It's Not Plagiarism If You Link to It Reads Bleacher Report for the Articles

I'm Feeling a Draft.  We'll delay the OMG BREAKING NEWS of the weekend until the second stanza and instead draw your attention to a pair of stories on the pair of Iowa juniors entering the NFL Draft.  First, PatriotsDraft.com scored an interview with Amari Spievey, who apparently has no trouble selling himself:

After being asked for a prediction on his forty-yard dash time, Spievey stated, "In the 4.4's, or lower. All the times they have on me I ran with turf toe... people think I can't run because of that during the Penn St. game. I was just over-confident and cheated the route, he didn't do anything the rest of the game."

Confident is definitely a word that one could assign to Amari Spievey. "I want all of them [NFL Receivers] - the Randy Moss', the Terrell Owens', Ochocinco's. Whoever is lined up against me I want to show I can make a play...."

"You can't just be a cover guy at Iowa. We have to set the edge, I will never shy away from contact. I'm not going to just let the linebackers make the play. I'm going to make that tackle. Coach Parker expects us to do our job, be dependable, reliable. I expect the same at the next level."

Amari's comments would appear hubristic if they weren't backed up by his play on the field.  There hasn't been a better cornerback at Iowa, and he did always make that tackle on the edge.  He'll fall to day two -- the NFL Draft now starts Thursday night with round one, and continues on through Saturday morning -- and he will be a steal for whoever is lucky enough to get him.

In other news, NBC Sports draft guy Evan Silva now has Bryan Bulaga going ninth overall to Buffalo.  That's all well and good, right up until you start reading the rationale and realize Evan Silva doesn't have a damn clue what he's talking about:

The converted tight end has drawn comparisons to Browns Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas for his athleticism and pass-blocking ability....Bulaga would fill a huge need at right tackle, and perhaps move to the blind side if Nix and Gailey don't deem Demetrius Bell a worthy solution.

As far as we know -- and we've been following the guy since he was in high school -- Bryan Bulaga hasn't played one snap at tight end in his life.  Furthermore, NFL executives are dumb, but not dumb enough to use the ninth pick in the draft on a left tackle, bow to the salary demands of a left tackle taken ninth overall, then move him to right tackle.  Silva also has Spievey going nineteenth to Atlanta, but again, grain of salt, etc.

I would, however, like to congratulate the NFL team that takes Derrick Morgan 25 spots higher than Brandon Graham.  Someone -- according to NBC Sports, Jacksonville -- will pay millions of dollars for the right to watch the third-best defensive end in the Orange Bowl for the next few years while the most dominant rush end in the nation waits.  I have seen Brandon Graham, Mr. Morgan, and you are no Brandon Graham.

So, Yeah, Pitt, No.  The weekend rumor mill scuttlebutt was that the Big Ten and Pitt had reached an agreement on expansion, and that an announcement could be coming as soon as this coming Friday.  It started with an innocuous post by someone on the Pitt Rivals board who claims to have inside sources (courtesy of Fight for Iowa):

I have heard from what I deem to be a reliable source that the Pitt to big ten rumors have much more substance than many on this board understand. Gene Parmesan one of my favorite posters in particular believes that Pitt is not even thought of. Well, Just minutes ago I received a message stating "Pitt to Big Ten Announcement this Friday". I trust this source and believe in his contacts. I also have been wrong on some things before and was reluctant to post this. But I am willing to go out on a limb here. I don't necessarily believe the announcement will come this friday, but I do have enough voices telling me this is likely going to happen.

The first sign that this is a clever ruse is the presence of Gene Parmesan, who is clearly trolling message boards disguised as a Mexican or a bear; as his Yellow Pages ad says, he could be anywhere at anytime, but you'll never know.

Nevertheless, the speculation jumped from the message boards to the mainstream media -- well, the Kansas City Star -- over the course of a couple of hours.  How did idle message board chatter suddenly explode across the virtual pages of a small-market newspaper that once employed Jason Whitlock?  With the help of one of the internet's great bastions of journalistic integrity:

According to the Kansas City Star (relying on Bleacherreport.com) "Pittsburgh athletic department officials held closed door meetings with all of the University's student athletes last week about the potential move." Several Pitt student athletes allegedly let the cat out of the bag on Twitter, then recanted -- deleting the bread crumbs almost immediately after posting.

To summarize: Pitt message board gossipmonger prints rumor/innuendo/fabrication, which is then picked up by a "blog" that even its own writers call unreliable (amid hilarious allegations of plagiarism from another "blog" with all the visual appeal of a trainwreck, because the writers surely want credit for their part in this lie), then spread by the Kansas City Star after apparently no fact-checking whatsoever.  BSD details the whole saga well.  Needless to say, as of this morning, the Pitt sports information director is making sarcastic comments on Twitterthe rumors are apparently false, and the Big XI is still the Big XI.

The most consistently superb writing and analysis on the subject of Big Ten expansion has come from Frank the Tank's Slant, an Illini-ish blog which has correctly pointed out since day one that Pitt doesn't make sense, if only because it makes too much sense.  FTTS hits it out of the park again this morning.  My uncle once said that where there's smoke, sometimes there's just someone blowing it out their own ass; that seems to be the case here.

So, Yeah, Wrigley Field, Probably Not.  Rittenberg brings up the possibility of just Northwestern playing a game at Wrigley Field next year, which has become a longtime obsession of a small but rabid portion of the Iowa fanbase.  The impetus for this latest round of speculation is the news that Illinois has given the go-ahead to move their November 20 game with the LOLcats to the Friendly Confines.  Ironically enough, Rittenberg believes Illinois has the inside track because its fans care less:

Northwestern doesn't want to turn this into a road game, which could easily happen if it schedules Iowa or Michigan. Illinois has a ton of fans in Chicago who would show up as well, but enthusiasm for Ron Zook's program isn't nearly as strong right now.

As someone who attended the last Iowa-jNWU game at Ryan Field, I have to disagree with Rittenberg's logic here.  No matter where Northwestern plays Iowa or Michigan, they are guaranteed at least half the fans in attendance will be supporters of the road team.  If the game at Wrigley is enough to wake Northwestern fans from their decades-long slumber and actually show up, it gives them the best opportunity possible to have a legitimate home field advantage for the first time ever.

Foot's Notes:

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