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Northwestern Sends Nebraska Cookies as Big Ten Welcoming Gift

On July 1st Nebraska officially became the 12th member of the aptly named Big Ten. As a welcoming gift, Northwestern’s athletic department sent Nebraska’s athletic department these cutely decorated cookies. Check out the picture shared by Nebraska video coordinator Jim Shaw via Darren Rovell:

What do you know? They’re little footballs! Laces out! Honestly, I’m surprised Northwestern sent cookies and not cupcakes considering that’s what they’ll be for the Huskers football team. It’s a nice gesture, but I still think this was a much better present between football rivals.

Big Ten Officials and Commissioner Jim Delany Discuss Paying Athletes

The constant and persistent cry for NCAA athletes to be paid has resulted in an interesting development.  Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, with the approval of NCAA president Mark Emmert, discussed potentially paying student-athletes to help cover living expenses on top of their scholarships.  The meeting recently took place between Big Ten school officials and athletic directors.

“Forty years ago, you had a scholarship plus $15 a month laundry money. Today, you have the same scholarship, but not with the $15 laundry money,” explained commissioner Delany.

In theory, the idea of paying student-athletes thanks to growing TV revenue sounds brilliant.  But the fact of the matter is, most NCAA programs outside of elite college football programs lose money every season. So essentially, for the Big Ten, paying student-athletes isn’t a far-fetched idea due to the amount of revenue generated through schools such as Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, etc.  However, when you consider smaller conferences — like the C-USA, MAC, WCC, etc. — they would not be able to cover their expenses.

If there were a way to pay student-athletes beyond their scholarships, occurrences such as Jim Tressel and his five players at Ohio State might be less likely to occur.  Also, questioning the integrity of athletes like former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, would likely be evaded more often since everyone is getting paid.

The thought of paying student-athletes is awesome, but since most school athletic program’s lose money, it just wouldn’t work at this point in time.

Pac-10, Big East, Big Ten Conference Movement Makes No Sense

Conference jumping. It’s the latest trend hitting the world of college sports. Perhaps it will one day become an official Olympic sport, featuring slightly more polyester pants than golf and certainly less coordination and nose plugs than synchronized swimming. Showing no respect for traditional conference alignments, or 5th grade geography teachers for that matter, colleges are switching league affiliations from coast to coast on Boise taters and Texas State toast. Quite possibly, U-Haul may want to begin sponsoring bowls at this rate.

Remember the good ol’ days when the Big Ten actually had that many teams and the folks at the Big East actually owned a compass? Well those times are as outdated as Bear Bryant’s houndstooth hat. Today, universities have begun to mislead a generation of youths. If Lewis and Clark had only possessed foresight they might have been able to smell the salts of the Pacific-10 at around Boulder or Salt Lake City and done a 180 instead of schlepping all the way up the Oregon coast. Sacagawea would not have minded. In fact, she might have been able to show Larry Scott that Utah is not on the Pacific.

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Big Ten Clinching Scenarios for Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Michigan State

The top of the Big Ten Conference involves one of the best races in college football. Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Michigan State are all tied for first at 6-1 in conference play and they’re all 10-1 overall. Wisconsin beat Ohio State but lost at Michigan State, while the Spartans got crushed by Iowa. So with only one regular season game left for each team, who will win the Big Ten? Let’s explore the clinching scenarios:

> Wisconsin (7th in BCS, 5th in AP) – Needs to beat Northwestern and have Michigan State lose. They hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Ohio State, so if both they and the Buckeyes win, Wisconsin will be in first.

> Michigan State (10th in BCS, 11th in AP) – Needs to win at Penn State and have Ohio State lose. They hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Wisconsin, so a Badgers win doesn’t bother them.

> Ohio State (8th in BCS, 8th in AP) – Needs to beat Michigan and have both Wisconsin and Michigan State lose. They lost to Wisconsin and did not face Michigan State, so they need the most help.

*If Wisconsin and Michigan State win but Ohio State loses, the BCS standings will determine the conference winner (likely to be Wisconsin).
*If Ohio State and Michigan State win but Wisconsin loses, the BCS standings will determine the conference winner (likely to be Ohio State).
*If all three teams win, the BCS standings will determine the winner, and that is likely to be Wisconsin.

In the end, Wisconsin has the best path to winning the conference while Michigan State has the most difficult. The Spartans can thank the Big Ten for only having teams play eight conference games per season, missing two opponents each year. They never got a shot at Ohio State to prove what they could do head-to-head and are hurt as a result.