Cavalcade - The Big Ten's Next Move?
Posted Nov 27, 2012

Cavalcade of Whimsy - After expanding again, what should the Big Ten do next?

Cavalcade of Whimsy

College Football For the Handsome

E-mail Pete Fiutak
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So Far ...
- Oct. 9, The two stars of the first half of the season  
- Oct. 16, The Big Play For Notre Dame  
- Oct. 23,  Is Collin Klein worth the hype?
- Oct. 30, It's USC's time to shine 
- Nov. 6, What more do you want from Oregon? 
- Nov. 13, Really, why is Notre Dame No. 3? 
- Nov. 20, Part 1 - If OSU is 12-0, the Bush Push & Max Wittek 
- Nov. 20, All The Award Finalists & Picks

This Week
- Part 2 - Ten Things I Was Wrong About

Sorry if this column sucks, it's not my fault … the Big Ten really doesn't love me, it just wants me for my TV market.

"Poetry. Sheer poetry, Ralph! An A+ + + + + !" ... Considering Ohio State isn't getting ready for Nebraska in the Big Ten championship and isn't talking about possibly playing Notre Dame in the BCS championship, honoring Jim Tressel and giving him a ride in front of that team and that crowd and on that day is like congressmen lifting up (insert whatever politician of your choice makes this particularly unfunny blurb work better for you) on their shoulders as they're about to pass the bill that gets us off the fiscal cliff.

Jim Delany facts ... Keaton always said, "I don't believe in God, but I'm afraid of him." Well, I believe in God, and the only thing I fear, is Jim Delany.

"If you're part of a crew, nobody ever tells you that they're going to kill you, doesn't happen that way. There weren't any arguments or curses like in the movies. See, your murderers come with smiles, they come as your friends, the people who've cared for you all of your life. And they always seem to come at a time that you're at your weakest and most in need of their help." ... Did the announcement of the Big Ten adding Maryland and Rutgers seem a little bit underwhelming to you, too?

Maybe it got swept aside in the sports news cycle with all the attention on Notre Dame-USC and the other rivalry games. Maybe we've all been a bit desensitized to the idea of schools changing around their conference dance partners, and maybe none of this is really shocking anymore, but this is still the Big Freaking Ten and this is still a big freaking deal.

Both schools bring in nice names, and there are certainly merits to the marriage in terms of TV markets, academics, and on the field possibilities, but this is really just about the cash grab for Maryland and a step up in prestige for Rutgers. Again, though, bringing in these two isn't exactly like adding Nebraska and Penn State.

Or North Carolina.

Do you really think that Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany is going to be satisfied with the stand-up double? Do you really believe that the grand design for college sports world domination is going to end with Rutgers and Maryland? Just wait, because whatever is happening next will be a foundation-shaker.

One thing to remember, anyone who says they have inside sources or any real knowledge of who's going where in the realignment craziness is full of beans. The ACC went to bed thinking all was right with the world, and it woke up with Maryland walking out the door. This is all cloak-and-dagger, big-time corporate wheeling and dealing that extends far beyond the idea of whether or not the Terp defensive front seven can handle the Ohio State running game. The commissioners are the sharpest knives in the college athletic drawers – there's always a plan.

Why did Delany go so apespit over demanding that the Big Ten's partnership with the Rose Bowl be rock-solid – to the point of seemingly sacrificing the league's best interest in a playoff? On the surface, the tie-in helps maintain the Big Ten's footing in Los Angeles and continues to give the league a permanent, carrot-at-the-end-of-the-stick presence on the West Coast.

Rutgers and Maryland obviously extend to the conference further out to the east, and now they should go after the big basketball whales with North Carolina on the table along with Virginia. These two fit the academic profiles of what the Big Ten wants, and they'd bring lots and lots of eyeballs and gobs of TV money. While it might seem sacrilegious to have an ACC without UNC, there are enough good reasons - mostly involving money - and enough rumblings to make the move to the Big Ten seem plausible.

Remember, Delany is a Tar Heel.

And don't think that the expansion would stop there. Kansas has long been on the Big Ten radar, while Florida State and Louisville could be the right fit for the Big 12. The SEC? Virginia Tech continues to make the most sense, but who'd be the balance? NC State?

However it happens, the world is going to continue to change. The rich are going to end up getting a whole bunch richer, and if you liked this year with all the big games in the big conferences, you're going to love what's coming up soon.

More Jim Delany facts ... In Jim Delany's house, the toilet seat stays up.

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the refreshment room here at Bletchley. My name is Kenny Lust and I'm your compère for tonight. You know, once in a while it is my pleasure, and my privilege, to welcome here at the refreshment room, some of the truly great international artists of our time. And tonight we have one such artist. Ladies and gentlemen, someone whom I've always personally admired, perhaps more deeply, more strongly, more abjectly than ever before. A man... well, more than a man, a god, a great god, whose personality is so totally and utterly wonderful my feeble words of welcome sound wretchedly and pathetically inadequate. Someone whose boots I would gladly lick clean until holes wore through my tongue, a man who is so totally and utterly wonderful, that I would rather be sealed in a pit of my own filth than dare tread on the same stage with him! Ladies and gentlemen... the incomparably superior human being … " ... Really, we're doing this now? Penn State, out of all the ways you could've come together to make one final grand gesture about something important on the last game of the year, this year, you chose to put a giant 42 on the helmets?!

It's not like Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti died. He's not fighting a battle with leukemia like Chuck Pagano. He's not Adam Taliaferro after suffering a paralyzing spinal cord injury. He wasn't bunked up in a hospital bed somewhere after a devastating accident. He didn't sacrifice himself for his country in battle. He was one hell of a college linebacker and a consummate team leader, and it's horrible that he suffered another knee injury and it stinks that he couldn't play in his home finale, but that happens in football - ask Matt Barkley about how much fun it was to watch the Notre Dame game from the sidelines. Mauti can rehab and come back to play in the pros, and one other thing ... HE WAS ON THE SIDELINES. If any of the players wanted to honor him, they could've just jogged on by for a fist bump.

Seriously, has any team been more self-congratulatory than the 2012 Penn State Nittany Lions?

After all the "We Are … Pissed Off" garbage and all the other bluster, and rallies, and t-shirts, and slogans, and tears, and the fawning from the fan base, and sucking up from the media – headlined on Saturday by an embarrassing performance from ESPN analyst and newly-anointed Nittany Lion lickspittle, Brock Huard - the 2012 team missed out on a free trip, a bunch of gift cards and prizes, and a 31-13 Outback Bowl loss to South Carolina. Whoop-dee-doo.

If you want to argue that the underclassmen are sacrificing their football lives in order to play an entire career full of exhibition games, that's one thing, and if this year's team was in Ohio State's current situation, then yeah, that would've been a true hit. Basically, Penn State didn't suck, and because of that there are going to be memorials, book deals, banners, and an unending string of pats on the back to honor this group.

Meanwhile, continuing to be lost in all of the ridiculousness from inside the Happy Valley bubble is that the players aren't victims in any way, shape or form, and yet they're STILL being treated like they're the ones in this tragedy suffering from some massive injustice.

Sacrifice? Outrage?! If anything, this group and the rest of the Penn State community should be bowing down and kissing the NCAA's collective perky butt for even allowing there to be a football program at all – because this very, VERY easily could've gone in a whole different direction. These players are on scholarship at a world-class academic institution, and they got to play college football while being elevated to an even greater god-like status.

And while we're at it, let's quickly get over this idea that going 8-4 mattered. 8-4, 12-0, 0-12 – if you're going to stick with the narrative that this group was special, the record and what happened on the field should have nothing to do with this team being a considered a success.

More than anything else, do not ever, ever lose sight of the reason that Penn State University is being punished. The ceaseless honoring of itself does just that.

More Jim Delany facts ... Grover Norquist pledges to Jim Delany.

"Johnny, what can you make out of this?" … "This? Why, I can make a hat or a brooch or a pterodactyl." ... Pepsi challenge time. Compare these three players …

Player A: 61% completion rate, 30 touchdowns, 3,825 yards, 13 picks in 11 games
Player B: 68% completion rate, 24 touchdowns, 3,419 yards, 8 picks in 12 games
Player C: 71% completion rate, 48 touchdowns, 5,631 yards, five picks in 14 games

Player A: 460 rushing yards, eight scores in 11 games
Player B. 1,181 rushing yards, 19 scores in 12 games
Player C: 35 rushing yards, three scores in 14 games

Player A: Beat the No. 1 team in the country
Player B: Beat the No. 1 team in the country
Player C: Took team to conference title game and a 12-0 regular season record

Player A: Leads the nation in total offense averaging 389.55 yards per game
Player B. Second in the nation in total offense averaging 383.33 yards per game
Player C: Led nation in total offense averaging 404.71 yards per game, close to 21 more than Robert Griffin III.

So who's the runaway Heisman winner out of those three? Player B, Johnny Manziel will win in a walk. Player A, Baylor's Nick Florence, won't win All-Big 12 honors, and Player C, former Houston quarterback Case Keenum, wasn't within 100 miles of the Heisman last year playing for now-Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin.

Because no one should have to be subjected to the soggiest cereal on the lot ... They ran out of Captain Crunch at the Penn State football dining hall. The players banded together, rallied, sacrificed, and became one, choosing to go with Quisp. A plaque will be placed outside of the stadium highlighting their heroism and ability to fight through the adversity.

More Jim Delany facts ... Cialis uses Jim Delany.

"Well if there was some problem with the garment. If it were unsatisfactory in some way, then we could do it for you, but I'm afraid spite doesn't fit into any of our conditions for a refund." ... I guess I'll vote for Johnny Manziel, but there's something missing and I'm not quite sure what it is.

The stats are extraordinary, but he didn't come through against Florida and struggled way too much against LSU, and while he was terrific against Alabama, so was Zach Mettenberger. The Aggies might be 10-2, but the second best win he came up with was either against Louisiana Tech or Mississippi State. I'm not really arguing against him, but I'm not really voting for him - I'm voting against everyone else, if that makes any sense.

I'm trying to sell the world, and myself, on Braxton Miller in an MVP sort of way, but I can't quite get there. I know it's supposed to be about the best player, but I always view the Heisman as an honor that goes to the signature star of a season, and because of that, even though Jarvis Jones arguably had a stronger year, Manti Te'o is No. 1A on the ballot at the moment. If you want to argue for Collin Klein, I'll give him one more look against Texas, but with one game to go the 787 rushing yards, 20 touchdowns, 2,306 passing yards and 14 TDs aren't that much better compared to a 12-0 Miller's 1,271 rushing yards, 13 TDs, 2,039 passing yards and 15 TDs.

But in the end, I'm probably going to vote for Manziel because of one key intangible – spite.

Somewhere, some idiot isn't going to vote for Manziel because he's a freshman, and I want to counterbalance the error. Sure, I wish I could've voted for Herschel Walker, Adrian Peterson, Ron Dayne or even Marcus Dupree to break the freshman barrier, but in the absence of any other strong choices, I'll be fine after I hit the submit button.

More Jim Delany facts ... Jim Delany is allowed to use 141 characters.

But if this next year is anything like this year, no one on this list will be in New York ... The early call for 2013: Manziel will win the 2012 Heisman, but won't be a finalist next year. Why? Braxton Miller, Giovani Bernard, Marqise Lee, Marcus Mariota, Todd Gurley, Ka'Deem Carey, Teddy Bridgewater, Brett Hundley, Brett Bell, Max Witter, Tajh Boyd and Taylor Martinez.

More Jim Delany facts ... Jim Delany gets the Pac-12 Network.

And I'm pushing for the 2015 national championship – or at least one of the playoff games - to be played in my basement. With the holidays coming up, we got rid of half the stuff that cluttered it up. However, I'm having daily foot pains from stepping on Littlest Pet Shop crap. … It's Week Fourteen of my shameless and impossible quest to be on the committee that helps pick the playoff teams two years from now. Why do I deserve a spot? I have the ability to change people's lives and touch their souls with three simple words of recommendation. Peppermint mocha latte.

More Jim Delany facts ... Chuck Norris was once put in traction for merely thinking about kicking Jim Delany's ass.
- Part 2 - Ten Things I Was Wrong About