Big Ten expansion could be tidal wave

As one college sports insider said Wednesday, trying to figure out how conference expansion will play out across the country is nearly impossible, but he thinks it starts with the Big Ten Conference — and could start soon.

So decide for yourself if you believe Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, who told USA Today that the conference hasn’t moved up its expansion timetable despite a Chicago Tribune report to the contrary.

Whether expansion occurs in two weeks or sometime next year, it will happen with the Big Ten in the lead. The 11-member conference could decide to add one school and cause a ripple effect nationwide or add five and cause a tidal wave that will completely change the landscape, especially in football.

A five-school expansion by the Big Ten could have a serious impact on the Mountain West Conference.

In such a scenario, the Big Ten would probably dip into the Big 12 Conference, which could then try to add Texas Christian.

Such a major expansion could also influence the Pacific-10 Conference to add schools, probably picking up Utah.

Some Mountain West presidents think the conference should move forward now and add Boise State, which would help the league’s drive to become an automatic Bowl Championship Series qualifier.

The expansion talk is all conjecture, of course, but these kinds of conversations are taking place in the Mountain West and, most certainly, at this week’s Football Bowl Subdivision conference commissioners meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“I don’t know what else we’d be talking about,” Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich, representing the Big East Conference, told The New York Times before the meetings.

■ RUSH TO JUDGMENT — First-year UNLV football coach Bobby Hauck has gotten off to a good start, impressing fans with his realistic approach to trying to turn around the downtrodden program and making roster and strategy changes that have been positively received.

But now comes a real head-scratcher. On the Rebels’ post-spring depth chart, C.J. Cox is the No. 1 tailback ahead of Bradley Randle and Channing Trotter, two players who appeared to have more productive springs.

It’s hard to say what Hauck and his staff see in Cox. Could it be his 3.5-yards-per-carry average the past two seasons? His penchant for dancing rather than hitting the hole?

Whatever their thinking, it shouldn’t take more than one or two games to change the UNLV coaches’ take on whom the starting tailback should be.

■ ONE GIANT LEAP — Baseball’s play of the year already has been made, and it happened in a game between Fordham and Iona on Tuesday.

Fordham’s Brian Kownacki leaped over Iona’s catcher and came down on his hands on home plate.

But words don’t do the play justice.

Check out the video:


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