Any other evening I’d be writing a full blown expansion post considering all of the news and speculation today, but the mighty Blackhawks have just won their first Stanley Cup in 49 years!!! It was a little weird that Patrick Kane was the only person in the building that realized that he scored a goal for about 5 minutes, but it more than worth the wait considering that Chicago hockey fans have been suffering for five decades. A tad over 3 years ago, I went to a Hawks-Red Wings game with one of my buddies where the United Center was about half full and the majority of people that were there were Detroit fans. Yet, Rocky Wirtz has been able to completely reverse what seemed to be irreversible damage that his late father had caused to its fan base. I wrote this piece last year about the Hawks being the “Prodigal Franchise” of Chicago and how it has gone about regaining an entire generation of lost fans. Well, those fans definitely aren’t lost anymore. As I sit here in my Blackhawks sweater tonight, I’ve been able to witness arguably the greatest NFL team ever (the ’85 Bears), the greatest set of basketball teams ever (the ’90s Bulls dynasty), my baseball team crush the Curse of the Black Sox (the ’05 White Sox), an Illini berth in the national championship game (with the ’05 Elite Eight comeback game against Arizona that was the most unbelievable sports event that I have ever witnessed) and now a Stanley Cup. Heck, Illinois might retroactively win the Rose Bowl that I attended 2 years ago depending what sanctions get hammered on USC. Looking back, the Sports Gods have blessed me beyond belief. Plus, we’ve got many more years to enjoy Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Congrats Hawks!!!
Now, as for the latest on expansion:
Reports all over are confirming that Nebraska has been invited to the Big Ten, including the Chicago Tribune. Most of the regular readers of this blog established fairly early on that Nebraska would be the most likely school to be invited to the Big Ten and I’ve been getting info for awhile supporting that.
It can’t be that simple, though, right? If you’ve been following my Twitter feed (@frankthetank111), I had a brief interaction with @FakeJimDelany where he asked me whether I had bugged his phone, to which I replied, “I only get my info from Northwestern message boards.” Well, the Northwestern message boards put up another doozy of a rumor tonight: in addition to Nebraska, the Big Ten will be offering invites to Texas, Texas A&M, Notre Dame and Missouri. The Missouri invite, however, is contingent upon either Texas or Notre Dame accepting. Who knows how this is going to play out and whether the Big Ten would truly hand out invites (or more specifically, asking the candidates to fill out the applications for invites) without knowing whether the answer is yes, but I do know that the poster (who had written the infamous post that reportedly sent Jim Delany flying off the handle, was removed for a couple of weeks and is now back online) has a legit and direct connection to the Big Ten office. So, if this offer is true, the choice for Texas is what I laid out in yesterday’s “Double Chess” post: the comfortable Kia of the Pac-10 that won’t upset its Lone Star neighbors or the Rolls Royce of the new Big Ten.
Regardless, Chicago is the center of the sports world on multiple levels for the next few days. The Blackhawks are bringing the Cup home. Let’s see who Jim Delany ends up bringing over to Park Ridge.
(Follow Frank the Tank’s Slant on Twitter @frankthetank111)
(Image from Chicago Tribune)