Published Monday, April 22, 2013 AT 1:30 PM / Updated at 7:55 PM
Mad Chatter, April 22
Dirk Chatelain Omaha World-Herald

Did the window close on Big Ten expansion to 16 teams? It looks that way after ACC schools reportedly agreed to relinquish their TV rights to the conference. It’s big news in college athletics.

“ACC presidents are in the process of clearing this with their departments. The agreement will go to 2026-27, the duration of the league’s contract with ESPN. The deal is not official just yet but, barring an unforseen snag, will be completed.

“Unless a league member decides to go to litigation to escape this down the road, the ACC believes a Grant of Rights will protect it from conference realignment poachers.”

According to reports, if North Carolina or Georgia Tech leaves the ACC, for instance, its media rights — including TV revenue — would stay with the old conference, thus rendering a departure impractical.

The Big 12 made a similar agreement after the league nearly splintered a couple years ago. If Jim Delany and a prospective Big Ten member want each other badly enough, wouldn’t they find a way to make it happen? I don’t know the answer to that.

But if ACC schools are off the board, you can kiss Big Ten expansion goodbye. Who would be left to grab — a Big East school nobody wants? (Don’t answer that.)

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>> Note to college football fans: If you get wrapped up in your spring game attendance ranking, your program probably lacks national relevance.

>> I always appreciate Greg McDermott’s willingness to share his opinion. And I think he’s right on in his assessment of where Creighton needs to improve as it moves into the Big East. McDermott said this in Sunday’s World-Herald:

“I think the thing that stands out when you compare the leagues is that the guards in the Big East are generally bigger and more physical,” McDermott said. “As we recruit over the next couple of years, adding bigger, stronger and more athletic guards is a need we’ve already identified.

“We don’t want to sacrifice the skill level, the work ethic and the character of the guys we’re bringing in. That has to remain a constant, but we also have to try to attract some bigger, more physical guards.”

That’s the test, isn’t it. (That’s exactly how I would’ve worded the quote). Sustain the identity that has made your program successful the past three years, but do it with a higher level athlete. It isn’t easy — skill and athleticism don’t typically grow on the same tree.

Why must Creighton change? Wasn’t this team in the top 25 most of the past two seasons? Didn’t it beat Cincinnati, Wisconsin and Cal? Again, I think McDermott hits the nail on the head.

“It’s easier to beat a team that is superior athletically or stronger in a one-game deal,” McDermott said. “It’s much more difficult to survive an 18-game schedule if you’re inferior in those areas.

“You might be able to hide it or mask it for one game, but it’s hard to do over 18 games.”

>> Mark Emmert is not a popular man among athletic directors. The relationship between the NCAA and its high-profile schools is toxic.

>> It’s early. Very early. But to watch the Royals go into Boston and take two of three during an emotional weekend (while ruining the Sox’ seven-game win streak) has to mean something, right? Alex Gordon continues his hot start and the pitching staff continues to look very good. Let’s see where Kansas City stands on Memorial Day. But right now, it looks like an exciting summer at Kauffman.

>> Joe Posnanski examines Gregg Popovich, a reluctant but likable coaching icon who “has a deep and unrelenting sensitivity to stupidity.” There’s much here I didn’t know, including the fact that Popovich had professional roots at Kansas, working for Larry Brown.

>> Without basketball, Allen Iverson’s life is headed for dark places. A profile of AI at the lost age of 37.

>> USA Today ranks the 30 No. 1 picks since 1983. Bo Jackson is dead-last … only because he didn’t play for the Bucs.

>> Speaking of the Bucs, they aren’t messing around on defense. Adding Darrelle Revis to an already solid young core (Lavonte David and Mark Barron were rookies) doesn’t quite put them on par with the Bucs’ Super Bowl defense. But it certainly makes Drew Brees’ life more difficult in the NFC South.

>> Mocking someone’s intellect is the worst form of ridicule. But this clip of Philadelphia news anchors reacting to Ryan Lochte’s interview is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. And I must admit, pretty hilarious.

>> The 2013 tennis season is beginning to look an awful lot like 2011. Novak Djokovic dominated Rafa Nadal Sunday in Monte Carlo, where Rafa had won eight straight titles.

>> Parity reigns in college basketball. But we may be looking at a few of the most dominant college baseball teams in recent memory. Top-ranked North Carolina is a stunning 39-2. And LSU, despite a loss Sunday at Alabama, is 37-4.

Last year, Stony Brook entered the CWS with the fewest losses (13). In the past decade, only two teams qualified for the CWS with fewer than 10 losses — 2010 Arizona State (51-8) and 2008 Miami (52-9). The Tar Heels and Tigers might beat those marks this season.

>> Of course, UNC and LSU aren’t the big stories locally. Nebraska and Creighton just wrapped up sweeps. Friday night they meet in the TD Ameritrade Classic, joining Oklahoma State and Rutgers in the field. NU will play four games (two against the Cowboys), Creighton will play three.

For the Huskers, these next two weekends are critical. On May 4-6, they host Indiana, whose RPI is in the top 20. Is a Big Ten regular season title in the works? Is an NCAA tournament at-large bid still possible? We’ll know a lot more on May 6. But the Huskers appear to be catching fire at the perfect time.

About Dirk Chatelain

Dirk Chatelain is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and general assignments. You can follow Dirk on Twitter (@dirkchatelain) or email him at dchatelain@owh.com