Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany was wrong, but not in the way critics think, when he responded to the WAC commissioner Karl Benson saying the BCS has helped his league get “to the big stage.” Delany interrupted, saying: “The problem is your big stage takes away opportunities for my teams, to play on the stage they created in 1902.”

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany was wrong, but not in the way critics think, when he responded to the WAC commissioner Karl Benson saying the BCS has helped his league get “to the big stage.” Delany interrupted, saying: “The problem is your big stage takes away opportunities for my teams, to play on the stage they created in 1902.”

The Big Ten’s problem is the other AQ leagues, not Boise State and TCU. It’s Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Miami that have kept the Big Ten out of the Rose Bowl, not TCU, which bumped Stanford this year. Yes, the Big Ten is the only league to send two teams to BCS bowls the last six years, but not all BCS bowls are equal. There’s only one Granddaddy of Them All. Delany wasn’t being an AQ snob. He was protecting an asset he should protect. But he was too late. He already gave it away.

Kerry Wood uncommonly loyal

Few pitchers have had more bad injury luck than Kerry Wood, and few have deserved better luck than he does now. Wood returned to the Cubs for $1.5 million. That’s one-eighth the guaranteed money a pair of former Twins middle relievers, Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier, received for three-year deals.

Wood will never be the player Cubs fans hoped he’d be, but he’s more loyal than anyone could have expected. Players like Kerry Wood remind us all of why we are fans.

Bears feast on backup QBs

If Brett Favre can’t play Monday, it will mark the sixth time in nine games the Bears have faced a quarterback who began the season as a backup, and the third time they’ve faced a third-stringer.

The Bears are 6-0 against former backups (counting wins over Detroit, which lost starter Matthew Stafford at halftime, and Philadelphia, which promoted Michael Vick after an injury to Kevin Kolb) and 3-4 against teams with their original starting QB.

Maybe it’s cosmic payback for all those years the Bears couldn’t keep their own QB healthy. And it’s not over. With Mark Sanchez struggling and Aaron Rodgers hurt, the Bears could play as many as nine games against teams using backup QBs.

No sympathy for Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers is one of the best QBs in football, but there’s no sympathy here for Rodgers’ second concussion. He was hurt after an 18-yard run. Just slide feet first. If Green Bay misses the playoffs, its Rodgers’ fault. There are scads of rules to protect the quarterback. Use them.

Noah’s injury delays ascension

Carlos Boozer’s broken hand turned into a positive for the Chicago Bulls. That gave Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah 20 games where they were forced to grow up even more, and grow they did; both averaged career highs in points, rebounds and assists. Boozer then returned as good as ever and Chicago had won seven games in a row going into Saturday.

It’s harder to be positive about Noah’s thumb ligament injury. He’ll miss 8-10 weeks just when he was reaching new heights. But he will be back in time for the playoffs. That makes Noah’s injury more an irritant than a setback — as long as it doesn’t hamper his development.

Assistant sports editor Matt Trowbridge’s Quick Shots on Sports appear Sundays. He can be reached at: 815-987-1383 or mtrowbridge@rrstar.com.