Cornhusker Rustlings And Expansion Rumblings

The pace of speculation about Big Ten expansion has accelerated, and actual news stories with quoted sources are starting to appear in newspapers of record.

The most recent stories are reporting that we may learn as early as Friday that (wait for it, now) Nebraska may leave the Big 12 and be the first addition to the Big Ten since Penn State joined more than a decade ago.  At least, the Omaha World-Herald, among other newspapers, is reporting as much.

If the Nebraska scuttlebutt is true — and we’ll find out soon enough — it would be an interesting choice that is contrary to a lot of the conventional wisdom.  No doubt Nebraska is a fine academic institution, and of course its football program has a fantastic tradition, but it doesn’t bring either the metropolitan TV markets or the southern growth areas that some had speculated were the goal of Big Ten expansion.  It would, however, bring another mascot with an enormous head into the Big Ten conference, to keep Sparty and the Boilermaker guy company.

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Should Brutus Buckeye Be Updated?

The current Brutus

Every true Ohio State fan knows Brutus Buckeye.

In his current incarnation, Brutus is a muscular figure with a two-tone buckeye nut head that has human features.  He wears a Block O cap, a scarlet and grey striped rugby shirt with “Brutus” emblazoned across the chest, and scarlet sweat pants.  Ever discreet, he sports a strategically placed Ohio State towel at his midsection.  Brutus helps the cheerleaders lug the big Ohio State flag as they run down the field when the team enters before a football game, and he regularly interacts with the cheerleading squad, members of the band, Ohio State athletes, and diehard Ohio State fans during games and at tailgates.  In Columbus, at least, he is a popular figure.  It isn’t unusual to see Brutus Buckeye decals on cars around town, for example, and many Buckeye fans have a photo taken with Brutus prominently displayed at their home or office.

An early Brutus

Brutus Buckeye wasn’t always an athletic human figure, however.  When I first started going to OSU football games in the early ’70s, Brutus was a big Buckeye nut with eyes and legs and not much else.  He couldn’t carry a flag because he had no arms.  However, he could do an amusing little dance, his comparatively tiny legs boogieing away under that enormous nut head.  He also could somehow spin the head, which was cool.

I’m not sure how long Brutus has had his current incarnation.  It’s 20 years, at least.  Does anyone even wear rugby shirts anymore?  I therefore pose the question:  Should Brutus be updated?

Library Of The Year

I’ve written before about the Columbus Metropolitan Library, which I think is a terrific library system and a real asset to the community.  Others apparently agree, because the Library Journal has named the Columbus Metropolitan Library the 2010 Library of the Year.  It is a richly deserved honor — and well-timed, too, because an operating levy for the library will be on the ballot in November.  Here’s hoping that the Library of the Year award helps Columbus voters to recognize that our library system is a real jewel and to agree to provide the system with the support it needs to continue its fine work.