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Swarbrick on Maryland, Big Ten rumor: It 'does not come as a surprise'

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Swarbrick on Maryland, Big Ten rumor: It 'does not come as a surprise'

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- In a season in which the Big Ten has struggled to make waves on the field, a rumored move from the ACC to Big Ten by Maryland created plenty of noise on Saturday afternoon.
Multiple reports indicate Maryland is engaged in talks to become the Big Ten's 13th member, with Rutgers then joining the conference from the Big East as school No. 14. The report comes a little more than two months after Notre Dame agreed to become a partial member of the ACC, moving all its sports into the conference except football and hockey, with the football team playing five games against ACC opponents as part of the deal.
Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick, though, wasn't fazed by the report.
"If this this occurs, this particular outcome, does not come as a surprise," Swarbrick said Saturday.
While the potential move seemingly came out of nowhere, but Swarbrick said he knew through various conversations if the Big Ten were to expand, it would look toward the East. He added the acquisition of the YES Network by FOX -- which operates the Big Ten Network with the conference -- makes the rumor more believable.
Adding Maryland and Rutgers, on the surface, would appear to be a move that would dilute the Big Ten's football product, which hasn't been strong in recent years as is. But Maryland brings the Washington D.C. and Baltimore markets, while Rutgers can deliver New York. For the Big Ten Network's bottom line, that's huge.
But even if Maryland does indeed bolt for the Big Ten, it wouldn't alter Swarbrick and Notre Dame's feelings toward moving to the ACC.
"It doesn't have any impact," Swarbrick said. "It has absolutely zero impact, and it wouldn't change anything about our decision-making process. If we were going to engage in it today, it wouldn't change at all."

ICYMI: Bears clinch NFC North, Zach LaVine suffers ankle injury, Crawford suffers another concussion

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ICYMI: Bears clinch NFC North, Zach LaVine suffers ankle injury, Crawford suffers another concussion

The Bears clinched the NFC North on Sunday, the Bulls picked up a big comeback win despite missing an injured Zach LaVine and Corey Crawford was diagnosed with a concussion after exiting Sunday's game due to injury. Here's what you may have missed from Chicago sports over the weekend:

Bears

There was no comeback to be had for Aaron Rodgers and Co. this time around. The Bears took down the Packers 24-17, ending an eight-game home losing streak vs. Green Bay. The Bears clinched their first NFC North title since 2010 with the victory, which Jordan Howard successfully predicted in February.

Winning the division should be celebrated, but the Bears have a bigger goal in mind. And when it comes to putting Sunday's game into a larger perspective, is the Bears' division title the beginning of the end for the Packers, or the end of the beginning for the Bears? 

Off the field, Mitchell Trubisky made quite the appearance when he arrived at Soldier Field, rocking a sweet ugly Christmas sweater. On the field, though, Trubisky laid a blueprint for the Bears' playoff success.

In less positive news, Eddie Jackson suffered an ankle sprain after intercepting Aaron Rodgers in the fourth quarter. The throw was Rodgers' first interception in more than 400 attempts, but coming at the expense of Jackson's health is less-than ideal. The Bears will know more about Jackson's status in the next few days.

In more positive news, the Bears' resiliency was on full-display Sunday. After botching a fake-punt (which led to the Packers tying the score at 14-all), the Bears bounced back and outscored Green Bay 10-7 the rest of the game.

Also, Khalil Mack sacked Aaron Rodgers with his back, while Charles Leno Jr. proposed to his girlfriend after the game. Sunday was quite an eventful day at Soldier Field.

On the latest Under Center Podcast, Lance Briggs, Alex Brown, Matt Forte and Laurence Holmes break down the Bears' win and look ahead to the playoffs.

Bulls

Thursday night, ESPN reported that the Bulls plan to drop forward and Chicago-native Jabari Parker from their rotation. And true to the report, Parker played just four minutes Thursday against the Magic and zero minutes Saturday against the Spurs.

On the latest Bulls Talk Podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and David Watson discuss Jabari Parker’s removal from the rotation and the impact it has now and in the offseason.

So, what's next for Parker and the Bulls? The team is reportedly engaging in trade talks surrounding Parker; here are three trades that could make sense from the Bulls' perspective.

Without Parker, the Bulls picked up an impressive comeback win in San Antonio. Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen showed the potential of the Bulls' young core, though they were without LaVine.

The Bulls' lead scoring suffered an ankle injury and is out through Monday's game against the Thunder, at least. Dunn will look to build off his late-game heroics from Saturday on Monday against Oklahoma City.

Meeting Michael Jordan for the first time was "godly" for a 16-year-old LeBron James, while Joakim Noah said he was "too lit" to play in New York for the Knicks.

Blackhawks

The Blackhawks lost both of their games this weekend, though they received far worse news: Corey Crawford suffered a concussion after hitting his head in a collision in the crease Sunday. He left the game in the first period and ultimately did not return.

Defenseman Jan Rutta cleared waivers and was assigned to the Rockford Icehogs of the AHL. Injured defenseman Brandon Davidson is close to returning from a knee injury, but the team has a logjam on defense that makes one wonder where Davidson will fit in.

A Blackhawks fan successfully proposed to his girlfriend Friday at the Blackhawks/Jets game, a night where the team's mascot was reportedly attacked.

Sunday, a reported surfaced that said Joel Quennville will become the Flyers' head coach. Both Quenneville and the Flyers denied the report, however.

Is Dylan Strone key to the Blackhawks' success? David Kaplan and Co. discussed that and more on the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast.

Cubs 

NBC Sports Chicago's Cubs beat writer Tony Andracki offered his seven takeaways from last week's Winter Meetings. Also, Andracki, Kaplan and Luke Stuckmeyer recap what they learned about the Cubs following the meetings on the latest Cubs Talk Podcast.

The Cubs will also reportedly send a scout to watch former-Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki's workout.

White Sox

The White Sox reportedly will meet with Manny Machado this coming week, as will the Yankees. Which team has the best sales pitch for the All-Star infielder?

In non-Bryce Harper/Machado news, the White Sox reportedly signed catcher James McCann and officially acquired first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians. Alonso is Machado's brother-in-law, interestingly enough.

The White Sox will likely shut down top prospect Eloy Jimenez until Spring Training due to a quad injury.

Watch: Bears celebrate beating Packers, winning the NFC North at "Club Dub"

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USA TODAY

Watch: Bears celebrate beating Packers, winning the NFC North at "Club Dub"

Celebrations were in order for the Bears following their 24-17 victory over the Packers on Sunday. Not only did the win clinch the NFC North championship for the Bears, but it also essentially squashed any playoff hopes held by the Packers.

As they do after every win, the Bears celebrated at "Club Dub" (located in their locker room) after the game. Based on a video posted on the team's official Twitter account, the team sure knows how to win and have fun doing so. Take a look:

It's lit, as quarterback Mitchell Trubisky would say. NBC Sports Chicago's Bears beat writer J. J. Stankevitz offered a reaction likely shared by most Bears fans.

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