â†µDo you remember the simpler times when Big Ten expansion was a debateâ†µbetween Rutgers, Syracuse, Pitt, and Missouri? When the end results ofâ†µconference shuffling were not enormous 16-team superconferences with theâ†µbreadth and stability of the Soviet Union in 1991? Yeah, neither do I.â†µâ†µ
â†µA week or so ago, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick inauguratedâ†µthe era of crazy speculation by saying there wereâ†µ"scenarios" in which the Irish would not be able to maintainâ†µtheir independence. None of these scenarios seemed remotely plausible,â†µso college football media folk facing the long dark of the offseasonâ†µnaturally went to the implausible ones wherein the Big Ten annihilatesâ†µthe Big East with lasers and picks off an orphaned Notre Dame in theâ†µprocess. It's April. It's that or talking about spring football reportsâ†µof dubious validity. â†µâ†µ
â†µBut just when we've all put together our ridiculousâ†µ16-team Big WAC or evenâ†µmore ridiculous 15-team promotion/relegation structure, Swarbrickâ†µhas to go and pullâ†µthe rug out from under us:â†µâ†µ
â†µâ‡¥"The only things that could make it [conference affiliation]â†µâ‡¥happen are the sorts of radical change in the industry that would causeâ†µâ‡¥upheaval and impact a lot more (schools) than Notre Dame. You wind upâ†µâ‡¥with only three conferences. You wind up with two tiers of conferences.â†µâ‡¥Now, all of a sudden, it's not three divisions in college; it's four.â†µâ‡¥It's the big change.â†µâ‡¥â†µâ‡¥
â†µâ‡¥"I don't see that happening."â†µâ‡¥â†µ
â†µSo if the Big Ten expands and California falls into the sea and theâ†µBig 12 picks off the remnants and large portions of the South becomesâ†µuninhabitable due to global warming, causing a second civil war thatâ†µsees a tattered remnant of the SEC emerge victorious over forces fromâ†µthe ACC and scattered Big East rebels, then... then Notre Dameâ†µmight consider dumping its independence. â†µâ†µ
â†µSwarbrick would like you to send a pigeon to him when you're running aroundâ†µa Washington, DC that looks like Fallout 3. Until then, pleaseâ†µkeep your secular paws to yourselves, thanks. You may now resume wonderiâ†µngâ†µif Rutgers can really bring the New York media market to heel.â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.