3:13 p.m.: As the blog turns: 1. Here's the latest on Big Ten Expansion: Nebraska's in, Notre Dame's out. And we're all getting played.
In other words, believe everything you read and hear and nothing you read and hear. It could be fact, it could be fiction, but there's a very good chance it's a rumor being floated by the Big Ten to get some reaction.
Of course, we in the media are not that naive. We know how this works. Still, we're going to report things, speculate on scenarios, work our sources. The key is to take it all with a salt shaker. I've said that from the beginning. This is all in fun, and it looks like something will happen, but don't take it too serious either way. I trust my friends who trust their sources. Last week, a lot of those sources said the Big Ten was looking toward taking a glob of Big East schools. Now, today, it looks like Notre Dame isn't on the board and Nebraska and Missouri are. Meanwhile, the Big East has hired former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue as a TV and strategy consultant to try and keep it together. There's talk about getting Boston College back and pursuing Maryland. The Pac 10 is looking into a TV network. On and on.
Also, Big Ten Commish Jim Delany broke his vow of silence on Wednesday — to say absolutely nothing has changed. The Big Ten is on the same schedule it always was. But Delany managed to lob something out there for Notre Dame to chew on. By saying you don't expand for just one team, you think about 20-25 years down the road, Delany was essentially reminding ND to think about what the landscape of college sports will look like in 20 years. And will the Irish be left holding the bag?
Here's the thing: I believe some of these rumors will come true. Others will not. Which is which has been left for the other conference commissioners and Notre Dame to figure out. I have no doubt that the Big Ten is throwing this stuff out to other AD's and people in college sports, who are in turn telling them to college football reporters. Delaney gets people talking and thinking. Maybe he gets ND to panic. Maybe not. Now, the Boston Globe reports on its blog that ND is no longer in the plans. So goes ND's subtle reply to Delaney. It's a game of chicken between the Big Ten and ND. Meanwhile, SEC Commish Mike Slive hints at an all-scale war; if the Big Ten expands to 16, the SEC will match it or raise it.
This will go on for months. Just a warning. You will keep reading about this. I said Nebraska was out the other day. Now, Nebraska's back in the mix, maybe leading. Stay tuned and ask me again tomorrow.
2. A 68-team NCAA tourney? Good for the NCAA. Moderation is never a bad thing. There will be 96 teams one day, and maybe 128 after that, but easing into the future is a good idea. There might be five teams on the bubble in a given year that deserved to get in but didn't. Now most of the deserving teams will get in. And now, thanks to CBS and Turner — mostly Turner — every game of the NCAA tournament will be shown live — for the first time in tournament history. Fans win! Fans win!
Creighton and Nebraska will have to make the tournament next year the old-fashioned way, but that's how it should be.
3. In Tuesday's First downs and second guesses column, I had a bit of a compass issue. I wrote that a new UNO hockey rink would be north of Center between 60th and 72nd. That should be south of Center.
Thank you and now I'll be heading west toward Des Moines.