The Big Ten Expansion Threat Is Real. (Maybe.)

The Increasingly Inaccurately Named Big Ten expansion discussions, you may have heard, are quite real. That things are apparently not moving to fruition as fast as we have alternately hoped and feared does not change the immutable fact that this is getting real:

The Big Ten Conference is still in the early stages of weighing expansion and "not anywhere near" the point of approaching prospective new schools, Commissioner Jim Delany said Wednesday.

"We have not accelerated anything," Delany said, refuting a Chicago Tribune report late last week that the league had alteredstepped up its timetable. In revealing it would ponder adding topanding beyond its current 11 members, the Big Ten said in December that Delany would take 12-18 months to draw up recommendations to its council of school presidents and chancellors.

Of course, that doesn't mean the plans won't be completely scuttled, because Jim Delany has many, many traits, most of them unprintable in a family publication, but chief among them is a tender, warmhearted sense of humor. He's a wonderful clown who loves nothing more than to send imaginations on completely unfounded flights of fancy, just 'cause:

If there's a need to have formal discussions about expansion with another institution, we'll reach out," Delany said. "But we're still in the process of analyzing and gathering information, and we're not anywhere near what I would describe as formal expansion discussions with any member. We haven't changed anything, neither the timetable nor the process that was described."

College football conferences have changed before. They'll change again. Absolutely nothing might come of any of this, but if it does, the crucial difference is that this time around, we'll be there, covering all the minutiae and hand-wringing in excruciating detail. Breathe regular.

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