Big buildup. Big letdown.
But that's the Big Ten.
League commissioner Jim Delany had his 37 minutes in the spotlight Tuesday at the league meetings in Chicago, and when he wasn't babbling about beer and brats, he spoke about demographics in relation to the league's ongoing study of possible expansion.
"In the last 20 years there has been a clear shift of movement into the Sun Belt," he said. "The rates of growth in the Sun Belt are four times the rate in the East or the Midwest. That has demographic meaning long term for the economy, for jobs, for recruitment of students, for recruitment of athletes, for recruitment of faculty, for tax base."
Delany wouldn't name any possible expansion candidates, but his comments ignited speculation — again — that Texas remains a prime target. The problem is that the Longhorns — much like Notre Dame — have shown little or no interest in becoming a member of the Big Ten.
Delany said there will be no decision or vote by league presidents on expansion until this fall and there is a possibility the league — get this — will not expand.
But that's the Big Ten.
Adam Rittenberg, ESPN.com: Just because Delany talked about a population shift to the South doesn't mean the Big Ten will start pursuing a bunch of southern schools. It's more likely the Big Ten will become even stronger in the northern half of the country (Midwest, East Coast) to offset the changing demographics. That said, the Big Ten would be crazy not to want Texas if the school was interested in joining.
Dennis Dodd, CBS Sports.com: The only hard news to come out of Tuesday is that nothing will happen until June 6 as that's when the Big Ten presidents next meet. They will not be voting on any new members, Delany said. "You bring the beer," he told reporters, "we'll cook the brats. But if you think there will be any earth-shattering announcements on June 6, I don't think you'll get them."
Tom Shatel, Omaha World-Herald: You get a little goofy after sitting in a hotel lobby for eight hours waiting for somebody to come over and hand you the story that the Big Ten is inviting Nebraska and Missouri to join the club. That story hasn't yet materialized. In fact, the plot thickened. Actually, it got downright murky.
Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune: Don't overlook the academic affiliation side of Big Ten expansion.
Marc Morehouse, Cedar Rapids Gazette: Delany seems to be tuned into the etiquette of all of this. He said a few times that the conference didn't want to put itself in a negative light and it didn't want to put other schools in a negative light.
Chris Hine, Chicago Tribune: Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, a former Notre Dame player, thinks the Fighting Irish would benefit by joining the Big Ten.
Dave Birkett, Ann Arbor.com: Don't look for Big Ten teams to play more than a handful of games on Thursday night. "We think the games should be on Saturday," Delany said. Plus, boiling down the expansion talk.
Scott Michaux, Augusta Chronicle: The Big Ten could kill college football as we know it.