Jim Delany, you've got everyone right where you want them, now its time to take it home.
You've worked it to perfection, you've said nothing for 6 months and let wild speculation put you in perfect position for expansion.
Consider this, 6 months ago when the Big 10 announced it would study expansion I said to one of my friends "wouldn't it be awesome if the Big 10 could get Nebraska, but they would never leave the Big 12," and now look, Nebraska is practically begging for an invite to the Big 10.
How did you pull it off?
By giving no insight into what your plans are and letting everyone else get worked up over nothing but speculation—so much so in fact, that the Big 12 was in such a panic at their presidents' meeting last weekend that they were apparently giving out ultimatums to their member schools to promise they wouldn't leave for the Big 10—all this without the Big 10 actually doing much of anything.
You've got the power, now use it.
I have a feeling your ultimate goal was to let the speculation of the impending mega conferences scare Notre Dame into joining the Big 10 before they really want to, but I don't think that's going to work. I think ND will actually want to see the Big East crumble before they agree to join.
So lets move past Notre Dame for now and add Nebraska, just Nebraska, and be happy to be adding of the most storied football programs and rabid fans bases in the country to our conference. Then sit tight and watch what happens...
(1) maybe the Big 12 south rejects the Pac 10 and replaces Nebraska with TCU, the Pac 10 sits tight for now, and the college athletic landscape is not drastically altered.
Or (2) Texas, Oklahoma et a l don't want to stay in a depleted Big 12 and they bolt for the Pac 16—this starts a crazy chain of expanding that will probably effect all conferences and probably result in other 16 team super-conferences forming—this would force Notre Dame into joining the Big 10—add Mizzu, Pitt, and Rutgers to get to 16 and the Big 10 is in great shape as a new super conference.
Either way the Big 10 is sitting pretty, and this way the Big 10 isn't the main culprit to destroying any conference, if the Big 12 is destroyed and mega-conferences ensue. You just plucked up one team in Nebraska.
It's the Pac 10 that followed by taking 6 teams.
A word of advice, just don't sit around too long and let this opportunity pass.
Nebraska may eventually be forced to pledge its allegiance to the Big 12 if they don't hear from you soon (THIS WEEK!) and then we are stuck without a one team home run option (assuming that ND ain't comin' right now) with Nebraska and ND not interested.
Lets face it, the Big East teams are fine to fill out 16, but they don't stand out on their own to be the lone 12th school added to the conference.
So, Congrats Jim, you've put the Big 10 in a great position, now take advantage of it and go grab Nebraska!
They fit in the Big 10, they will generate hype with big time match-ups against Ohio State, Penn St, Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
They will pack stadiums, and generate national interest.
They are a large state school and their mascot is a Cornhusker, enough said!
They may not be the academic powerhouse you're wishing for, but they are good enough academically to qualify for the Big 10, and they can get better upon joining.
So Jim, in the words of Larry the cable guy, Git 'er done!