...talks about how UConn hasn't been in contact and how they're out. (HT: UMHoops)
Nebraska's Historical Record vs. The Big Ten
With the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten official and the debate about setting up conference divisions in full swing, now seems like an appropriate time to take a look at Nebraska's historical record against the rest of the conference. All information summarized here was taken from James Howell's database and Stassen.com.
We'll start by considering all-time records:
Nebraska is 74-64-8 all-time against current Big Ten teams, with a 43-21-4 home record and a 4-1 record in neutral site games. However, though Nebraska has an overall winning record against the rest of its new conference, it has losing records against six out of eleven other teams: Indiana(?!), Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State, and Purdue. Of course, the presence of Indiana on that list suggests that the all-time numbers may not be telling us the whole story. Perhaps we should check results more relevant to recent history -- Nebraska's record against the rest of the conference since 1993, the year Penn State's football team began conference play:
|Iowa||2-0||1-0||Home-and-home in 1999-2000|
|Michigan||1-0||1-0||Pitch it to Breaston! Aaargh!|
|MSU||3-0||1-0||1-0||NE won 2003 Alamo Bowl 17-3|
|N'western||1-0||1-0||NE won 2000 Alamo Bowl 66-17|
|PSU||1-1||1-0||Home-and-home in 2002-03|
Since 1993, Nebraska is 8-1 against the Big Ten, and 3-0 in bowl games. Husker fans have to be happy about those numbers. Only that other "newcomer" Penn State has a victory against Nebraska in the Big11Ten era.
Illinois: The most recent history is a home-and-home series in 1985-86. Nebraska ran away with both games, handing out a 52-25 beatdown in 1985, followed by an even uglier 59-14 in 1986. Nebraska hasn't lost to Illinois since 1926, though the two teams did tie in 1953.
Indiana: Has a winning record all-time against Nebraska! However, they haven't played since a pair of home-and-homes in 1975-76-77-78, and Nebraska took all four of those. Indiana's last win came in 1959, against a Huskers squad that finished 4-6.
Iowa: Nebraska's most obvious in-conference rival. The two teams have played 31 times, with Nebraska having by far the better run of the rivalry. Their last meeting was part of a home-and-home series in 1999 and 2000. Nebraska won both games easily, but that's not much of a surprise: Iowa was 1-10 in 1999 and 3-9 in 2000. Nebraska was 12-1 and 10-2, respectively. The teams also played four times between 1979-82, with the Blackshirts winning three of the four.
Michigan: There have been a total of 6 games between the Cornhuskers and the Conquering Heroes, and Michigan proudly holds a 3-2-1 advantage over their newest conference foes. In our first meeting, Nebraska was a sacrifice to Yost's 1905 behemoth, which at that point hadn't lost a game in five years. A rather weaker 5-1-2 Michigan squad tied Nebraska 6-6 in our second meeting in 1911, the Wolverines' first trip to Lincoln. Nebraska visited Ann Arbor again in 1917, where the home team triumphed 20-0. There followed a 45 year break before we met again in 1962, when a terrible Michigan squad lost 13-27 at the Big House. Many blog readers will remember the next faceoff between the two teams: the 1986 Fiesta Bowl. Jim Harbaugh and Jamie Morris led Bo's 1985 team to a 27-23 victory (and a #2 AP final ranking) over a Tom Osbourne team that featured 20 future NFL'ers. Down 14-3 at the half, our heroes stormed back with 24 unanswered points to come away with the victory. As for our most recent meeting... well... Brian put it best: "screw 2005."
Michigan State: Nebraska's first two games against MSU came back before it was called Michigan State. Indeed, James Howell's database doesn't even consider the Michigan Agricultural College to have been a DI-A school. So, it should be expected that Nebraska handily won the first two matches (1914 and 1920). Actually, Nebraska has handily won all five matches between the schools: 50-10 in 1995, 55-14 in 1996, and 17-3 in the 2003 Alamo Bowl.
Minnesota: Another team with a long history against the Huskers, and with a winning record to show for it. But don't let that fool you: Nebraska has won 14 straight against the Gophers, with the two most recent games being 48-0 and 56-0 drubbings in 1989-90. You have to go back to 1960 to find a Minnesota victory; that 8-2 Gopher squad won 26-14 over a Nebraska squad that finished 4-6. For all their history, I suspect Minnesota is not exactly itching to renew this rivalry.
Northwestern: NW and Nebraska have only met 4 times, with Northwestern's lone win coming in 1931. NU won matches in 1902, 1974, and at the Alamo Bowl in 2000.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes have only played Nebraska twice, winning back-to-back games in 1955 and 1956.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions have a pretty even history against the Cornhuskers. The only non-bowl-game "neutral site" game in the all-time-records table above was the 1983 Kickoff Classic between NU and PSU -- a 44-7 Nebraska victory. Most recently, the two teams played a home-and-home series in 2002-03, with the home team winning each time.
Purdue: The Boilermakers decisively won the only meeting between the two teams, 28-0, back in 1958.
Wisconsin: For all Bret Bielema's talk of making Nebraska a rival (understandable given his own history), Wisconsin and Nebraska have only played five times, and not at all since 1974. Indiana actually has both a longer and more recent history against Nebraska than Wisconsin does. In the most recent NU-UW battle, a 7-4 Badger team edged out a 9-3 NU squad 21-20 at Camp Randall; Wisconsin had lost in Lincoln the previous year.
Nebraska has played every other Big Ten team at least once, though in some cases, it's been 50+ years since the last meeting. We can say with confidence that the Huskers won't maintain their current 0.889 winning percentage once they're playing in the conference full-time -- OSU and Michigan are only at 0.783 and 0.691 since 1993, respectively. Their 0.534 all-time against the conference would rank 5th out of 12, between Michigan State (0.544) and Minnesota (0.479), and thanks to their history with Minnesota and Iowa, Nebraska has actually already played more games against Big Ten teams than Penn State has (146 vs 136). Altogether, Nebraska is a great get for the Big Ten, and I look forward to seeing how the division alignments shake out.