First, a caveat: I cannot see the Big Ten adopting an SEC-style championship game. I wish they would, but -- remember -- this is the league that hates playoffs in all forms.
There are a lot of contenders out there that have been tossed around: Pitt, Mizzou, Rutgers... obviously, Notre Dame is a non-starter. I hadn't seen one name that I think is the best fit of all:
I'm going to crib from my own column this morning for the reasons why:
*Academic credentials are impeccable.After thinking through the reasons why it works, I cannot understand why this isn't the obvious choice.
*Football program is solid.
*Triple-option is "3 Yards/Cloud" 2.0
*Can keep trad'l games w/ Army, AFA, ND.
*Better than Notre Dame.
*Nearly beat Ohio State this season.
*Non-competitive recruiting strategy.
*But expands B10 footprint in the East.
*Feds could use the BCS bowl revenue.
*It is entirely uncontroversial.
(UPDATE: Got an email from someone with a smart point -- Navy would kill the Big Ten's hoops schedule strength. So pull a page from Notre Dame hoops and the Big East: Navy comes into the Big Ten for football only. Probably should have thought that through. Great point. Maybe yoink Notre Dame from the Big East as a hoops addition in the Big Ten, but I'm not sure Big Ten basketball needs a 12th team as much as football does.)
More you'll find in today's column:
*I don't care about 18-0 Colts vs. 18-0 Saints in the Super Bowl. The entire story is whether or not the Saints win the Super Bowl, at all. (Doing it perfectly would be a bonus -- it doesn't really matter who they play to pull it off.)
*Central Michigan is Cincinnati's coaching pipeline -- and, given the track record, why shouldn't it be?
*My once-a-season moment for Jon Scheyer cheerleading. Yes, I hate that I am his fan -- he is the most disliked player in college basketball. You think I want to root for that? Plus: You know how much I dislike Duke hoops. At least I only have a few more months to go.
*The Rockets already proved they don't need Tracy McGrady to be a playoff contender in the West; here's hoping they are giving him a 10 mpg showcase so that they can offload him.
*What we can learn from the best-ever audience for this season's Heisman Trophy ceremony.
Lots more, too. More coming later. Don't forget to check out the post below for my latest take-your-kid-to-sports-event experiment in the NYT.