at least it's not just us?
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.
After losing two members, the Big XII also loses it's championship game. That's a pretty big loss combined. The logical next step to me would be expansion to get 1) the conference championship back and 2) expanding the geographical footprint and television reach.
So this means the next potential expansion project, other than possibly Utah to the PAC10 to fill their 12 team minimum to form a championship game would be for the Big X(II) to expand. There were unsubstantiated rumors today (an Austin sports radio twitter feed was hacked) that BYU and Air Force were headed to the Big X(II).
The question I pose to you, who would be worthy expansion targets for the Big X(II)? I think BYU wouldn't be a bad addition. Utah is one of the fastest growing states and BYU has a good share of that. A second team would be harder to nail down. TCU seems like a logical choice as they compete in several of the same sports the Big X(II) is good at (football and baseball particularly). Other options include Houston and SMU, but like TCU, it doesn't open them up to any new markets.
I kind of wonder if they wouldn't be interested in Memphis based on the recent FedEx news. It's extra money, a new market, a solid basketball school, and a meh football team. It's not that far outside of the current Big X(II) membership either, as Missouri borders Tennessee.
So it basically boils down to filling in holes geographically that offer no new market (TCU, SMU, Houston) or expanding the footprint (Utah, Memphis, some team I might be missing). What's your thoughts?
Who is the big loser during the Conference Expansion process? The SEC is.
No, it's not because of what schools they pick up or don't pick up.
It's because of the merciless coast-to-coast holy-ass beating the SEC's academic reputation is taking during the Expansion process.
Article after article, post after post inevitably points out that the SEC is not even under consideration for big fish like Texas because of its deplorable academics.
I get that the SEC Coaches and Athletic Directors don't seem to care, but man if I'm an SEC university president, I gotta be cringing every time I open a newspaper or click on a link.
Meanwhile, the Big 10 is constantly referenced as the top of the academic food chain for major conferences. So much so that schools are weeded out based on academics before any conversations even start . . . the now famous "Tech problem".
No wonder the SEC hates the Big 10.
So next time an SEC slappy tells you that the Big 10 can't keep up with their speed, remind them that when it really counted, the SEC couldn't keep up with the Big 10's smarts.
The verdict is in: The Big 10 may be slow, but the SEC is STUPID.
Here's a video that should help clarify why Texas A&M is not a fit for the Pac-10 (11, 12,16).
I couldn't agree more.
Caveats: I don't know much about academic requirements for the Big 12 (which are presumably minimal) or about non-football sports (except that Kansas has a good basketball team). That being said, here's two scenarios:
1. The standard story occurs: Nebraska to Big Ten, Colorado, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahama, Oklahoma State to Pac Ten.
Missouri, Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State remain.
Given that the Big Twelve would still be an autoqualifying BCS conference with five teams that have played together, why don't they pick off some of the top Mountain West teams? The Big Ten is to the Big Twelve what the Big Twelve is to the Mountain West, except that the value of the Big Twelve comes from the BCS payouts. Utah, TCU, and BYU could sidestep the whole autoqualifier issue by just joining a BCS conference, which would then have eight teams and be represented in Utah, Iowa, MIssouri, Kansas, and most importantly Texas.
The major hangup with the Mountain West has been that it's extremely top-heavy, while the bottom-feeders are very weak. Well, even a crappy BCS school that goes 4-8 is probably going 3-1 OOC a lot of years by feeding on the weak non-BCS teams; it would greatly improve the strength of the conference that contains Utah, TCU, and BYU and they wouldn't be fighting an uphill battle outside of the system.
Add in Boise State or some other schools for bonus points. Yeah, the $ are lacking, but it would be worse in C-USA, where a lot of those schools could be headed if the Big 12 falls apart. At this point, it would strictly be a matter of better than, and those schools would be better off than they would be otherwise unless the MWC is sure to become a BCS conference and snipes several of the old Big 12 schools. The latter part is sure, but the former part is not certain.
I mainly bring up this scenario to set up my optimistic, biased scenario 2.
2.Nebraska, Texas, Texas A&M to Big Ten; Colorado and Utah to Pac Ten.
Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Missouri, Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State remain.
If the Texas legislature likes Baylor so much, why would they allow it to be abandoned to perceived non-BCS doom? An eight team Big Twelve could turn into a southwest conference (ironically without Texas or Texas A&M), or it could expand if desired with some MWC teams, which would be less appealing without Utah. Either way, it would be an auto-qualifying conference, probably under the same name. The key here is that all four Texas teams would be in BCS conferences, while in the perceived PAC-16 scenario, Baylor would be left out.
This rests on the assumption that the Pac-10 doesn't really want to go to 16 without Texas - which is probably true. They need that brand name to justify watering down their existing, successful conference. The Pac-10 could go for Oklahoma, Oklahoma State... and then who? The Texas presence would be nice, but Tech and Baylor are pretty weak additions, and TCU is still just a small school. Do they try to illogically devour Kansas, or would they rather just go to 12 and call it quits?
Overall, I don't see why the Big Twelve has to die, if the schools causing instability (Texas and Nebraska) take off to the Big Ten. With a fourteen team Big Ten and a twelve team Pac Ten, there's nowhere left to run, and there's no real incentive to leave a BCS conference if there are no openings available elsewhere.
Also, in my hypothetical scenario 2, we give Notre Dame the finger and they stay independent.
We're creating eight eight-team conferences. I read today that one of the Pac 10 officials said that they will not have a conference championship game and instead push for two BCS berths, one for each division champion. Assuming the Big Ten does the same thing, (and the SEC and ACC/Big East superconferences do too) the BCS games will be between all the division champions, and any at-large teams are left out.
This happening could be the scenario that forces Notre Dame into a conference, so they can potentially get into the BCS games.
It also sets up well for a potential 8-team playoff.