top 25 before dropping out after the loss to the two-time defending I-AA champion Appalachian State.
``Michigan wasn't ready, Michigan made mistakes, and the better team won that day,'' he said.
The Big Ten took a blow in bowl games last year, too, going 2-5, including losses by Michigan and Ohio State. But Delany said the conference had to be judged over the course of the entire Big Ten schedule.
``Certainly those games are part of a recent trend, and they have to be accounted for what they are - a couple big games, and a couple big losses,'' he said.
The Big Ten Network's deal this week with Dish Network means the number of households with the network nationwide will initially increase from about 17 million to 28.5 million.
But talks with two cable providers, Comcast and Time Warner, which have subscribers in Big Ten states, remain at a stalemate, Delany said.
Delany said he was worried the impasse might be turning fans off.
``We expected there would be some bumps in year one,'' he said. ``Hopefully they are not there in year two.''
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