The midlands are all a twitter over the impending news that the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is leaving the Big 12 athletic conference today to join the Big Ten. Now, the clever thing about that move is that the Big Ten currently has eleven member schools in the conference — can you see the “11” hidden in the Big Ten logo below? — and by adding Nebraska, the Big Ten suddenly becomes the new Big 12!
Here are the current Big Ten universities:
:: Michigan State
:: Ohio State
:: Penn State
Some believe Missouri may also leave the Big 12 and join Nebraska in the Big 10 — which would make the Big Ten a Large 13.
Wilder fantasies abound that Notre Dame will give up its independence and also join the Big 10. Right now, it doesn’t make sense for Notre Dame to join a conference. They’re doing really well on their own.
Texas ruined the Big 12.
Texas wanted to be like Notre Dame and own its own football television network — so Texas had, in effect, already left the Big 12 before Nebraska pulled down the house — and now Texas is left holding a disintegrating conference.
I don’t know what conference would want Texas because if you take Texas, Texas takes you and owns your conference and makes all the hidden decisions.
Texas is not Notre Dame. Texas doesn’t have a Knute Rockne or an embedded international following based on religion and a Pope. Notre Dame makes loads of football money as an independent school.
Texas would wither into sagebrush going it alone as a football network — and many of us hope they take that route just to taste their own orange dust they’ve been kicking in the mouths of the rest of the Big 12 all these lonesome years.
Texas is a bully school and, frankly, Nebraska was tired of being run by Texas. By moving to the Big 10, Nebraska has a more even political playing field and Big 10 schools are better and smarter than those in the Big 12.
Nebraska also loses its precious, but condemning, regionality by stretching beyond the Midwest and into the East Coast. The Big 10 is the richest — and most successful athletic conference in the history of sport — and each member school will only get richer and better with the addition of the Cornhuskers to the briny mix.
I moved to Nebraska when I was a kid, right at the time of the ‘Huskers back to back national championships under Coach Devaney. So you can imagine how embedded my love of Nebraska football is.
Having said that, and recognizing that the realignment of the old Big 8 into the Big XII already ruined the legendary Nebraska-Oklahoma rivalry, and, yes, because Texas is occasionally a toxic brother to have in one’s conference, I am rather excited about the move to the Big Ten. It will better still if Missouri comes along with us. And for the life of me, I don’t understand why Kansas, with its preeminent basketball program, recently improved fortunes in football, and strong academic standards, wouldn’t be an ideal Big Ten fit as well.
What’s more, with Colorado’s already announced departure to the Pac 10, the Big XII is a goner. We no longer qualify for a football championship game (NCAA requires twelve teams for that). And I think we are going to hear the Nebraska announcement today, with Missouri to follow almost immediately, and the Texax, A&M, Tech, Oklahoma, and Ok State departures to the Pac 10 within days of that. I do wonder what becomes of Baylor, Iowa State (join the MAC?), Kansas (PLEASE join the Big 10!!) and Kansas State (join the WAC or the Mountain West?)
I can easily imagine epic football championship games between Nebraska and Ohio State. Michigan State and Kansas battling for the basketball title. It should be fun!
I’m sorry your excellent comments were, for some reason, stuck in the Akismet Spam trap. I fished them out for publication!
I lived my first 23 years in Nebraska and, I too, was bled on Cornhusker red.
You’re right that the Big 8 was a fantastic conference — then they brought in all those Southern Brutes from the Southwest conference and ruined the gameplay by dividing into “North” and “South” divisions that always echoed the worst of the Civil War.
I agree taking MO along to the Big 10 would be a good move — I’m not sure if the Big 10 wants MO though, because the Tigers have a bit of a reputation as a party school, and the academic standards in the Big 10 are more stringent than the Big 12.
Turner Gill must be turning green right now. He took the lowly KS head coaching job — and now lost all his rivalry lustre with the Huskers. I think KS is just too hardcore conservative for the Big 10. Nebraska is pretty red, but KS is even deeper red, blood red, if you will, and I think that might have something to do with them not being on the short list to play against the Eastern liberal elites.
CO has wanted to bolt to the Pac 10 forever, so they’ll be much happier moving forward and I think they’ll do well running against all those sunny weather pass-happy teams.
I’m hearing TX and A&M want to go to the SEC — they’re sort of locked together in whatever move they make — and that Tech and OK might join the SEC as well; but the problem is the SEC is so much better than the Big 12 when it comes to football and Texas won’t be the king of the heap any longer, but they’ll want a larger bit of the bin to join the league.
I hope this move to a better conference will help the Huskers in basketball recruiting. They need so much help to even begin to start contending.
Here’s the link that Nebraska is now, officially, going to the Big 10:
P.S.: Word is that Notre Dame would consider joining the Big 10 only on the condition that the league limit expansion to 12 twelve teams. They don’t want the revenue pool to be more diluted, and they have a lot of say in that because they will bring much more than an average one-twelfth share to the league’s revenue pool.
If so, there won’t be the addition of Nebraska (plus Missouri?) AND Notre Dame.
Well, with Nebraska in the Big 10 now — there are 12 teams — so if Notre Dame is claiming that, then they aren’t serious.
I think the Big 10 needs an even number of schools — so bringing in both MO and Notre Dame along with Nebraska would give the league 14 schools, and yes, Notre Dame would demand a bigger share of the revenue pot, and they’d rightly get it — and then the Big 10 would want two more schools and end up with 16. I believe Rutgers is on the Big 10 short list for slot 15 and then there would be one more jeweled spot left for the right team.
Then we’d have a total re-division of teams and, over the next couple of years, we’d have 4 SuperLeagues — SEC, Pack 10, Big 10 and one other — each with 16 teams. Then we’d have a total of 64 first-tier football teams and the NCAA would be out of the regulatory business — and the teams would self-regulate and create their own bowl packages and network deals, with the ultimate idea that each of the 4 conferences would have a champion in sport and then you’d finally have a football (and other sports!) playoff system of 4 championship teams in a playoff system to fairly name a true national champion.
Well, here we go!!! I can see NU and Iowa becoming a great football rivalry.
And I had the exact same thought about Turner Gill. I bet Buffalo doesn’t look so cold anymore. He’s thinking, great, I’m going to end up traveling to Wyoming and Colorado State for games *lol*.
Were you surprised that this kicks in for 2011? I had heard 2013 earlier in the week. But hey, if you’re going, you’re going. No sense waiting around.
Yes, it will be great to have Iowa and Nebraska fighting again — it’s such a natural rivalry that never got started! I will miss the Oklahoma and Nebraska games, though. That’s one tradition that will be forever lost in this move. The Big 12 is now officially dead.
I’m hearing here in New York City that Texas put out feelers to the SEC, Pac-10 and, get this, the Big Ten! Ha! Texas will go to the highest bidding conference — but the Big Ten can’t abide two piggy schools — so they’ll turn down Texas and keep going after Notre Dame because one day, Notre Dame won’t be able to survive alone any longer and the Big Ten will be right there to welcome them.
The SEC is realistically the only place for Texas to land because they understand the landscape and the geography. Texas in the Pac-10? Terrible idea. Texas vs. Alabama will become the new SuperBowl of the regularly scheduled football season and that annual game will be thrilling and hard to resist — and that sort of “guts out” game during the regular season will hurt both teams. Good!
I agree Turner must feel jinxed. He was the Golden Child at UNL, then got passed over for the head coaching job when they brought in the misbegotten Bill Callahan era — who is actually now doing great as the offensive line coach for the NY Jets — and then when that didn’t work out, Bo Pelini got the call and not Turner. Bo knows he’s landed in a great spot. He’ll be the next Bob Devaney if he stays. He’s smart enough to stay forever.
The reason Kansas isn’t going to get a really big conference invite is because, like UConn, they have a great basketball team, and a lousy football team — and football alone pays the bills and paves the way. You can have a terrible basketball team and still be wanted because your football team is successful… and because the fans are rabid and travel well. UNL has the team and the right fans and the Big Ten will eat the loss UNL basketball brings to the table because their football winnings will outmatch any roundball losses.
I read somewhere that UNL will gets $9 million a year from the Big 12 in 2010 and in a year or two that share will bounce up to $20 million by playing in the Big Ten. Money talks and UNL walks.
I agree the sooner this change happens, the better — the 2010 season will be uncomfortable and full of last good-byes. Boring!
I am fascinated by the depth to which football rivalry reaches. Great article, David — even if I didn’t fully understand it! 🙂
Thanks, Gordon! Yes, it is all convoluted and confusing and it is all directly linked to money. Just follow the money.
Nebraska has rabid fans who will “go on the road” to watch them play outside the state and and that brings in a lot of cash to other teams they play, so when you hear, “Nebraska travels well,” that means they have devoted fan support that often means there are more Nebraska fans in an away stadium than the home opponent has and that basically makes a home game for Nebraska.
Nebraska also has a good football team again and when you’re good, people want to watch you and that directly translates into television exposure and that equals big money for Nebraska and whatever athletic conference it has joined.