It sounds like something you’d hear in the halls of Washington D.C. or on one of those cheesy prime time dramas. A major conference basically overrules a bowl selection committee to get a match up they feel is “more desirable” despite the objections of several members on that committee. Well it wasn’t politics, it’s sports.
Multiple reports claim that the Big Ten, under the direction of commissioner Jim Delany, pressured the Capitol One Bowl to select the Nebraska Cornhuskers over the Northwestern Wildcats despite the fact the “fightin’ Pelini’s” were just in this game last year! What a disgrace. This is something I expect from some of the ruthless members of the SEC, but not the “midwestern” Big Ten.
Delany always talks about what’s best for the student-athlete. You’ll recall he was vehemently opposing a postseason playoff in college football until he saw the dollar signs that such a format could bring in. So he turned, ala Benedict Arnold, and became a big supporter. If you were born on another planet you wouldn’t have believed such a quick reversal was possible.
Northwestern is a charter member of the Big Ten. They had a good year, losing three games in the 4th quarter. While one of those was indeed to Nebraska, Northwestern had to play without three of their top corner backs. That’s an important detail. I’m not trying to make excuses, but am instead looking at reality.
The Cornhuskers are in their 2nd year of play in the Big Ten. It was a struggle to even get them in the conference when you look at the overall makeup of the league. The majority of the schools are strong academic institutions with a substantial research component. Nebraska has neither, but they have a great football history. So Delany and his henchmen made excuses and let the Cornhuskers join the party. Priorities!
So what does this come down to again? Money, of course, but this plan might just backfire on the conference. Nebraska is having trouble selling tickets to the Capitol One game and you can’t really blame their fans. Are you going to be excited after witnessing the championship game beat down the mediocre Wisconsin Badgers gave your squad? Not to mention having to stomach $800+ airfare from Omaha to Orlando!
Enough is enough, Jim. Show some respect for history and precedent. You owe Northwestern a major apology. This was another over reach of your power and, while it isn’t a fire able offense itself, I’m starting to see a trend; do as I say not as I do. If you want to take a stance versus some of the more seedy aspects of college sports you’ll need to adjust that motto. Right now, you sound like a typical Washington politician.
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