Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Thoughts on Nebraska to the Big Ten

For a guy that has been struggling for the last 26 years to get out of Fond du Lac, believe me when I tell you that I do love change. I love when people move away from me, because they have the balls to change their lives in a way that I never could. I love when new buildings and streets are created, and I've often spent many sleepless nights scouring the Wisconsin DOT website for upcoming projects. That kind of nerdiness is why I'm so giddy at the prospect of Nebraska joining the Big Ten, not only for what it means for our conference but what it means for the entire landscape of collegiate sports.

For the Big Ten, the main change in all of this is that they will finally be able to get a conference championship game for college football, something the conference has been dying for so that they are no longer irrelevant for the entire month of December. Of course, there are like twenty other collegiate sports this will affect too, but really we all know that football is the driving force behind this move. Hell, we know it's not basketball. At least, Gweeds and I didn't because we just had about a ten minute conversation wondering if Nebraska even had a basketball team. Apparently, they do.

The move, assuming it's finalized of course, isn't going to take affect until 2012, but expect a lot more moving and shaking to happen once Nebraska does accept the invite to the Big Ten. Some Big 12 insiders are saying already that the conference is dead, as a handful of the conference's teams have an invite to join the Pac-10 in their quest towards a 16-team conference. Some of the Texas teams could then be heading for the SEC, leaving teams like Kansas and Missouri as possible Big Ten targets as well.

For years, the popular speculation was that if the Big Ten ever did expand to twelve teams that the logical choice would be Notre Dame. Notre Dame however has been beyond stubborn in their desire to join the conference, and continue to say that they enjoy being a football independent. But I have a hard time believing that if all this moving keeps happening, if the Big 12 truly dies, and if it really becomes four superconferences, I have a hard time believing that the Fighting Irish will still be as stubborn. Eventually, I would guess that the Big Ten is going to expand to 16 - Notre Dame, Missouri, Kansas, and possibly Rutgers (New York market for the Big Ten Network).

It's funny but really, the Big Ten Network was pretty much the reason all this has happening. The conference has banked off of having their own network, even though the selection is pretty weak between March and August (unless you like watching Iowa/Indiana football games from 1998, and Penn State campus programming). Other conferences now want to follow suit, and are gathering up as many teams as possible to being to build a strong television network. Like I said though, I'm all for this change, and can't wait to see how this all shakes out.

Now, if only I could get the hell out of Fond du Lac.

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