Jim Delaney’s Impact on the History of the Modern World or How We All Would Have Been Better Off If Wilson Pickett Had Been B1G Commissioner

Jim Delaney’s Impact on the History of the Modern World


How We All Would Have Been Better Off If Wilson Pickett Had Been B1G Commissioner



These thoughts began to percolate in the space between the hearing sensors when I was undergoing radiation therapy to for my thirty years of smoking.  They make this plastic mesh mask of your face (the mesh making it less than the perfect depilatory) and then you get to lie on the table, same mask constraining your movements for twenty seven minutes.  You get real close to your higher power.  I don’t exactly remember if this thought occurred in the fourth or fifth of the thirty three times I got to do this, but the short version is the world would have been a better place if Wilson Pickett had been the B1G Commissioner.


The Civil War

Oft forgotten (as many of the details are) in the list of causes of the Civil War was Delaney’s attempt to keep the fledgling SEC out of bowl games. Even as a young man Jim realized the threat the southern schools would be to the teams who played the game right – pro style running offense for the cold weather, 4-3 defense to stop same. Bo and Woody had warned Jim about the evil force of South Carolina and how you could play with their Cocks but you better not beat their Cocks.  When Jim maneuvered the rest of the BCS schools to snub the SEC and only let them play in the Poinsettia bowl, brother Spurrier threatened to secede.  Had Wilson Pickett been commissioner he would have thrown his arms around the chance to send all of the cold and frigid B1G fans to southern climates where they could freely drink alcohol on the streets and lean to enjoy the experience of their teams getting serious whoopass from the quicker SEC teams.  Delaney learned from this early lesson, but only bided his time for revenge.


The Spanish American War

Jim stewed and while searching for the right “eastern” school to start his plan to expand the B1G and in doing so made friends with the upstart Teddy Roosevelt.  Jim loved to host him on excursions in B1G country, showing him the wilds of Hoosier land and four of the 10,000 lakes of Minnesota. An unsubstantiated rumor that Garrison Keillor was on Delaney’s payroll to entertain the learned Easterner cannot be verified with conference expense reports.  One night, after a prodigious day of duck hunting in Storm Lake the two hatched the most heinous expansion plan ever – Cuba.  By adding the University of Havana to the B1G they could actually be SOUTH of the hated SEC!  Before they could sober up, Roosevelt telegraphed compatriots who blew up the Battleship Maine.  Wilson Pickett’s plan was much simpler.  He arranged a marketing agreement with the fledgling Coca Cola Company, and their plan was to promote the merits of “Rum and “ using students at the U of H in the campaign.  The sketches for the videos were awesome and usurped by the Red Stripe brewery decades later.


The First World War

Delaney was hired by the French Government in 1911 to serve as a defensive consultant (as they were known before the moniker of coordinator, which did not become popular until the 1940’s) to develop a strategy to defend against the hated Germans.   Jim, as his contemporary Donald Ross, did not always visit the sites of his contract but often only consulted maps and site drawings.  He concocted a series of trenches to save Paris but the French Government, short on funds, did not begin construction until the actual start of hostilities.  Pickett’s plan, centered on live music and plenty of Beer for the Germans making them want to make love, not war.


World War II

By the 1930’s the B1G was becoming a mature and substantial player on the stage of world events.  Their diverse holdings included the B1G Network which broadcast many of the conference events on radio coast to coast, and to five foreign countries.  They had developed robust marketing partners with such giants as Rotel and Velveeta although most of the listeners didn’t have a clue what salsa was.


Jim’s first jewel was to help the University of Chicago.  The powerful Maroons were complaining about the cost of athletics so Delaney masterminded a huge federal contract to create fissionable material under Stagg field in off-season. At first enthusiastic, the U of C lost interest when the project failed to get second year funding and was moved to Oak Ridge. Once again the SEC and the University of Tennessee trumped the B1G.  Wilson envisioned student nights at the various blues clubs surrounding the Chicago campus.  This plan was adopted by the cross-town rivals the Medill School of Journalism Wildkats, but justNorthwestern had only polka and brats to offer the Armani mafia.


Several years later Delaney conspired with the Japanese government to put an end to the Jim Jones aerial offense at the University of Hawaii. Delaney worried this point barrage style of play would threaten the B1G. It was Delaney’s first foray into Asian business and frankly, the contracts got a little muddled.  Well a lot muddled.  A little known fact is up until the mid-1950’s the Japanese government was trying to get the B1G to pay for the war. Wilson Pickett would have been smart enough to stay away from all foreign entanglements for the conference.


On the Eastern Front, Delaney not only got along with Harvard, but Stalin. Old Ruthless Joe was jealous of Delaney’s ability to rule the conference with an iron fist, and ruthlessly scare the other BCS presidents into submission. They vacationed together at Joe’s dacha in the Crimea until the German’s moved in and ruined the neighborhood.  Delaney sent tons of aid to during ’42 and’43, primarily in the form of the fledgling B1G media guide. This enlightening tome gave the Russian people hope for future expansion, even though many doubted football would improve their life.


On VE day Delaney  was traveling to Moscow for spring break on the Volga. He had his two Harley’s airlifted ahead of him, so he and Joe could have some quality road time.  Jim’s relationship with B1G support George Patton soured his friendship with Joe, and the motorcycles were never returned.  Wilson, never a motorcycle fan, never would have hung out with Joe either.


The Korean War

A little known residual fallout from the unrequited love of Joe and Jim was the fledgling North Korean shoe industry created as an alternative funding stream for scholarships.  The feds had flooded the market with their “G.I. bill” after the last war and Delaney was just covering all bases. The conference was stinging from the departure of the Maroons, and considering a number of options to make the numbers right.  Initial focus groups showed a repulsion to the “big nine”  The North Koreans nose got bent out of shape because 2,000 jobs were shipped to the south to take advantage of lower wages. Delaney, always the master of negotiation, had a solution almost in place until SEC wannabe Douglas McArthur (who attended the US Military Academy because his football scholarship at the University of Florida was pulled due to academic issues) stymied the efforts to end the conflict for personal glory. Wilson was consumed with the west side of Detroit, trying to convince the best talent to go to Michigan State, newest member of the big 10 instead of the stodgy wolverines.



Richard Nixon was in the throes of stealing a national championship from Joe Pa in 1969 when Delaney conceived a plan to end the war.  He had learned his lessons from messing around in the Far East (both Pearl Harbor and Korea had hardened any desire to do business west of Lincoln) and with his late night drinking buddy Henry Kissinger envisioned a world where the SEC would be given everything south and west of the B1G. These were small TV markets. A soon as instant replay was available Jim was poised to turn his massive radio network into a TV powerhouse.  Always a visionary he had already joined forces with the fledgling cable industry and begun discussions with a young Al Gore to use his “internet” as a tool to insure B1G supremacy.  Wilson was in the midnight hour, mustang sally, land of 1,000 dances and a somewhat funky rendition of “Hey Jude” with Duane Allman.  With Pickett in charge,  Champaign would have truly been Animal House.


The First Gulf War

After formally adding Joe Pa Delaney was tasked by the first Bush (#41) to develop a strategy with Stormin’ Norman (not where Stoops landed) to rid the world of the evil Saddam.  He had determined no one was smart enough to challenge him over the B1G actually being B11.  He rejected the suggestion of Hayden that we could Hokey Pokey them into submission, and turned rather to Woody’s ghost, with whom he consulted frequently for a “Plan B.”  Going out on a limb he offered Saddam safe harbor in Ann Arbor and was close to pulling off.  The plan was nixed by Bo who wanted the evil to be diverted where it belonged, Columbus. Wilson had some personal legal issues, nothing worse than some of the Hawkeye football drinkee and drivee stupidity, and was unavailable.


The Second Gulf War

Nearing retirement, Jim was tired and drained when George Jr. (#43 for those with a scorecard) asked him to strike back at the home of terrorism.  (Political Content removed).  Wilson was sick and dying,,, although making one hell of a comeback with Only The Strong Survive.


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Delaney proved he had the largest set on the planet when he set the entire college sports world scrambling for the bunker with his expansion plans. With Wilson Pickett out of the way, he could move with impunity first feigning a move to sixteen teams, gutting both the B12, Big East and laying waste to the athletic landscape. After numerous lemmings jumped into the sea, he settled by adding Tom and the boys from Lincoln.  Texas called his bluff, but Delaney lives to fight another day.

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