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Urban's gone rural

04 December 2018 - 12:15 PM

Adios mofo...

Pelini mum on future as season nears its end

07 November 2018 - 12:55 PM

The big picture remains on the back burner with Youngstown State’s football team.

Things like Bo Pelini’s future as the head coach and giving looks to younger players with the playoffs out of the picture are not at the forefront.

The Penguins (3-6, 2-4 Missouri Valley Football Conference) have two games left in the season and winning those are the priority. Pelini, who is in the final season of a four-year contract, declined to answer when asked if he wanted to return to YSU.

“I don’t talk about that until the season is over. I never have and I never will,” Pelini said. “It’s not how we do business and we’re all on the same page.”

Pelini called out the team’s effort and energy after a 43-17 loss to Indiana State on Oct. 27 and on Tuesday, he said he saw improvement in those areas in last week’s 17-7 loss to No. 1 North Dakota State. Now the challenge is maintaining said effort when No. 22 Northern Iowa (5-2, 4-2) comes to Stambaugh Stadium on Saturday.

It is the Penguins’ home finale.

“In my mind if we were able to play that way with that kind of energy and effort, we could be sitting here with our record flipped or at 7-2, but we’re not,” Pelini said.




Another Commit Spree

31 October 2018 - 11:11 AM

Love the legacy commits, especially 6'3' DBs...

25 Famous Female Sex Symbols From the 2000s Who Look Totally Different Now

21 September 2018 - 04:40 PM

Remember your entertainment idols from the 2000s? Some of them remain prominent throughout the years and to this day, while others have gradually faded from the spotlight; there’s no denying, however, that each of them changed the entertainment landscape of the 2000s.

Check out these 25 women who cemented themselves as musical icons, acting superstars, and all-around powerhouses of talent and fame.



1. Britney Spears

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Throughout her career, it’s fair to say Britney Spears has remained a pop-music icon. Her career in the early 2000s was about as mainstream and successful as a career can be. Spears was catapulted to stardom with the release of debut album …Baby One More Time in 2000, and continued to produce record-breaking singles though 2005.

In 2007, Spears’ personal struggles came to a head. While her music career was still going strong, her personal life suffered. Spears underwent a high-profile divorce, and custody battle for her two children. Through the turmoil, Spears managed to continue producing music (Blackout, Circus, Femme Fatale), while simultaneously raising her two sons.

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In 2013, Spears announced her concert residency in Las Vegas, with a show titled Britney: Piece of Me. She also began work on her eighth studio album, Britney Jean. Spears followed up in 2016 with her ninth and most recent studio album, Glory, and is now turning her residency show into a world tour. Now that’s what we call a comeback!


2. Jessica Simpson

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Jessica Simpson’s music career took off in the early 2000s. During the recording of her second studio album, Irresistible, she adopted a more mature public image, which took her to the forefront of the teen-pop scene. Simpson and her former husband Nick Lachey starred on MTV reality show Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica in 2003, the same year she played Daisy Duke in the Dukes of Hazard movie.

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In 2014, Simpson got re-married Eric Johnson; the couple has two children. She has also announced an eighth studio album!


3. Liv Tyler

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Liv Tyler reached international fame in 2001, while playing Arwen Undómiel in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Following that major success, she went on to star in Jersey Girl, The Hulk (2008), and home invasion horror film The Strangers.

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More recently, Tyler’s acting career continues in roles such as BBC’s Gunpowderminiseries, and Hulu’s period drama Harlots. She is now a mother of three, and has actively supported UNICEF and other charitable organizations throughout her career.


4. Ashlee Simpson

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Ashlee Simpson followed in her big sister’s pop-star footsteps about five years after; in 2004, Ashlee released her first album, Autobiography. Simpson followed the massively successful release with I Am Me in 2005 and Bittersweet World in 2008.

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More recently, Simpson decided to suspend on her music career indefinitely and focus on her family; she has two children.


5. Mandy Moore

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Mandy Moore began her career with the release of her debut single “Candy” in 1999, following up with acting roles in The Princess Diaries and starring in A Walk to Remember.

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In more recent years, Moore voiced Rapunzel in Disney’s 2010 animated movie Tangled, and starred on Grey’s Anatomy the same year. Currently, she’s starring on NBC’s comedy-drama This is Us, and has announced a return to music in the near future.


6. Eve

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Rapper, songwriter and actress Eve made her musical breakthrough in the late nineties and early 2000s. With hits like “Who’s That Girl?” “Let Me Blow Your Mind,” and “Gangsta Lovin,” she became internationally famous and began taking on film roles as well. Her very own television series, Eve, ran from 2003 to 2006. After the release of her third album Eve-Olution, however, there was a ten-year gap between albums. What happened there?

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As of 2013, Eve returned to the music scene with Lip Lock, her fourth album. She has since toured with Gwen Stefani and replaced Aisha Tyler as a co-host of The Talk.


7. Mischa Barton

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Mischa Barton was the it-girl when she starred on The O.C. as Marissa Cooper,deemed the “Next Big Thing” by Glamour Magazine. When her character was killed off the show, Barton’s career hit a stand-still.

By the mid-2000s, Barton was dealing with multiple rough patches. She appeared in a number of unsuccessful films, and ran into trouble with the law. After an arrest for possession of marijuana in 2007, she was held in a psychiatric facility for two weeks in 2009.

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Later, in 2013, Barton told People magazine that her breakdown was the result of her struggles with anxiety and media scrutiny. She went on to compete in Dancing with the Stars in 2016, where she finished in 11th place. Most recently, she received crucial acclaim for her work in Deserted, and is currently working on several film projects. All in all, a stellar recovery!


8. Mya

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Mya self-titled first album gained her immediate attention in 1998, and her 2000 follow-up album, Fear of Flying, brought her into the fold of superstardom. If you’ve seen Moulin Rouge!, you’ll probably remember the worldwide hit Lady Marmalade, which featured a collaborated between Lil’ Kim, P!nk, Christina Aguilera, and Mya. The quartet won a Grammy for the project.

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Mya has continued to make music, even creating an independent record label: Planet 9. Mya is currently in the process of making a new studio album, and starring on AMC’s 5th Ward series.


9. Christina Aguilera

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In 2002, Christina Aguilera began moving in a new musical direction with her Stripped album, and generated a new image for herself. Her music, which effectively shed the teen-pop image to address sexuality and expression, raised several eyebrows. “”I’m in the power position, in complete command of everything and everybody around me. To be totally balls-out like that is, for me, the measure of a true artist,” Aguilera explained to Blender magazine at the time.

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More recently, Aguilera has taken on a number of acting roles in addition to continuing her music career. She has been acknowledged as one of the most successful artists of the 2000s!


10. Rihanna

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Rihanna first arrived on the pop scene in 2005 with Music of the Sun and her hit single Pon de Replay. She adopted a sex symbol image with Good Girl Gone Bad in 2007, and became an icon of R&B and pop music.

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Since the 2000s, Rihanna has become one of the best-selling artists of all time, included in 2012’s Time 100 list of the most influential people, and named “Humanitarian of the Year” by the Harvard Foundation in 2017. The eight-time Grammy-winner is currently working on her ninth studio album. This is one 2000s female icon who won’t rest on her laurels!


11. Shakira

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Shakira made her American debut in 2001 with the release of Laundry Service. 2005’s Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 features the single that, even if you don’t know Shakira, you’ve definitely heard: Hips Don’t Lie.

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The Colombian singer has continued to reinforce her superstardom over the years; she’s got awards, renown, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and has been listed among the world’s top 100 most powerful women by Forbes. Talk about a powerhouse!


12. Jennifer Love Hewitt

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Jennifer Love Hewitt was declared “the most popular actress on television” for her Q-rating in 2000, the same year she starred in The Audrey Hepburn Story. She went on to play in several film roles over the years, before moving to television with Ghost Whisperer from 2005-10.

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From there, she went on to star in The Client List in 2010, earning a Golden Globe nomination. It was there she met her husband, Brian Hallisay, with whom she had two children.


13. Hilary Duff

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Hilary Duff became a household name in the 2000s for both her music and acting careers. The famous Disney channel show Lizzie McGuire premiered in January of 2001, quickly becoming a hit and earning Duff ‘teen idol’ status. She continued acting on the show and appearing in films, most notably Cheaper by the Dozen and A Cinderella Story, while working on her music career at the same time.

In 2007, alongside the release of her fourth studio album Dignity, Duff began to cultivate a more mature image. She appeared in numerous film and television roles and released a Greatest Hits album.

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Duff and now ex-husband Mike Comrie welcomed a son, Luca, in 2012. Duff and Comic divorced amicably in 2016, and she released her fifth album Breathe in. Breathe Out. the same year. Currently, Duff stars on the TV show Younger, and has returned to designing apparel.


14. Rachel Bilson

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Rachel Bilson’s acting career hit it off in 2003, with her debut as Summer Roberts on The O.C. While her character was only supposed to appear in a few episodes of the show, the character’s run was so successful that she was promoted to series regular. In 2005, she was ranked sixth of Maxim’s “Hot 100 List,” and her first film role followed the next year when she appeared in The Last Kiss.

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Bilson starred in the CW series Hart of Dixie, which ran from 2011 to 2015. She welcomed a daughter in 2014 with partner Hayden Christensen, though the pair have since separated.

Most recently, Bilson joined the cast of upcoming ABC drama Take Two.

15. Jessica Alba
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Jessica Alba’s big break came in 2000, when she starred in Fox’s sci-fi series Dark Angel (for which she also earned a Golden Globe nomination). Over the next several years she starred in a wide range of films, including Honey, Sin City, Fantastic Four, and The Eye.

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Alba’s acting career has slowed in recent years, as she has taken on new projects outside of the industry. She is currently the co-founder of The Honest Company, and has since released a book about her experiences creating a natural, non-toxic environment for her family (also the focus of the company). She is a mother of three children.

16. Angelina Jolie
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Angelina became a leading lady in Hollywood with her role as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider’s 2001 film adaptation. Jolie continued to star in hit action movies Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Wanted, and Salt.

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Jolie remains in the midst of a prolific and highly public career that has expanded into humanitarian efforts. She’s a mother of six, a Special Envoy to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees—oh yeah, she’s been cited more than once as the world’s most beautiful woman.


17. Alicia Keys

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Alicia Keys’ debut album, Sons In A Minor, quickly sent international fame her way. Over the course of the 2000s’, she became one of the biggest R&B stars in the world, collecting awards and commercial success as she went.

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Not that she’s stopped, by any means. Continuing to release music, as well as joining the ranks of The Voice’s team coaches, Keys is keeping busy while working on her seventh studio album.


18. Monica Bellucci

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Italian actress and model Monica Bellucci became one of America’s faves after appearing in 2003’s Matrix Reloaded, though she’s been acting since the early 90s.

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Declared one of the sexiest women alive, Bellucci continues to appear in acting roles—including 2015’s James Bond film Spectre.


19. Megan Fox

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Megan Fox’s breakout role came in 2007 with Transformers, though she’s been acting since the early 2000s.

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More recently, you may have seen Fox in the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle films, or even in a turn on New Girl. The actress has been recognized as one of the modern female sex symbols of the 21st century.


20. Scarlett Johansson

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Scarlett Johansson made the transition into more adult film roles in 2003. Within the year she was getting Golden Globe nominations for her work in Girl with a Pearl Earring and Lost in Translation.

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Now among the world’s highest-paid (and regarded) actresses, Johansson is an established public figure. She’s a cinematic superhero, actress and philanthropist.


21. Mila Kunis

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After her long-running stint on That ‘70s Show, Mila Kunis got her breakout film role in 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

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After first reaching fame in the 2000s, Kunis continued starring in numerous films including Ted and Bad Moms. She’s also married to That ‘70s Show co-star Ashton Kutcher, and the pair have two kids.


22. Lucy Liu

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Lucy Liu cemented her sex symbol and all-around powerhouse status when she burst onto the big screen with Charlie’s Angels in 2000.

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Since then, Liu has steadily furthered her acting career and currently plays Joan Watson on Elementary.


23. Keira Knightley

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Keira Knightley’s big break came with Pirates of the Caribbean in 2003, after which she became an international star. She went on to show off her dramatic acting chops in 2005’s Pride & Prejudice, which earned her critical acclaim.

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Both actress and philanthropist, Knightley has continued acting in film and theater, even returning to Pirates of the Caribbean for Dead Men Tell No Tales in 2017.


24. Jessica Biel

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Jessica Biel’s prominent film career kicked off with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 2003. In the following years, her acting career exponentially boomed and she was widely recognized as a Hollywood sex symbol in 2006 and 07.

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Biel has steered her career into more independent features and producing nowadays, so that she can make “interesting roles” happen, rather than waiting for them to come. She’s also married to Justin Timberlake, and the two have a son.


25. Rachel McAdams

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It’s impossible to forget Rachel McAdams’ rise to fame with the hilarious Mean Girlsand romantic drama The Notebook (both in 2004), after which she was known as the new “it girl” of Hollywood.

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McAdams continues to tear up the big screen, most recently in Doctor Strange, Game Night, and Disobedience. Her highest-profile role in recent years was in Academy Award-winning film Spotlight.


The Big Ten Needs to Contract

18 September 2018 - 06:27 PM

By Patrick Vint on September 18, 2018 at 10:00 am


There was a time, not that long ago when The Big Ten was actually a big ten.  From 1952 to 1992, the league was made up of core schools in a basic footprint.  Ohio State in the east, Iowa in the west, eight other schools in between.  And while it might not have been the most interesting football conference -- two schools in particular had a tendency to win all the time -- it certainly wasn't totally embarrassing (1970s Iowa and pretty-much-the-entire-timeframe Northwestern notwithstanding).

But Ohio State/Michigan/Hayden-era Iowa/occasionally interesting Mike White-era Illinois weren't enough for the league, especially once the NCAA stranglehold on televised football came to an end.  And so the conference added some star power: Joe Paterno's Penn State, which was the first post-ten Big Ten team in 1993.  The Nittany Lions spent the rest of the 90s running the show, going 70-16 overall and 41-15 in the conference.  And then Paterno finally slipped for a while on the field, and then Paterno's mistakes off the field ended his tenure.

Penn State was a decent fit.  It was in a state further east than any other Big Ten school, but the school was still largely Midwestern.  It's west of the Appalachians.  It has a dairy.  It's in the middle of nowhere, and it was a traditional football powerhouse that was still relevant at the time it was added.  Furthermore, Penn State didn't lose its recruiting territory when it came to the Big Ten; many of its players were drawn from within the Big Ten footprint or neighboring states, where Penn State Football was still Penn State Football.  If you take away the horrible crimes committed within its program and the stigma that came from those crimes, there would be little reason to dispute Penn State's inclusion in the conference.

But that's a big 'if'.

We were told that business mandated expansion to include Nebraska in 2011.  The Big Ten Network, the biggest gamble ever taken by the league, was a gigantic success, a money tree that somehow didn't grow so large that it harmed the conference's top-tier broadcast rights. 

But the Big Ten Network/broadcast television revenue model bastardized the league's goals.  Now the league wanted big names -- and the big national broadcast dollars their games could command -- and cable-connected local television sets with cable companies willing to pay absurd carriage fees for BTN.

Jim Delany first used all of his television money to destabilize the Big 12, correctly sensing that the conference was quickly falling into a black hole centered in Austin and that its lack of history and geography made divisions natural and inevitable.  He waved a bunch of cash at Nebraska and promoted the Big Ten's all-for-one mentality, and suddenly Nebraska was a Big Ten team.

But the Nebraska that Delany landed was a decade removed from relevance.  They had jettisoned not just their coach and staff, but their entire philosophy, in 2004.  The result had been a disaster, at least compared to the previous decade's standard, and a second coaching change had peaked with the Cornhuskers as a solid also-ran in the Big 12.

Nebraska's move to the Big Ten didn't do anything to help bolster the Huskers.  Quite to the contrary, it added a modicum of academic standards missing in those mid-90s teams.  And to the extent that Nebraska had a post-Osborne recruiting philosophy -- Texas, California, Florida, sometimes all at once -- it certainly wasn't inside the Big Ten footprint.  Nebraska's previous mistakes had made it less relevant on the national stage; Nebraska's move to the Big Ten only accelerated the slide.

In 2014, Delany shocked the world by adding Maryland and Rutgers to the conference.  It was a blatant play for cable-connected televisions in Washington D.C. and New York City, and nothing more.  Maryland athletics was saddled with crippling debt that Big Ten lucre could fix; Rutgers was essentially a mid-major program.  Neither had a football program with any sort of history; Maryland had won a single ACC championship since 1985, and Rutgers had long since lost program savior Greg Schiano to the NFL, quickly falling back into the lower tiers of mediocrity.

All three of the most recent Big Ten expansion teams lost this weekend.  Nebraska, which is on its third coach and third athletic director since joining the league and constantly flailing at the next fad as a cure-all to the program's fundamental problems, lost to Troy at home in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated.  Those problems -- a total lack of recruiting base, flagging national relevance from its brand, and a fan base too impatient to accept lower expectations or wait for the program to recover organically -- remain, and have remained since they joined the Big Ten eight seasons ago.  The Huskers have played in one Big Ten title game, back in 2012, and gave up 70 to Wisconsin.  From 2013 through present, Nebraska is 22-20 in the conference, and has lost games to Northern Illinois, Colorado and Troy in the last two seasons.

Rutgers, which is on its second football coach and second athletic director in less than five years since joining the Big Ten, lost by 41 to Kansas.

Let's try that again.



After posting a respectable 7-5 record in their first season in the Big Ten (albeit with a 3-5 in-conference record), Rutgers has failed to win more than four games in the last three seasons and looks dead-set on making it four in a row.  The Scarlet Knights are now 7-28 in Big Ten games, after getting obliterated by Ohio State in the season's second week.  Their previous coach was fired for trying to coerce better grades for his players from university professors, and the prior athletic director was fired for that and a couple of other scandals.  Rutgers hasn't really been competitive in any sport since joining the conference.

Maryland lost by 21 points to Temple, a team that had previously been defeated by Villanova and Buffalo.  The Terps are 10-24 in Big Ten games, and peaked with one seven-win season in their first campaign.  Maryland fired one coach in 2015 and might well fire another, mostly because the second coach was supposed to be in charge when a player died this summer.  But, hey, they have beaten Texas twice!

In fifteen combined seasons, the Jim Delany expansion teams have lost fewer than three conference games exactly once (the 2012 Nebraska season).  The Delany expansion teams have played in one Big Ten title game (again, the 2012 Nebraska season).  They have not played in a January bowl game since the 2013 season (Nebraska played Georgia in the Gator Bowl).  They are now a combined 3-5 on this season, with losses to Kansas, Troy, Temple and Colorado.  In other words, it's not likely that any of those streaks are getting broken in 2018.  Maryland is mired in scandal.  Rutgers is recently emerging from its own.

And even if the three programs weren't complete mediocrities on the football field, the rationale for their admission has been exposed as short-sighted.  Carriage fee models are being ripped apart by cord-cutting, and BTN's demands for basic cable space (and basic cable fees) are being challenged anew by cable providers who no longer want to pay premium fees for a niche network.  While BTN can transition to streaming -- it's already available through Hulu -- moving toward a post-cable model means throwing out the very business strategy that made the Big Ten the nation's most profitable conference just a few years ago.

Meanwhile, Nebraska's role as a western counterweight to the Ohio State/Michigan/Penn State/Michigan State eastern oligopoly has been ceded to Wisconsin.  The conference -- not its rivals, but the conference itself -- moved the Cornhuskers out of their traditional Black Friday national showcase so that the Big Ten's network partners could get the Badgers against Iowa.  And Nebraska's mediocrity has harmed competitive balance in the conference, to the point where an undefeated Big Ten West champion would possibly be left out of the playoff due to schedule weakness.

The Big Ten has not been a boon for the Delany expansion teams, either.  Sure, the finances have been fine.  Maryland is working its way out of debt, and Rutgers and Nebraska have enough money to fire coaches and athletic directors as often as they like.  But Nebraska's football recruiting has failed to find its footing in the Big Ten; removed from its already-tenuous connection to Texas, the Cornhuskers have focused on Ohio, then Florida, then California, and now Florida again.  Maryland and Rutgers remain eastern outliers in a Midwestern conference, interlopers that are here as part of a cynical business arrangement, and generally uncompetitive in the only sport providing that money so desperately needed.

So let's get divorced.

Nebraska would still be a prime property for the Big 12, especially now that the conference's finances have stabilized and Texas's control of everything has been moderated by the Longhorn Network's limited success.  The Cornhuskers would have access to Texas recruits again, the games against Oklahoma their fans so desperately want, and improvement in the sports (baseball in particular) where they used to excel and have now collapsed.

Like Nebraska, Maryland could likely return to the ACC as part of the sixteen-team league that they have repeatedly suggested as their endgame.  The Big Ten can buy out the Terps with enough money to pay off that pesky debt and operate in the black going forward, in exchange for the privilege of never having the Big Ten basketball tournament set foot in Washington D.C. again.

Rutgers would be hurt, not only because they got such a gargantuan upgrade from the AAC when they were picked, but because they don't really have a landing area.  Perhaps the Big 12 would take them as a partner to West Virginia, or the ACC as the sixteenth team (although, frankly, UConn makes more sense for a conference that already has Syracuse and Boston College).  Maybe Rutgers just accepts its fate and stops playing sports altogether.  They never should have been B1G to begin with, and I don't much care what happens to them going forward.

And as for the Big Ten, the conference finally has a chance to do what it really wants to do: A ten-game round robin in football that guarantees schedule dominance and playoff participation for its champion.  Revenues will remain at a level high enough to run eleven of the biggest, most lucrative sports programs in the nation.  Broadcast rights, now free of expansion dead weight and loaded with 10 weeks of conference games to televise, including more consistent run-ins between the conference's best programs, could well increase in value.  BTN would be less tied to carriage fees and more able to transition into a streaming service.  And, more than anything else, nobody would be tasked with explaining how Iowa and Rutgers are now supposed to be hated rivals.

Sometimes, it's best to admit the truth: That a mistake has been made, that a relationship is over.  For the value of the brand and the health of its decades-long membership, that time is now.  Contract the Big Ten.