Here Comes Big Red

June 10, 2010 at 8:57 am 2 comments

It’s not official, but all signs point to the University of Nebraska becoming the 12th member of the Big Ten Conference. The move, an unexpected twist in what had been a slow-moving discussion about possible Big Ten expansion, could be voted on and announced as early as Friday. There are a lot of reasons why this is a big deal: This piece in the Omaha World-Herald today details the league’s academic excellence, which Nebraska faculty are excited about, and the move would also put two of the country’s premier volleyball programs in the same conference.

Apparently, this has something to do with football, too.

Obviously, the Huskers’ gridiron tradition is the biggest reason Nebraska is likely to be the league’s 12th member, and their presence gives the Big Ten a chance to finally split into two divisions and hold a conference title game, something Joe Paterno has been a vocal proponent of. The addition of Nebraska would also give the Big Ten four of the seven winningest programs (along with Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State) in college football history. As for the rivalry factor? Well, it’s not Pitt, but the Nittany Lions and Cornhuskers have met once or twice over the years, including a 1982 game that folks in Nebraska remember well…

This should be fun.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Clint M  |  June 10, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Certainly tradition of Nebraska is a factor, but only a tiny one. I think you’re missing the bigger picture here.

    The Big Ten wants to catch the big dogs on the market. 1) Notre Dame and 2) Texas. Texas likely won’t go anywhere as long as the Big 12 is in place because it gains the upper end of unequal revenue sharing within the Big 12 and it’s already in the same conference of the other Texas schools (Texas legislature could force this issue).

    This unequal revenue sharing is only in place as long as 4 schools are in place to block a vote for equal revenue sharing. Nebraska has been one of these schools. The Big Ten knows that Nebraska is a lynchpin in keeping the Big 12 together… once Nebraska leaves, Texas’ tv revenue could eventually get shrinked to <$10 million (for context, every school in the Big Ten receives an equal $20-$22 million per year), which will force Texas to find a new home in a new conference. This leads to the entire Big 12 to crumble.

    Now that Texas is looking for a new home, the Big Ten will make a major push to get them on board, even by ensuring Texas that they will also bring A&M.

    Nebraska's tradition is nice, but the Big Ten sees adding Nebraska as a low risk opportunity to potential huge financial implications.

  • 2. Ryan Jones  |  June 10, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Thanks for the comment, Clint. For this post, I was mostly focused on the small picture of Nebraska joining the league. Based on everything I’ve read/heard so far, Texas seems much more likely to go to the Pac-10 at this point, and ND seems at least as likely to stay independent. Obviously, both of those could change, but you’re right that the dissolution of the Big 12 looks increasingly likely. Will be very interesting to see how this plays out over the coming days.

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