Monday, September 8, 2014

Just call him De(nial)lany

So, apparently Denial is not just a river that runs through Egypt.

Apparently it's also a river that runs through the Midwest and into Pennsylvania and on out to New Jersey and Maryland.

That would be the footprint of the new Big Ten, which is actually the Big Fourteen these days if you're a stickler for math, and which added Maryland and Rutgers this year in hopes it could breach  the lucrative eastern TV markets if not the threshold of Big Time Football.

Which would be football as they play it in the SEC and the Pac 12 and the Big 12, and apparently the ACC and the MAC, too, given what happened Saturday.

What happened Saturday was a whole lot of history, and not the good kind, either. Ohio State got racked by Virginia Tech, losing its home opener for the first time since Woody was tearing up sideline markers. Michigan got shut out for the first time since Ronald Reagan was in the White House. Michigan State, the Big Ten's defending champeen, went out to Oregon and found out how they play the game in elite conferences, which is to say faster and better and maybe stifling a yawn or two at the presumption of these Big Ten hacks, the way you'd stifle a yawn while playing, say, McNeese State.

Which, oh, yeah, almost beat Nebraska. And then there was the usual uprising of the Mid-American Conference, in which Northern Illinois whipped Northwestern and Central Michigan embarrassed Purdue by three scores and Ball State came within a minute of beating Iowa, one of the Big Ten's presumptive darlings this fall.

Not the best of days for the Big Ten, and if commish Jim Delany ever gets around to upgrading his conference's football instead of just its bank account, he might want to think about extending invites to the entire MAC. But at this point, why would the MAC want to take a step down?

Instead, Delany was De-nial-any, chattering bravely that, heck, no, the Big Ten wasn't out of the picture for the first-ever national playoff. The conference just had a bad day. Lots of good days are coming, especially when conference play starts and the schedules get easier.

And if it doesn't happen ... well, shoot. Who wouldn't want Michigan, Ohio State or Michigan State in the All Them Others Dot Com Bowl?

Coming to you live from Irrelevance, Arkansas, somewhere between Dec. 18 and Dec 24.


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