You can learn a lot from listening to the senior citizens in your life. Take my great uncle Skeet. This crotchety old World War II vet has taught me most of the important lessons which guide my daily journey, including:
- All other things being equal, fat people use more soap.
- That Richard Simmons fella may be a homosexual.
- Never threaten anyone wearing camoulflage.
- Men in suits who you don't know only pull up in your driveway to sell things and serve papers. Either way, you probably shouldn't answer the door.
- Never let a bald barber cut your hair.
- The Big Ten could return to national football prominence if it would just add Syracuse or Pitt and play a conference championship game in Indianapolis.
Wait, that last one wasn't Uncle Skeet. No, it was Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who's been saying for a while now that the Big Ten should add another team (which would, in fact, give it 12 total). This would allow the conference to play a championship game, which JoePa reasons would increase the profile of the conference and help get it into the national championship discussion.
Of course, Ohio State is in the Big Ten and they're annually in the BCS discussion. At least they were until they began demonstrating the kind of big game incompetence that would make Bob Stoops blush. But let's not quibble over the fine print. JoePa says that he's even broached the subject with the Big Ten powers that be, but the response was not what he'd hoped for:
"You know, it's a conference that's dominated by a couple of people. If I start talking, they're polite, but they snicker. They don't know I know they're snickering, but they're polite."
Jim Delaney, sir, why do you hate the aged? Besides being impolite, in this instance, you could lose your brain over it. It's just not worth it, man. And how could adding the runaway juggernaut that is Syracuse football to the Big Ten be a bad thing?
If it's really that important, I have a couple of suggestions for Delaney and Paterno. Some of these have been mentioned in the past, though a couple of them are (I think) MaconDawg originals. Guys, if you really want to bring Big Ten kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century (which I will not concede is necessarily a good thing), then I suggest the following:
- Try to steal Louisville or West Virginia from the Big East. Either would be better than Syracuse for the foreseeable future. Even the Kragthorpian horse latitudes into which the Cardinals appear to be descending would be better than whatever Doug Marrone has in store for the Orangemen. Not because I don't have confidence in Marrone. Just because he's about to undertake the football equivalent of turning Newark into Paris. And, from a purely ethnographic perspective, West Virginia (link safe for work, but not really safe, if you catch my drift . . .) is to Turkish Bulgaria as Ohio State is to Turkey. The border between them is but a flimsy geopolitical construct. Their burning couches and coolers filled with the unmentionable are indistinguishable to us outsiders.
- Convince Missouri to leave the Big 12. I think we all know that as long as Texas and Oklahoma continue to play football (a state of affairs which I presume will continue at least as long as humans roam the Earth, and longer if the Mars colonies are at least 120 yards long) Missouri will not be a dominant power in the Big 12. Missourians are, as a class, far too sane and decent for it. And as an SEC football fan, believe me, I sometimes envy them. But Columbia, Missouri is no further from the epicenter of the Big Ten than Minneapolis or Iowa City. And an Illinois/Missouri football rivalry, perhaps alternating between Chicago and St. Louis, would be at least 20% better than a sharp stick in the eye.
- Snag Boston College from the ACC. I still don't understand why they're there in the first place. While Madison, Wisconsin is not exactly contiguous to Boston, neither are Miami and Tallahassee. And BC is probably the NCAA's last best hope to convince people in the northeast to actually care about college football. At least when the Sox aren't playing. Either way, it would get the conference some play inside the Boston market. Downside? Bob Ryan might start paying attention to your conference. No one wants that.
- Poach Virginia from the ACC. There's really no logical reason for this one, only my selfish desire to witness Wahoo fans trekking into Columbus for a football game. It would be like that movie The Descent, only with more navy and orange Brooks Brothers bowties.
- Help Rich Rodriguez bring Michigan football off life support. If Michigan suffers another 3-9 season (with losses to the likes of Toledo and Northwestern) it becomes less marketable. That's bad for the Big Ten's profile. Though probably not as bad as having Syracuse as a member.
I'm sure the Big Ten folks would appreciate your suggestions in the comments. Anybody else got any ideas?
Until later . . .