Hello, Nebraska

  • 06/09/2010 9:00 pm in

I’ve gotten on the train a little bit later than some news outlets not too far from here, but that train — the one with “EXPANSION” written on the side and barrels of money tucked away in the hold cars — is barreling toward Chicago nonetheless. Nebraska appears ready to board.

Obviously, no one is surprised by this. Of the umpteen million purported combinations and scenarios relating to Big Ten expansion, Nebraska and, along the way, Missouri joining sooner rather than later is perhaps the most popular. And if the above report or the dozens like it circling like sharks around the wounded Big 12 are to be believed, sooner rather than later is about to become right now.

Nebraska makes sense on a number of levels. Big state school, tradition-steeped football program, lots of fans and, most importantly, boosters with deep pockets.

So how would this work?

1. The Big Ten must formally invite any team that wishes to apply first. It is unimaginable that the Big Ten would invite anyone with any intention or expectation of being turned down or turning anyone down. So expect an invitation to basically be a pre-acceptance formality.

2. The invitation and subsequent acceptance would have to be voted on by the Big Ten’s Council of Presidents/Chancellors. What we learned, among other things, last weekend in Chicago was that the COPC can vote without being together, either by phone or e-mail. So that restriction does not exist.

3. We haven’t heard as much on Missouri in all this as Nebraska, but the Cornhuskers are the big fish. Commissioner Jim Delany said Sunday that the Big Ten could “act, and then act again” with regard to expansion, as opposed to staying put or doing everything all at once. This report from Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune suggests that’s exactly what will happen. So maybe Nebraska (and perhaps also Missouri) now, and who knows what’s coming down the track.

4. So what happens to Notre Dame? Well, it depends on what you believe. There are those who report that the Irish will preserve their independence at any cost, even at the risk of ending up on the outside looking in when all the dust settles. There are others who say Notre Dame would only join the Big Ten if it were the only entrant, not wanting to share dollars or the conference spotlight any more than would be necessary. The second of those now appears untrue. It remains to be seen — and could even take years to decide — whether not joining a conference will marginalize Notre Dame if the dominoes fall in the form of “super conferences” that stretch from the East Coast to Omaha and L.A. to Dallas.

There’s a lot more to this, we could seriously go on for hours. And it’s going to take years to decide once and for all what the ramifications of the coming days, weeks and months will be on the college sports landscape. In the meantime, I’d run down to your local Walgreens and grab a greeting card, the Big Ten family looks like it’s getting bigger very soon.

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  • IndianaRabbit

    Give ND the option…If they don’t take, bring in Mizzou and three eastern schools to round it out at 16 and watch ND whine when they are left out of the new superconferences and no hopes for a national championship. Their independent status was a great thing for them for a while, but now it doesn’t mean as much. The Big Ten is where they belong, but if they are too stubborn (or stupid) to realize this, then good riddance to them and good luck!

  • marsh21

    Well since this is all about football and NOT basketball the Big 10 just got a lot more tradition and a major player in college football. If they landed the Irish the Big 10 in terms of tradition would be the A class in the nation. Both Nebraska and the Irish are turning around their programs which would be great for the conference.

    I like it!

  • This means another football loss and hopefully another basketball win. I wish Texas would follow Nebraska to the B10 but that looks like a pipedream at this point. Welcome aboard Nebraska!

  • Bryan

    Well, this doesn't change our lofty status in the Big Ten football pecking order all that much, other than the occasional trip to Nebraska. I'll be interested to see what the divisions look like though, because trying to work those out makes my head hurt. If you go east/west, we're lumped in with the Michigan/Ohio St/Penn State, with Nebraska headlining the west. North/South puts Michigan by itself, with us with the other three bigs, and separates us from Purdue. More likely, we'll get something random (I'd call it “Jim Delany potpourri”), sprinkling teams across two divisions in order to please the major players in football.

    My only concern is that the conference take basketball rivalries into account when drawing things up. I'd hate to lose our regular home and home series with either Purdue or Illinois.

  • Outoftheloop

    We would have to offer both Texas and Texas A&M and hope the state Legislature does not step in and require Texas Tech as well.

  • Outoftheloop

    Notre Dame will have to decide by the end of next week or this train will have left the station.

  • peaychris

    i would love to add mizzou nebraska and kansas with a couple east coast teams

  • HoosierDavey

    I could live with those results….

  • Chsirish73

    They can enjoy that minimum 2 hour flight every week to go play people. I think them joining the Pac-10 is really stupid but whatever. It'll be weird for them to be in a conference with more than 1 or 2 competitive teams.

  • HoosierDavey

    I think the Big 10 would do better to swoop in and nab Mizzou, Kansas, and K-State as opposed to going towards Syracuse or UConn. The first 3 have had success in f-ball (the Kansas teams more recently anyway) AND b-ball…the Big East is really iffy in f-ball. Then you've got room for ND or maybe Pitt (one of the only historically good Big East f-ball schools) to take the 16th spot.

  • hoosierclarion

    The Huskers, Kansas, ND, Pitt and Mizzo would bring both quality BB, FB and add some baseball tradition to the B10. Talk about a conference with a fanbase. The BTN would offer up college athletics in 11 states. Think of the matchups for the BTN to broadcast to all those eyes. The conference championships alone would be a coveted event.

  • GFDave

    I don't want Texas. The reason Nebraska is leaving the B12 is that Texas and the other Texas schools have run rough shod over their supposed peer schools. I think Texas is in for a big shock when they go to the PAC10 and have to deal with schools as strong as USC, UCLA, CAL and Oregon. They have money and power and won't roll over.

  • HoosierSmitty

    I'd like to see four more teams join Nebraska in the Big Ten.

    With the basketball tradition of Kansas, how can you say no? I mean Naismith and Indiana should be connected…that'd be pretty cool. Kansas State comes along for the ride with Kansas. Missouri is also a rival, and a good academic school, but seems to have fallen out of favor with the Big Ten.

    Kansas and Kansas State will be looking for a conference, so I can't think they'd say no if the Big Ten offered. Does Kansas really want to go join a second tier conference in the Mountain West?

    That leaves two open spots….and time for Notre Dame to finally man up and just join the conference already. Then let's just throw in Iowa State for the hell of it…so we can have a true Big Ten.

    How? Ten states represented.

    Indiana (3) – Indiana, Notre Dame, Purdue
    Michigan (2) – Michigan, Michigan State
    Iowa (2) – Iowa, Iowa State
    Illinois (2) – Illinois, Northwestern
    Pennsylvania (1) – Penn State
    Nebraska (1) – Nebraska
    Ohio (1) – Ohio State
    Minnesota (1) – Minnesota
    Wisconsin (1) – Wisconsin
    Kansas (2) – Kansas, Kansas State

    Ok, so it won't happen, but I think it'd be cool if we could really be the “Big Ten” and have a decent reason for it again!

  • MillaRed

    Sorry to change the subject but I just saw a real interesting statistic. Guess who led the NBA with 59 offensive fouls drawn this season?

    None other than…………..Jared Jeffries

    Its a good thing JJ can play defense, because his 7 year averages are 5 points and 4 boards a game. Jared had zero starts. I wonder if he is on his way out.

    I think the game he had against Duke when they made their run was one of the best Hoosier performances I've ever seen.

  • GFDave

    Its about the money, so I don't think this thing will end with Nebraska. Missouri will now crawl across broken glass to get in. Rutgers too.

    If Notre Dame has to be a bridezilla about this and refuses to join unless its all about them, so be it. But my guess is that they will start to get nervous about the pace of change and things spiraling out of their control. Maybe that's what Delaney has been thinking all along: use Nebraska as a lever against ND.

  • GFDave

    Baylor too. The Texas schools are a non-starter for me. I'd rather do nothing than take a single one of them.

  • slikyslim222

    I like the the Nebraska option, almost as much as ND or Missouri, I think they would enhance the conference. But TX, no way, that is not a good fit, lacks logic, and lacks midwest/heartland feel. Purely a money grap. The B10 needs to remember its roots & region.

  • Garyindiana_311

    i really cringe at the idea of rutgers in the big 10. i know it's for the new york market but they will be worthless. their football team will lose it's recent momentum in an even stronger big 10, and their basketball program is non-existent. have you ever been to new york? i don't even think their market is even that big, except for alumni, new yorkers general root for out of state schools (georgetown, uconn, nova) or syracuse. if they go for a big east school it should be pitt. i lived in scranton last year when the big 10 expansion talks started. PA'ers (does that make sense?) on the local sports talk radio were really exited about a possible real rivalry between penn state and pitt. those two fan bases hate each other but never play. unlike they make believe rivalry made up by the media between penn state and michigan state. penn state fans say they don't even care about michigan state and laugh when espn calls it a rivalry. they would rather beat michigan or ohio st. if the big ten takes kansas do they have to take k-state too?

  • Chsirish73

    They can enjoy that minimum 2 hour flight every week to go play people. I think them joining the Pac-10 is really stupid but whatever. It'll be weird for them to be in a conference with more than 1 or 2 competitive teams.

  • millzy32

    I’d love to ride the pine in the NBA like Jeffries does. These guys stick around ten or twelve years making 5-10 million a year sometimes jumping from team to team in relative obscurity and bankrolling the whole time. They make so much more than the stars of yesteryear and if they’re smart they live in luxury the rest of their lives. Good for him. Take those charges and put back a couple of misses and back up the brinx truck.

  • JerryCT

    Nebraska has one of the top 3 fan bases in the country, unlike alot of other schools mentioned in this thread, Rutgers football I think I had the top APR in the country. UT has the best town to party in. UCONN is better in f-ball AND B-ball than most B10 schools ………..but here is my main question :

    What is the END GAME OBJECTIVE here by the B10 ?

    Expansion of a couple teams to enlarge market share for media $ ….. I get that …..BUT ……..where does this end ? How much is enough ? Where do small schools belong in the landscape ?

    Does the B10 want to be the next NCAA ?

  • Kelin Blab

    Ok I am going to stretch here so please follow me I think you will like where I end up….

    + I am glad nebraska joined and hope mizzou follows. From a football standpoint it is a good thing and from a basketball standpoint, not a big deal, especially when the game of the week is Nebraska and Iowa….

    + I hope the texas schools leave for the pac 10 and ultimately leave the big 12 a total shambles….Then with the baylor being in a horrible conference Hanner Perea will see that and come running to IU…..

  • rywagner

    Kansas & Kansas State are not joining the Big Ten due to academics. Why would anyone want Iowa State? I think your idea is good, but Rutgers, Syracuse, and Pitt sounds a lot better than those 3 schools.

  • Plane1972

    I think your scenario makes a lot of sense, clarion. Not that this has anything to do with it, but I still prefer a more traditional geographic approach to our conference (with the foundation of academic prestige of our member institutions being priority).

    Kansas, Nebraska and Mizzou can all be considered Midwestern schools and would allow us to tap into either new media markets or new booster bases and tradition in both football and basketball. Penn State pushed us out of that regional approach, but since they are one of us now, it makes sense to bring on one of their rivals in Pitt. And we all agree Notre Dame would be a perfect fit if they could see fit to join the gang. I live in OKC now and there are a lot of heartbroken Kansas fans out here lamenting the possibility of being left out in the cold and winding up in the Mountain West or Conference USA. I say bring that hoops tradition to the Big Ten. It would be great!

  • Brian

    If Missouri does come to the Big Ten, what will that mean for Nick Williams status with them…because you cannot transfer to another school in the same conference and play on scholarship.

  • Brian

    If Missouri does come to the Big Ten, what will that mean for Nick Williams status with them…because you cannot transfer to another school in the same conference and play on scholarship.

  • GFDave

    The money part of this deal benefits the smaller budget schools more than the bigger schools, imo. At the margin, any increase in revenue for IU, PU and NU is a much greater percentage of budget than it is for the OSU, PSU, UM, etc. The money, in my mind, goes directly to being more competitive as it will support new facilities, equipment, coaches, trainers and tutors, whereas the big budget schools already have all that stuff. We're seeing that already with Cook Hall and the football facility.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    I'd love for Mike Leach to make the move to IU … he seems crazy enough to take on the job (although with TTech probably going to the Pac-16, I'm sure he'd like to get a job in that conference to stick it to them more than just financially).

  • GFDave

    Great point about Perea. Great point.

  • GFDave

    Here's a question that just occurred to me: If Texas is supposed to be all that, why do the leagues its in fall apart? First the SWC and now the B12. Could it be that Texas doesn't know how to play well in the sandbox with the other boys and girls?

  • Monkey Business

    An ideal expansion for the Big Ten, at this point, would be Nebraska, Notre Dame, Pitt, Rutgers, and either Maryland or Syracuse.

    Nebraska is, obviously, in at this point.

    Notre Dame won’t give up it’s independence unless the Big Ten makes it clear they’re going to break the Big East and leave every other ND sport save football homeless. The easiest way to do that is to snatch the top football teams from the conference. The problem is that the Big East’s most desirable team, West Virginia, does nothing for the Big Ten in terms of market and doesn’t measure up academically. So, you have to grab Pitt instead. South Florida is similar to WV, so you grab Rutgers.

    The last spot essentially boils down to whether you want to break the Big East completely by snatching Syracuse, or take one of the better football teams from the ACC in Maryland. Maryland would give you the DC market, but Syracuse delivers New York.

    Once you get outside those six teams, you start running in to issues. The two most likely replacement candidates would be Kansas and Missouri. Kansas’ academics are comparable to Nebraska’s, but lack their football pedigree. Their basketball pedigree could lead to some marquee matchups, however, such as an annual Indiana vs. Kansas “The Heart and Soul of Basketball” grudge match. However, there is the possibility that taking Kansas would mean taking Kansas State. Missouri is a problem. It has the weakest academics, and a mediocre football and basketball program. They are, essentially, the Illinois of the Big 12: lots of hype, not much production. Neither team delivers much in terms of a national fanbase or significantly expands the Big Ten’s territory.

    Ultimately, Nebraska is a setup for Notre Dame. It’s a marquee, national championship caliber program. Moreover, taking them breaks the Big 12. If the Big Ten snatches up Pitt and Rutgers, they break the Big East. Notre Dame would face the prospect of either joining the Big Ten, or getting left out in the cold.

    So, assuming you get those teams, you could pretty easily divide the Big Ten into an East and West division. The West division would be Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Illinois, Indiana, and Purdue. The East division would be Notre Dame, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Pitt, Penn State, Rutgers, and Syracuse/Maryland.

    Not a bad deal, if I do say so myself.

  • Outoftheloop

    See my post below and above.

  • Hardwood83

    Dave is right. Believe me I live in Big 12 country and Texass runs the show for their benefit entirely. You think OSU fans are insufferable? UT fans believe their crap don't stink. They make North Carolina look humble. Seriously, for a number of reasons Texas and the rest of the Southwest conference refugees are not a fit for the B10+. Nebraska is culturally very similar- It's a good deal all around for the conference and for Nebraska financially, not certain athletically, though. I WILL be going to IU games in Lincoln and that is a win for me!

  • marcusgresham

    I agree on Rutgers. Rutgers has had about 2 good years in football and now they're coveted? I'd take West Virginia long before I took Rutgers. Sure, you don't get that “New York market”, but does NYC watch Rutgers? If so, why? West Virginia and Pitt are natural rivals as well, and if I were raiding the Big East those two would be more logical in my eyes than Rutgers and Syracuse.

  • Bryan

    Trade the Kansas schools for Pitt and Syracuse. That way, you get states with people in them, thus revenue dollars.

  • Didn't realize Texas was that rough to deal with. After hearing that if the B10 really is going to expand to 16 my next 4 would be ND syracuse pitt and mizzou. Either way it will be interesting to see what happens. I have seen Uconn thrown around as a possibility but I'm guessing the basketball problems there might hinder that.

  • Bryan

    I'd say yes – in both cases, the two conferences became very Texas-centric towards their end-of-life. Supposedly, Nebraska and some of the other original Big 8 schools harbor some resentment over bringing the Texas schools into their conference, and watching the conference title games, headquarters move to Texas. Even conference rules went the Longhorns way (the original sin, according to Nebraska, was the new Big 12 adopting Texas' desire to limit admission of partial qualifiers, counter to what Nebraska was pushing for).

    I wonder if part of the reason Texas is willing to go to the Pac-10 is due to the impending NCAA sanctions on USC. Gives the Longhorns a couple of years to move in, unpack, and establish themselves as the new conference football moneymaker, while USC rebuilds.

  • Outoftheloop

    If you did take the Texas schools, then when the state secedes and becomes it's own small nation, what do you do? Besides invade and conquer!

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    After more thought on the matter, I'm convinced that the Big Ten is raiding other conferences JUST to put Baylor in a horrible conference and snag Perea. Delany is a genuis. Next up: destruction of the SEC.

  • MillaRed

    Kinda stating the obvious but yes I agree. The NBA Players Union does a great job with the vets. You see all of these 30 something baseball players making minimum all the time.

    I think the addition of Nebraska basketball is a minimal affect. But football? Wow. Another team that's going to pound the Hoosiers into submission on a regular basis!

  • Kelin Blab

    Nice….

  • I like this!!!!
    I would like to see more 4 more come along for the ride…

    ND, Missouri, Rutgers, and Pitt

  • Mingfrommongo

    The Big Ten will have to pry someone out of the Big East to have a hope of ND boarding the train. The Eastern Market is absolutely necessary for the Big Ten Network to become the powerhouse that it aspires to be. If Syracuse, Pitt, or Rutgers jumps, ND won't be far behind.
    I don't think that they'll really have a choice.

  • marcusgresham

    And that puts Nebraska and Penn State in as two of the best women's volleyball teams in the country (for what that's worth to most of us, which is not much.)

    I think the only chance IU football will ever have, and I even think it's slight to non-existent, is to (whenever Lynch leaves,) back up the truck to the bank and hire somebody huge that no one in his right mind would think of going to IU. Something as absurd as getting a Bill Parcells-type of coach. (Mark Cuban, are you listening? Your alma mater needs some money.)

  • marcusgresham

    You want to destroy the SEC? Fund some more NCAA investigators—everyone in the conference would be in trouble, at least in football (with the possible exception of Vanderbilt.) They'd have to change the acronym to the SEPC (Southeastern Penal Conference.)

  • MillaRed

    Leave it to Kelin to create ties between Big Ten expansion and the recruitment of Perea.

    You are either a genius or you are nuts. Or both. I like it.

    Man I like Hanner.

  • MillaRed

    Would it be possible just to swap football teams with Notre Dame? Forget all of this expansion stuff. Let's focus on what we really need.

  • Outoftheloop

    I don't think that there is any question that if the Big 10 asks, Rutgers JUMPS at the opportunity! Rutgers has very little in common with Syracuse, Pittsburgh, S FL etc. They could use our money and we could use their market! Next is Maryland. Again, I think that they would JUMP at the chance to join the Big 10 and get out of “tobacco road”. Again we have the money, they have the market. The DC market is everyone in DC, Maryland, Northern VA, Delaware, South Jersey and Philly. It is BIG! With Nebraska that only leaves 2 spots open. I would give Notre Dame an ultimatum and a time limit. When the time is up, you invite Kansas and ??. I do like Kansas it feels like Nebraska and the Big 10, only basketball top-heavy not football. I DO NOT like Syracuse for the last spot! It is impossible for travel, not a market booster for TV, just not a good fit. But Baylor could be VERY interesting for this last spot if Notre Dame delays! The Pac is not interested in Baylor and the Big 10 gets a foothold in the TV market and recruiting territory of Texas! Plus IU might win a football game. I think that Notre Dame could really do itself some HARM by playing hard to get. There are OTHER options! Once the Big 10 is almost full, many in our conference (myself included and Jpe Paterno to name 2) will feel like saying “screw you”. The SEC and Pac ore not options. The good possibilities will not exist for them. I see all of this happening in 2-4 weeks.

  • Garyindiana_311

    i totally agree.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Baylor will have to join Kansas and KState in a subpar conference like ConfUSA or the Mountain West. With the addition of KU and KSU (and Baylor), that conference automatically becomes decent, but it's still not the Pac-16, the Big 16, the ACC, or the Big East … it's not even the SEC.

    Welcome to big-time basketball Hanner; help us hang another banner!