Morning! We are now beginning the second day of life in the College Football Playoff (still struggling not to type "Payoff," BTW). Have you settled your opinions on the name and the logos? Early returns in our informal vote favor The Football-Shaped One over the Stars & Stripes one by a slim margin, but everyone has till next Monday to decide for sure.
This week's also been notable for college football goings on on the conference level, where the ACC's grant of media rights has stifled essentially all of whatever expansion momentum Jim Delany and the Big Ten have been gathering. The instant reaction tabbed the consequence as the end of conference realignment as we know it. With essentially all of the top-shlef East Coast options off the table -- Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Virginia, etc. -- the Big Ten now has nowhere to turn for a legitimate, worthwhile expansion.
"Hey," you might say, "that's not so bad!" But of course, it took very short time before the other shoe dropped. "This is Jim Delany we're talking about..." pondered many of the more rational minds out there. Indeed, the Big Ten has been linked to southern schools like Kansas, Oklahoma and Vanderbilt.
But we're still safe from the threat of further big-time realignment, right? It's never safe to deal in absolutes, but from the man himself (via The Sporting News):
"Given everything that has gone on, yes," Delany said when asked about the ACC's deal cementing the current five major conferences to their respective lineups."
There still is the possibility that a team from the SEC (Missouri) could leave for the Big Ten-the SEC has no grant of rights or exit fee-but that's a pipedream, at best.
Well, cool. The Big Ten surely would like to enhance its East Coast presence beyond Maryland and Rutgers, but these options don't really make sense even beyond that. Sure, Kansas basketball would make the nation's best hoops conference purely insane -- but this never has been or will be about basketball. Oklahoma "doesn't have the academics for the Big Ten," as common Midwest snobbery dictates. Vandy does, but are we going all the way to Tennessee to add a generally middle-of-the-pack athletic program. Furthermore, would Vandy ever leave the SEC? That's the only conference without a Grant of Media Rights, but let's be honest -- they really don't need one.
Anyway, just a bit of conjecturing to get the juices flowing this morning. For now, looks like we can sit tight and figure out how in the world we'll keep busy until June workouts.
The nine-game conference schedule is coming very, very shortly. It's already all but a formality, and that has folks like ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg breaking down the scheduling tweaks Big Ten schools will have to make. Wisconsin doesn't appear to have any major issues, but I wouldn't consider any 2016 non-conference slates set in stone.
Montee! This is a few days old, but Bob McGinn's NFL Draft coverage is always can't-miss material in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Simply put, Ball is hoping to become the most successful former Badger running back in the NFL, a very short list currently populated by the likes of Michael Bennett, Aaron Stecker and Brian Calhoun. Oh, and Ron Dayne. At least Ball draws a favorable comparison to Shaun Alexander there at the end.
More draft stuff: Andy Staples of SI.com lists his overrated and underrated players in this year's draft class.
Run Home Jack from EDSBS has his own
take CONSPIRACY THEORY on the new Big Ten divisions.
New SB Nation longform from Outsports: An openly gay kicker is taking his shot at grabbing an NFL roster spot.