You want proof that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is not only playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers, but also that he's a freaking grand master at chess a la Bobby Fischer?
Check out his "fall-back, worse-case scenarios" in Expansionpalooza (i.e. if he cannot land another big-fish like Texas or Notre Dame).
- Stand pat. With Nebraska, he's got a 12 team league consisting of 3 of the top 5 winningest college football programs of all time (and 4 of the top 10). Big Ten could add a conference championship game and hence millions of dollars in revenue, and the Big Ten gets another large, state research institution (along with its congressmen and senators, and alumni with deep pockets like freaking Warren Buffett) to grow the conference's academic excellence. A home run win, and that's if we do nothing else.
- Expand to 14 or 16, but without Texas or Notre Dame. Check out this list of WORST CASE expansion partners for the Big Ten:
- Mizzou -- as noted in other threads, it would deliver St. Louis and Kansas City, is an excellent research school, in a growing state, with solid football, baseball, basketball, softball programs, and an excellent journalism school. Pac-10 is taking on Texas Tech and Oklahoma St., and we're equivocating over Mizzou? Proof Delany is playing on a whole other field. (Plus, politically speaking, Mizzou is a HUGE swing state in presidential elections....don't you think the Big Ten/CIC could use that to leverage some more research money from Washington, D.C.?)
- Kansas: Very similar to Mizzou, although MUCH better at basketball. At this point, we'd have 11 states in the conference (meaning 22 senators), again helping research. And don't give me the "Kansas and Kansas St. are tied together" argument -- if the Big Ten says "we want Kansas, and only Kansas," then you better believe that the Kansas legislature will say yes, just to ensure ONE of its state's flagship universities remains in a killer conference.
- Rutgers: AAU member, huge state, near to the lucrative NYC market (we'd definitely get some TVs there), just got top honors in the latest APR report. Again, this is one of our BACKUPS to Notre Dame/Texas. Delany rules. Would also add another 2 senators (up to 24 now) to steer research funding/pork projects towards the glorious Big Ten/CIC. And oh yeah -- Big Ten football is just a few hours from NYC for all the Big Ten alums....
- Syracuse: You seal the deal for NY in terms of power in DC, add a phenomenal basketball program, add another AAU member, add another traditional football powerhouse (Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Donovan McNabb). Combined with Rutgers, it arguably lands you on basic cable/higher subscription fee in NYC.
- Maryland/Virginia: Big Ten could land Washington, D.C., solidify recruiting into the area (including the highly touted Tidewater region), and be all that much closer to gaining more research money by adding more congressmen and senators who want to funnel research money home to their home state universities.
Seriously -- how awesome is Jim Delany?