The conference expansion showdown continues, with the latest development an Omaha World-Herald report that Nebraska may join the Big Ten as soon as Friday. As with everything else on this topic, whether they're right remains to be seen. What I don't understand is why Texas, who supposedly doesn't want to switch conferences because they make tons of money and have very little competition in the Big 12, will leave if the Cornhuskers bail out. Add Utah to the conference to take Nebraska's place and you get the Salt Lake City TV market plus a football team that's won two BCS bowls and gone undefeated twice since 2004. Why would blowing up everything to go be a part of a 16 team conference be preferable to that?
There's a new front runner for lamest excuse by a college athlete for an idiotic decision. Mississippi State's Dee Bost put his name in for the NBA Draft, despite having absolutely no chance of being selected. As a result people expected him to pull his name out before the NCAA imposed deadline of May 8, which he did not do. Now, a month later, Bost is trying to claim he didn't know the new NCAA rule applied to him and he should be allowed to keep playing for the Bulldogs next season. Bost had reporters asking him about his status because of the deadline. I'm sure Rick Stansbury and his staff weren't bashful about suggesting pulling out would be a fine idea. One of his teammates knew abut the rule and removed his name. Yet Bost would like the NCAA to believe he didn't quite grasp what all that was about. MSU is supporting his appeal, because it's clear there's absolutely nothing too shameless for that program to do if it will get them a player, but they know it's a farce. I hate to see kids make horrible choices, but Bost did and he has to own it now.
When the Atlanta ESPN Zone closed back in October of last year I wondered how much longer the other nine existing locations had on the clock. The answer turns out to have been nine months, as almost all of them will shut down with the exception of one at a Disney property. While the folks at the Atlanta location were great to deal with when I needed to do shows in their city, the ESPN Zone concept seemed flawed to me. it seemed they were more interested in being a Dave & Buster's "adult video arcade" than they were a sports bar. If they'd focused more on the sports aspect and giving fans the latest technology with access to special ESPN content as a reason for them to watch games there, it might have been a sustainable success. Giving customers the same thing they could watch at home on small sets in the dining room while charging twelve bucks for a Stuart Scott "boo-ya" burger really wasn't that exciting.
If there was going to be an ESPN Zone left in Washington DC, they'd probably be looking to capitalize on the excitement over Stephen Strasburg's arrival in the majors. Even before he struck out 14 Pirates in seven innings last night, doing so in two fewer pitches than anyone had used to strike out that many men in the history of the game, three DC area establishments had already put their own Strasburgers on the menu. One features two honey glazed burgers, jack cheese & fried onions for $11.37. I've heard of honey wheat buns and of some places using glazed doughnuts cut in half for buns as a stunt, but who puts honey on ground beef? That sounds horrible.