SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It was cloudy and in the mid-60s -- brrrrrr! -- here today at the Royal Palms Resort, and that is the most shocking thing coming out of the second day of the BCS meetings.
Big Ten expansion plans revealed!
"There has been no change in our timetable," commissioner Jim Delany said. "There are no announcements here. And there are no notifications here. We're still on a 12- to 18-month time frame."
Delany's announcement that there will be no announcement -- and probably none anytime soon -- likely tossed a wet blanket on anything "earth-shattering" (Delany's term) happening before everyone packs up and goes home Thursday afternoon.
So much for a cataclysm rocking college football. At least this week.
A few interesting side notes, though.
Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott was asked about whether long and expensive travel, not to mention a lack of interest, might damage a potential conference championship game. Perhaps, he admitted, before adding an intriguing "but": "I would not rule out an NFL-style, home-team advantage," he said.
Scott also added that he will appoint a "TV consultant" next month to explore the conference's media options, which could include a Pac-10 network.
First-year Big East commissioner John Marinatto said his decision to bring aboard former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue as a consultant grew out of two things. First, he had a chance encounter with Tagliabue at a Georgetown basketball game. Second, because Delany had advised him months before to "learn to think strategically about the future." That's interesting because the strategic futures of Marinatto and Delany may be at cross purposes.
The most relaxed man at the meetings is SEC commissioner Mike Slive, whose conference has captured four consecutive BCS football national titles. Still, the SEC is paying attention to the rumblings over potential conference expansion. Said Slive: "Given the success the SEC has experienced over the past decade, we are very comfortable with the position in which we find ourselves today. Having said that, if there is going to be a significant shift in the conference paradigm, the SEC will be strategic and thoughtful to make sure that it maintains its position as one of the nation's preeminent conferences."
Slive also added this quote on other conferences considering expansion that deserves its own bullet point: "We know who we are. They want to look and see who they are."
The Mountain West Conference is in position to play its way into automatic qualifying by the 2012 and 2013 seasons, the last two years of the new BCS cycle. BCS executive director Bill Hancock was a bit vague on the process, which is notably complicated, but success over the next two seasons relative to other conferences could mean the MWC would become a seventh automatic qualifier.
Hancock said expansion was never broached during the meetings. He called the meetings "collegial, thoughtful." He emphasized the widespread contentment with the BCS, noting that "We're now planning as though it's going to be here in 2040." So start the 2041 playoff talk.
Hancock said there was one membership gripe: Mid-week BCS bowl games after Jan. 1. "That's something we'd like to change in the future." That seems to mean spreading out the games on the weekends during prime-time slots.
While Delany mildly scolded reporters for some of the expansion speculation that's been all the rage over the past weeks and months, that's not going to stop anyone from trying to read the tea leaves and predict where things are going.
Sure, Delany left open the option that the Big Ten will do nothing and remain an 11-team league. But few folks seem to believe that will happen. His insistence that a conference championship game is not the centerpiece of expansionist plans also seemed to indicate that the addition of more than one team is a real possibility.
What does this mean for the Pac-10?
Perhaps nothing. Scott reiterated that he doesn't feel expansion outside of the West Coast would force the Pac-10 to expand.
He also admitted that, much like Delany, he has little -- nothing, actually -- to report on his conference's potential expansion plans. He noted his message is nearly identical since he first was asked about expansion at Pac-10 media day last July.
"If I said anything different since, it hasn't been purposeful," he said.