clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Big Ten/ACC Pitching Challenge: Grading Jim Delany and John Swofford's first pitches at Yankee Stadium

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and ACC commissioner John Swofford each threw out ceremonial first pitches at Yankee Stadium. Which commish is better at sports?

It's official: the Big Ten and ACC will meet in the Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium, a six-year deal beginning in 2014. As a New Yorker and a B1G football fan, this gives me great pleasure, as there's a 1-in-14 chance every year that I'll be able to take a subway to another subway to watch my football team in extremely unpleasant weather conditions, rather than having to pony up for a plane ticket somewhere.

However, let's get to the really important stuff. To celebrate the occasion, the New York Yankees, the baseball team I support whenever I get around to watching baseball -- YEAH, I KNOW, THEY'RE THE WORST -- invited B1G commissioner Jim Delany and ACC commissioner John Swofford to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Yankees games. Delany went on June 3, Swofford went on Wednesday.

Like 83 percent of what we do as college sports fans is try to determine which conference is better than which other conference, and although we have tons of evidence in head-to-head football matchups, bowl games, the Big Ten vs. ACC Challenge in basketball, I think the most prudent way to settle this is to compare Delany and Swofford's pitching performances.

Lest you think we're comparing apples and oranges, Delany and Swofford are actually the exact same age, both born in 1948, and both went to UNC. Swofford was a high school quarterback, though, so if his arm is better, it's because this is patently unfair.

Let's take a look at Swofford's pitch:


And now Delany:


First of all, what's up with both commissioners being given the number 14? I'm a Yankees fan. Is there something I need to know about Curtis Granderson? I'd guess Granderson's job is safe, considering real Yankees jerseys don't have names on the back.

My best guess is that it signifies the fact that the two teams' Pinstripe Bowl agreement begins in 2014, but that deal hadn't been announced when Delany pitched. It could also include the 14 full conference members each league will have after the most recent wave of realignment, but that seems more far-fetched and gloating, which is to say, it's right up Delany's alley.

Now to the pitching. Let's look at three categories:


Swofford pitches from the stretch, which is boring and dumb.

Meanwhile, Delany has a Juan Marichal-esque routine where he hitches his arms back to get full leverage before launching into a belabored enormous step to home plate. If Delany were pitching in an actual game, people would steal on him every damn play, and he wouldn't care whatsoever. It's downright haughty, the essence of Delany.

Point, B1G.


Delany just kinda floats it up there. Swofford's also tossing junk, but is possibly breaking the radar gun at 35, maybe even 40 miles per hour.

Point, #GOACC.


Neither guy gets it the full 60 feet, six inches. Well, mainly because they both start off about eight feet in front of the mound, which is customary for first pitches. But even then both dudes underestimate how much oomph they need to give the ball.

Delany paints the corner of the plate, and the ball stays at least waist-high until crossing the zone before some sharp downward movement that would make any batter think twice. Meanwhile, Swofford's pitch drops off the table before even reaching the plate. The ball travels behind his body from the vantage point we're given, so we can't quite tell whether it makes it to the plate, but it's cutting it really close. It looks like whichever horrific Yankees catcher was behind home plate Wednesday night might have had to scoop it off the ground.

I think there's a clear winner here. Point, B1G.

And with that, it's settled: we can confirm that despite Swofford's QB background, Delany's the better pitcher, and thus, the Big Ten the better conference.

(P.S. I think they also have college baseball and like 42 ACC teams make the College World Series every year and the Big Ten just sent its first team since Abner Doubleday invented the sport in 1842 by hitting a game-winning homer off of Carlos Marmol, but this "college baseball" thing may also be fictional.)

More from SB Nation:

Oregon escapes bowl ban, Chip Kelly penalized by NCAA

Bill Connelly’s Big 12 preview countdown is complete

Nebraska releases 2013’s boldest alternate uniform

Preseason All-America team led by Jadeveon Clowney, Johnny Manziel

National recruiting coverage

Today’s college football news headlines