Thursday, August 26, 2010


The Big Ten adds Penn State to expand into Pennsylvania, PSU remains strong in football for the most part, other conferences add in panicky fashion (ask the Big East or the Big 12-2 or the WAC how expansion worked for them?), and people think Jim Delany is a genius.

The Big Ten creates its own network, goes toe-to-toe with some of the biggest jackasses in the corporate world, stares them down, and establishes itself as the conference to beat in terms of TV revenue. (No, really. When schools like Northwestern and IU get more money than schools like Notre Dame, USC, and Texas, all of which have deals tailored to benefit them, the Big Ten is doing something right.) Delany is a god.

The Big Ten talks about expanding again, sending pretty much every conference into a panic: they see how much the Big Ten gets now, they add some hypothetical numbers based on adding Notre Dame or Texas or Nebraska or all three, and suddenly every school is up for grabs. But the Big Ten just looks around carefully, allows Nebraska to enter, and waits as other conferences fail miserably. (Utah and Colorado to the Pac-10, w. No other major conference expansion. The Big 12-2 insists nothing is wrong here, move along, nothing to see. w.) Delany invented college football.

And then discussion of divisional play popped up, and suddenly we realized that all those other moves were just luck. Despite the fact that the ACC traveled down this exact road years ago, splitting up the Florida State-Miami rivalry because it would, of course, "dominate" the conference, only to discover that those teams have met exactly zero times in the championship game, the Big Ten is apparently insisting on the same foolishness.

Michigan and Ohio State should be in separate divisions. Stupid enough – there are clear geographic divisions right now, and even if that creates an imbalance, there are other setups that still maintain almost all major rivalries – but now there is talk that the teams will not play during the final regular-season week because HORRORS they might someday play in the conference championship HORRORS which might supposedly affect television revenue HORRORS.

So a bunch of know-nothings with their heads so far up their asses Escher would be unable to draw the resulting bodies have decided to shit all over tradition because, well, we wouldn't understand because we're just fans. Even though prominent people who actually understand what the hell they're talking about have clearly explained why this is so stupid, it's going to happen anyway. We all know this. TV always wins because TV always brings the money. (After all, that's why the Big Ten can decide not to invite Texas. The Big Ten has the money.)

This is why baseball games are over three hours long and Impotent Commissioner Selig can't figure out how to fix it. This is why you miss the kickoff of your 4:15 game, or worse yet, you miss the finish of your 1:00 game. This is why people don't watch the NBA any more. (Well, other than the complete lack of interest the sport generates on its own, its inability to enforce rules, etc. etc.) Television decides something and everyone else submits.

Commissioner Delany, you damn well better come up with something good after this. If your legacy is "The man who ruined the OSU-UM rivalry", you'd best retire somewhere out of the Big Ten footprint ... which may very well rule out Texas. Hope you like Florida.

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