You’ve got to hand it to Jim Delany. He likes to let everybody know he’s the biggest prick in the room. He allows the Big Ten-expansion-sooner-than-later story sit out there for three days before debunking it, so every other conference in America can twist in the wind a bit.
You get the inevitable angst from the little guys.
“The sense of what his commissioner colleagues would appreciate is, ‘What is the timeline? What can we tell our members?’, WAC commissioner Karl Benson said. “[Delaney] said he is still on the same 12- to 18-month timetable. I hope we can narrow that or shorten that.”
Like he cares about what you want, Karl.
“I still think I have a lot of friends and colleagues in that room,” Delany said referring to one of the resort’s conference rooms where the commissioners met most of the day. “There’s not really a lot of tension, there’s a lot of interest.”
Then there are the prisoners on death row, simply awaiting final word.
What a dichotomy. With the ACC having diluted its product after expansion, the Big East became the best basketball conference in the country. Meanwhile, its football could be on life support.
“We’ve lived through it,” said Marinatto, a senior associate commissioner for the league since 2002. “We’ve come out in better shape than we’ve ever been in our 30-year history. All the people who exaggerate the future in a negative way, I can’t buy into it.”
They are not exactly dead men walking around this resort but they are looking dazed and confused.
“How do you keep a school?” Craig Thompson asked. The Mountain West commissioner could see his league poached by the Pac-10, Big 12 or some unseen force, all because of the Big Ten.
“You don’t keep an institution. If there is a better place, it’s like marriage. You try to make the best house and home for your family but if there is something else that looks better you move on.”
There’s going to be a lot of marriage counseling, then, in the coming months. It’s going to be public and for a lot of the participants, it’s not going to end well.
“You’re not here to cover the BCS. You guys are here to cover [expansion],” Marinatto told reporters. “It’s not the elephant in the room anymore.”
Don’t worry, Commish. When the axe falls, the media will be there to say a few choice words over the body.
And then you’ve got the SEC. Mike Slive is making a list and checking it twice.
… SEC commissioner Mike Slive intimated for the first time that a war of titans might be on: “If there is going to be a significant shift in the conference paradigm, the SEC will be strategic and thoughtful to make sure it maintains its position as one of the nation’s pre-eminent conferences.”
“I won’t sit back,” Slive said, “and just ignore what is going on around me.”
Brace yourselves for at least another 12-18 months of cock teasing. If Delany times things right, he should be able to start the dominoes falling just in time for the Mountain West Conference to claim its automatic qualifying BCS slot. And when the dust settles, that slot and five dollars will get you a mocha latte at Starbucks.