We’ve got a ton of things to cover this morning, but let’s briefly address the Big Ten teleconference this morning. Harvey Perlman and Jim Delany both answered questions regarding college football’s postseason reform.
Perlman played his usual stick-in-the-mud, saying the Big Ten presidents’ preference is the status quo, followed by a plus-one, followed by a four-team playoff that maintained the Big Ten’s relationship with the Rose Bowl.
Then Delany spelled out the Big Ten’s intentions in greater detail. Clearly, the Big Ten does not want to stand in the way of change. You’re likely to see a four-team playoff featuring a selection committee (Delany’s preference).
As Dan Wetzel wrote on Friday, a committee may render the big debate — top-4 or conference champions — somewhat meaningless. On the other hand, Bruce Feldman writes, the pressure on the committee members would be off the charts.
Delany, for what it’s worth, supports a “best four teams” model, but says conference championships should have value.
Delany also said this thing probably wouldn’t be wrapped up by June 26, as expected. I’m OK with dragging it out, as long as the final product is satisfactory.
>> ESPN.com examines Big Ten assistant coaching salaries for football. They find that Nebraska ranks in the middle of the league. Not really a surprise considering Bo Pelini has hired two relatively inexperienced coordinators.
>> Creighton baseball couldn’t beat UCLA Sunday night, but its poise and guts are admirable. Winning the Valley tournament salvaged the season, but the Jays didn’t stop there. Hopefully it’s a springboard to 2013 when the Jays, even if Ty Blach leaves for the draft, should be stronger.
>> Sad to see Brian O’Connor and Virginia lose at home in NCAA regionals. Appalachian State and Oklahoma will play today in Charlottesville for a super regional bid. The other regional surprises: St. John’s beat North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and Kent State knocked out Purdue and Kentucky. It’s always nice to see a cold-weather Cinderella in Omaha.
>> It’s hard to say for sure (since so few games are televised), but the No. 1 game of the weekend had to be South Carolina-Clemson on Saturday. The play at the plate in the bottom of the ninth was the best baseball moment — pro or college — I’ve seen this season.
>> Tim Miles is building what looks like a real Big Ten roster. The latest addition is Florida transfer Walter Pitchford, whose 6-foot-10 frame would look pretty good in the paint. The Huskers are gonna be really, really bad in 2012-13. But Miles is clearly building momentum for the first year of the downtown arena. Now, if he can just sign Akoy Agau…
>> As I wrote on Twitter last night, the Western Conference Finals represents everything great about the NBA. The East? It’s awful to watch. The Heat and Celtics drew a 7.9 rating last night, highest ever for an NBA game on cable. Too bad every other offensive possession was a disaster. Players are more focused on drawing fouls than scoring. And the refs absolutely stink. A close game does not equal a good game. And Sunday’s Heat-Celtics game was not a good game.
>> Omaha has a new sports radio station. The ZONE 2 launched this morning on 1180 AM. Designed to complement sister station 1620 AM, “the Deuce” will feature sports talk by national talent, play-by-play coverage of Creighton baseball, women’s volleyball and basketball; Omaha Storm Chasers baseball, college football, Sunday NFL and more. The ZONE 2 “The Deuce” weekday lineup, from 5 a.m. – 7 p.m., features Steve Czaban, Tim Brando, Dan Patrick, Craig Shemon, and Travis Rogers.
>> Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson retired. Forget money for a moment. Would you rather be a decorated athlete whose career ends at age 35 (like NFL/MLB/NBA players) or age 20 (like Johnson)? At 35, you’re a fully mature adult. But that can be a drawback when you’re trying to start a new life away from competition. At 20, you can start over more easily. But it must be daunting to know that you’re not even an adult and your glory days have already passed you by. What do you think?
>> Justin Blackmon registered a .24 blood-alcohol level and a DUI. That is drunk. If the incident happens before draft — as Alfonzo Dennard’s did — I wonder how far Blackmon would’ve fallen. End of the first round?
>> As Tim Miles tweeted, the University of Colorado is selling its basketball floor for the price of a 2004 Toyota Camry.
>> One of the nation’s best writers, Eli Saslow, details the death of a world-class skier, and what happened next.
>> Interested in Roger Goodell v. the Saints? Don’t miss this opinion from Portland columnist John Canzano.
>> ESPN columnist Chris Jones borrowed the Stanley Cup for one day. Cool story.
>> Mike Vaccaro wrote the best column from Johan Santana’s no-hitter. The pitcher’s mound is a lonely place, but Santana had generations of Mets fans standing with him.
>> Finally, Tiger. On the back nine Sunday — as Tiger continued to burn edges with the putter — I thought to myself: It’s like he exhausted a career’s worth of good fortune before his 35th birthday. Now he can’t buy a big putt. Then Woods got to 16 and did the unthinkable. It was a classic Tiger moment. But to win another flurry of majors, Tiger has to get the putter going again. And I still don’t believe in that part of his game. We’ll see next week at Olympic.