12th Big 10 Team

Submitted by Zone Left on December 14th, 2009 at 12:21 PM

I was planning on simply responding to Seth 9’s diary, but this became way too long.

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With Barry Alvarez openly saying that the Big 10 is serious about adding a twelfth team, it is an interesting exercise to try and determine which team the Big 10 would add, given various constraints that either do or supposedly exist.  I did some extensive searching, and could not the find Big 10 bylaws, so we have to go off what the greater internets tell us is the truth.  There are two constraints I’ve seen thrown out:


1.  Membership in the American Association of Universities (AAU)


2.  Located in a state already in the Big 10 footprint or adjacent to the Big 10 footprint. 


Assuming the bylaws won’t be changed and no one is added to the AAU, here are schools that meet both criteria (and play Div 1-A athletics:


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The little bit of research I’ve done does not suggest that entering the AAU is as easy as those of us interested in Notre Dame might think, although Notre Dame has improved markedly in academics and would definitely meet the Big 10’s general criteria of a strong academic institution.  That said, Notre Dame is clearly the obvious choice should NBC decide not to renew their TV contract in 2015.  If the Big 10 were desperate enough, the Big 10 and Fox Sports could make an exception and let Notre Dame keep the TV deal for its home games.


The general assumption is that the Big 10 is interested in expanding solely to create a football Championship Game, with the goals of added revenue and increased national exposure after Thanksgiving.  I believe that better basketball and non-revenue sports are secondary, but desired.  To me, this means that the ideal candidate has a strong football program, a TV market without a Big 10 team, and strong recruiting base.


The base criteria—specifically football strength allows us to pare down the list to something like this, give or take a Syracuse:









Personally, out of those six teams, four are in good to excellent situations right now.  I firmly believe that leaving the Big 12 would hurt Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska.  Their recruiting base is primarily Kansas south into Texas and only Nebraska even comes close to being a true national recruiter.   Losing TV exposure in Texas would leave those schools with small local populations and a difficult road to hoe trying to pry athletes from Texas.  Plus, TCU would likely be the school the Big 12 would add, which is a better choice for a BCS conference level Texas recruit—further diluting those schools’ recruiting bases.  The Big 10 simply doesn’t have that great of an offer for a Big 12 team.  Leaving a goliath conference with guaranteed schedules and a championship game for another goliath, etc isn’t a great sales pitch. 


Maryland is in a similar boat, and really doesn’t have much in the way of historical ties to the Big 10.  However, I see Maryland as a stronger option for the Big 10 than the Big 12 teams simply because their membership means more exposure in the fertile Maryland/DC recruiting region.


Like Seth 9, I see Pitt as a very strong candidate that the Big 10 has something to offer.  The Big East has relatively little exposure nationally, no championship game, and only eight teams.  Big East teams have to schedule five non-conference games and have a crappy TV deal.  The Big Ten can offer eight conference games and a great TV deal, plus Ohio recruiting.  Pitt provides the Big 10 with a (relatively) strong football team, good basketball team, and the Pittsburgh/Philly market.  Win/Win situation.


Rutgers also has a lot to provide the Big 10, minus the strong basketball.  Furthermore, it expands the conference footprint into New Jersey/New York, which would be great for recruiting and TV dollars.  The Big 10 offers Rutgers better TV, a championship game, and Big 10 footprint recruiting—which combined with New Jersey and New York gives the Big 10 a much stronger recruiting base.  To me, Rutgers is the best choice given the above constraints.


How would this break down into divisions?  Let’s assume that the Big 10 decides to operate like the SEC and guarantee one cross division game per year and three rotating games with five games in each division.  Like Seth 9, the East-West Divisions would break down like this (substituting Rutgers for Pitt):


















This division breakdown does not have much parity, so the North/South is probably better, and might look like this:


















To me, this works better parity-wise.  Michigan would still play Ohio State, Iowa could still play Minnesota, and PennState could keep its huge rivalry with Little Brother alive.  Unfortunately, splitting Michigan and OhioState up likely means moving the game to earlier in the season to prevent likely championship game rematches the next week.


There are tons of better teams out there that might be swayed by Big 10 TV money or other factors.  Texas would be great for the Big 10, but would never happen ina million-billion years.  Personally, I’d like to see us gain a foothold in the south by stealing Vanderbilt or Kentucky from the SEC.  Unfortunately, like the Big 12 and ACC teams, the Big 10 doesn’t have much to offer.

ed: Response to comments about the importance of TV markets in today's hyper-media age.

The New York TV market is the largest market in the country.  According to a blatently pro-cable study (http://www.arbitron.com/downloads/cabletvstudy.pdf), about 61% of Americans have cable TV in their home.  If anything, a blatently pro-cable study is going to guess high, IMO.  According to the census, about 7% of Americans don't watch TV.  This leaves about 32% of Americans without cable TV.  Assuming those numbers are relatively constant across the United States, this means that several million people in New York/New Jersey don't have cable. 

Adding Rutgers means ABC would likely televise a Big 10 game in New York during a time slot with an ACC game (Boston College vs. Virgina Tech) and a Big 10 game (Michigan vs. Iowa).  If even a couple percent of those people tune in with their digital TV converter box, that is a few hundred thousand extra viewers, which means more money, etc.



December 14th, 2009 at 12:41 PM ^

Michigan and Ohio State must be in the same division!

The Game cannot be moved to early in the season, and they cannot rematch for the conference title the week after the traditional regular season finale.

If we must go East-West or North-South, then the lines will have to be fuzzed a little bit, or come up with some more creative divisions

Zone Left

December 14th, 2009 at 12:46 PM ^

I agree that creative divisions would help, and modern air travel makes the relative distances in the Big Ten footprint somewhat moot. I just wanted to throw something out for more discussion.

We've got a long offseason ahead.


December 14th, 2009 at 1:31 PM ^

Here is my idea for creative divisions.

First let me say that I would choose either Pitt or ND as my 12th team.

The Big 10 would have to completely ignore geographical location. Which would not be a problem because neither team is further East than Penn State or further West than Minnesota or Iowa are.

Here is how I would split them up.

Lakes Division
Michigan State
Ohio State

Plains Division
Penn State

This would give each team two football programs that would draw the best ratings and have the biggest fan bases (Mich and OSU in Lakes, PSU and Pitt/ND in Plains). The Lakes' division gets MSU and their basketball fan base, the Plains gets Indiana and their basketball fan base. Wisconsin and Illinois provide solid Top 25 competition in both sports and add depth to each division. Iowa and Purdue balances out Minnesota and Northwestern in both sports. Purdue also stays in division with Indiana and possibly ND and Northwestern stays with Illinois.


December 14th, 2009 at 2:11 PM ^

i like this the best, even though the teams aren't balanced. The lakes division is a little top heavy with UM OSU, but the plains division still gets Iowa, PSU and Wisconsin. It's weaker up top but has more depth. Also, this would mean UM or OSU is (nearly) always in the Big ten Championship game.


December 14th, 2009 at 1:25 PM ^

texas and oklahoma are both in the big 12 south. yeah, the big 12 championship game leaves a little to be desired every year, but how much did having a "weaker" nebraska team up against big bad #3 texas hurt their rating this year? having Michigan and osu in the same division in a 12 team conference makes the game that much more important...ie must win the game to have any shot at winning conference...


December 14th, 2009 at 1:26 PM ^

with a post season game determining the Big Ten Championship and automatic bowl qualifier, then the M-OSU game has to change.

If M and OSU are in the same division, they can play every year, even the final weekend of the regular season. But the game will never determine the Big Ten champion.

If M and OSU are in separate divisions, they would play about half the time in the regular season. Whenever both teams won their respective divisions, they would meet in the Big Ten Championship game.

Tough choice; I don't really care for either.


December 14th, 2009 at 12:47 PM ^

Notre Dame has excellent academics. They are not a member of the AAU because they aren't a research-focused institution. Also, I don't really like Rutgers as an option because while they would be something of a boon economically, they would be an athletic liability (they are slightly better than Indiana at football and slightly better than Northwestern at basketball). Meanwhile, Vanderbilt is weak at revenue sports (and I doubt they want a Big Ten baseball schedule) and Kentucky has problems academically.

Personally, I am intrigued by the possibility of stealing Maryland. They have several ACC rivalries that they do not want to give up (most particularly Duke and Virginia), but they could probably play both games on a yearly basis anyway. They do have a historical rivalry with Penn State that would be easily revivable. Furthermore, it would benefit Maryland financially if they could get a Big Ten television contract.

Athletically there is a problem here, however. Maryland's non-revenue sports are strong in sports that the ACC in general is good at (most particularly lacrosse and soccer). The Big Ten wouldn't really compete well with Maryland here (especially in lacrosse). Meanwhile in football, Maryland would be below the average Big Ten team (although their basketball team would be competitive). This is unfortunate, as the sport driving the wish for a twelfth team is football.

Zone Left

December 14th, 2009 at 12:53 PM ^

ND is definitely strong enough academically, and like you said, is not in the AAU because of its relative weakness in research.

I personally believe that the Big East or ND are the only realistic options for a 12th team simply because the Big 10 doesn't much to offer other schools.

Nice diary, by the way--I just felt my response was too long.


December 14th, 2009 at 1:10 PM ^

I'm originally from Maryland, and grew up as a Terps fan. I can tell you that, to MD fans, football is secondary, and the basketball season is where it counts. They have a hate-filled rivalry with Duke, which is a huge reason I doubt they would leave the ACC. Like you said, they have a very strong soccer team and lax is HUGE in Maryland. There is no real incentive for them to leave the ACC to come to the Big Ten. Like you say how they can play Duke/VA on a yearly bases, I feel like they could just as easily add PSU to their schedule. As a Michigan/Big Ten fan, I'm indifferent to them joining the conference. As a childhood Maryland fan, I would not like to see them leave the ACC.


December 14th, 2009 at 4:25 PM ^

I also lived in MD for a considerable time. One huge negative is the football facility at Maryland. Byrd stadium is small and old. I believe there might have been some major renovation work done not too long ago, but the stadium only seats about 50,000. Hoops, not football, is what is big. I cannot see Maryland leaving the ACC, a conference strong in football and basketball and with very solid academics.


December 14th, 2009 at 12:51 PM ^

I'd like to see Pitt join more than Rutgers. Rutgers simply has zero track record of success outside Greg Schiano or any real ties to the Big Ten while Pitt is relatively old money and had a longstanding rivalry with Penn State.


December 14th, 2009 at 12:57 PM ^

The potential issue with Notre Dame and the Association of American Universities is more a matter of emphasis rather than academic standards. The AAU is a group of research schools, while Notre Dame places an emphasis on undergraduate education.

When discussions were taking place several years ago, the faculty at Notre Dame balked because many felt their schools academic focus was being redirected all for the sake of college athletics.

The flip side of this is that the Big 10 is more than just a sports conference - there are academic ties between the schools through the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (http://www.cic.net/Home.aspx).

None of this is insurmountable, particularly if enough money is involved - it just makes it a bit more complicated.

steve sharik

December 14th, 2009 at 1:01 PM ^

...Maryland, Mizzou, and Nebraska is a waste of time. Even thinking they'd want to leave the ACC and Big 12 is a little arrogant, imo.

I like Pitt the best. Closest to Big Ten, good academics, good in football and basketball. Plus it gives Penn State their rival back.

Zone Left

December 14th, 2009 at 1:06 PM ^

I specifically suggested that the Big 12/ACC teams wouldn't leave because the Big 10 can't offer them anything better than their current situation.

Pitt is a good choice, however, I like the idea of the Big 10 taking the New Jersey/New York City TV markets and recruiting base.


December 14th, 2009 at 1:15 PM ^

That's my pick for membership; large number of sports media folk are graduates of Syracuse. Syracuse appeals in same TV markets (NY/NE) as Rutgers. Syracuse is closer than Rutgers for every Big Ten school.


December 14th, 2009 at 1:33 PM ^

Rutgers seems to be the best financial option, mostly because of their location. College football isn't that big in the northeast, so this is a relatively untapped market that the Big 10 could take advantage of.

I'd prefer Pitt since they have strong athletics already and their ties to the Big East aren't great (WVU notwithstanding). If they get a bigger stadium, the Penn State-Pitt rivalry could be started again.


December 14th, 2009 at 2:03 PM ^

According to the ACC, geography need not have any bearing on the setup of divisions. So, here are some of the assumptions I am working with to create some reasonable divisions for the "Big North."

- Each team plays every team in it's division every year, gets one intra-division game every year, and a rotating 2 of the remaining 5 teams from the opposite division every season for a total of 8 conference games

- Michigan and OSU must be in the same division, but not Penn State. This would allow The Game to continue as the regular season finale, and it would not be a rematch in the Big North title game.

- Preserve as many trophy games as possible:
- Michigan-MSU
- Michigan-Minnesota
- Illinios-Northwestern
- Indiana-Purdue
- Indiana-MSU
- Iowa-Minnesota
- Iowa-Wisconsin
- Minnesota-Wisconsin
- Illinois-OSU
- Illinois-Purdue
- Minnesota-Penn State
- MSU-Penn State

Division A:
Michigan State
Ohio State
12th Team

Division B:
Penn State

Cross-division annual games:
OSU-Penn State
12th Team-Wisconsin

With this setup, 11 of the 12 traditional trophy games are played every year, the only exception being the MSU-PSU Land Grant trophy, which who cares, and, Ohio State continues their recently heated rivalry with penn state.

Michigan would only have to see Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Purdue 2 out of 5 years each with a guaranteed game every year with MSU, OSU, Illinois, Northwestern, Minnesota, and the 12th team.

This is my ideal situation. Thoughts?

EDIT: Another potential issue here: A lot of people are assuming that the 12th team will be pitt, and pitt would need to play penn state every year. This could be solved by putting Northwestern and the 12th team into Division B and moving Indiana and Purdue to Division A. Of course, that means Michigan and OSU have guaranteed snacky cakes every year with Indiana, Purdue, and Illinois in their division. Then penn state could play pitt, and (i think) 11 trophy games would still be played annually.


December 14th, 2009 at 2:34 PM ^

Penn State-MSU is something of a big deal, particularly to MSU, who would have no team to fill the void at the end of their season. The inherent problem here comes from putting Michigan and OSU in the same division. Any scenario there will destroy either rivalries or parity.

MI Expat NY

December 14th, 2009 at 1:54 PM ^

In this day and age, I'm not really sure I get the reasoning behind being exposed to a specific market, especially when that market is NYC, which has relatively little interest in college football. What exactly would having Rutgers change? Big 10 network might actually be on digital cable without having to pay extra? Well, terrific, that means NYC would have better access to probably the forth or fifth most interesting game in the time slot, at best. The Big 10's big games are already on national TV. Additionally, playing a game every other year at Rutgers is not going to increase interest in Big 10 football, heck, Big 10 teams are already more popular than Rutgers is in NYC.

It has to be ND or Pitt. Any other option is either unrealistic (Mizzou leaving Big 12, Syracuse leaving Big East basketball) or fails to bring anything to the table.

As to divisions, if it were to happen, I'd like to see the Big 10 take a novel approach and have divisions only in football and ones that can be adjusted on say a four year basis. Match up schools with their natural rivals (UM-OSU, PSU-Pitt, IU-Pur. Minn.-UW, etc.) so they would be in the same division and then try to pick the fairest divisions based on relative strength of programs over the previous three-four year period. The divisions would probably end up being pretty consistent, but you could avoid the potential problem the Big 12 is facing with one division being completely dominant year after year.

Simi Maquoketa

December 14th, 2009 at 2:37 PM ^

For your take on the NYC/NJ market. I've ben saying that myself every time people discuss Rutgers.

But I disagree on Pitt. The Big East is pervect for these schools--let them be.

If the Big Ten does this--and they add a Pitt or Rutgers, it'll be like the tree falling in the woods--nobody outside the Big Ten fan base would give a shit.

Notre Dame ain't not ever, never coming, never and never not ever.

Your take on Missouri, though, and I'm assuming Nebraska would be in the same boat: One dominant division would be a reason to get the hell out of the Big 12--particularly if that dominant division has MONEY, resources, and deep pockets that are only overshadowed by the size of their egos.

And there are exactly ZERO "rivalries" worth noting that involve any of the North teams outside of Missouri-Kansas, which has all the excitement of the Old Oaken Bucket.

This is the conference you raid--Colorado is probably on their way out anyway, and the Big 12 is and always will be the sandbox belonging to Texas and Oklahoma.

But again, for the millionth time--fuck Missouri. Go for Nebraska. They could use a jolt and so could the Big Ten. Nebraska brings more instant hype than anybody but Notre Dame (who isn't coming not ever never no way never wanted to and doesn't want to).

Man, I wish people would stop approaching this with such a provincial mindset. Pitt and Rutgers just really suck from a Big Picture POV.


December 14th, 2009 at 4:35 PM ^

Nebraska will never leave the Big 12...EVER. Believe it or not, they have strong feelings about most of the original Big 8 (especially Oklahoma). Furthermore, they have no intention whatsoever of trading their easy berth to the Big 12 championship for playing in the Big Ten, where they have no running rivalries. It simply won't happen.

EDIT: I forgot to mention the Nebraska-Colorado rivalry, which is pretty big as well.


December 14th, 2009 at 5:49 PM ^

I live in Colorado and everyone here that is a Buffs fan HATES Nebraska. But from the Nebraska fans that I have met they say that Colorado means nothing to them besides being able to rub it in when they beat them. On a side note, I do find it hilarious that people here (CO) think that CU is such a great program when actually they are almost completely irrelevant.


December 14th, 2009 at 5:28 PM ^

Other points aside, I'm from New York and agree with the statement re: Rutgers/Cuse.

The NY sports market is absolutely saturated due to multiple pro teams per league, and there are not many college football or basketball fans besides alumni and bandwaggoners. Hell, our newspapers barely cover bowl scores and still have about 5 writers at a time discussing why the Mets can't win.

MI Expat NY

December 14th, 2009 at 3:23 PM ^

If the Big 10 is serious about gaining a 12th school and not just of the mindset of "we'll take ND, if they want to join, but otherwise we're ok." You have to balance who is willing to leave their current situation with the benefits they could bring. Would Nebraska be great in pretty much every aspect but travel? Yes, but there's no chance they give up their rivalry with Oklahoma and their identity with the Big 12. Missouri and Iowa St. might be a slightly better posibilities, but they're no shoe-in. The schools from the old Big 8 go back a long way with each other. Colorodo was the last addition in 1947. I don't see these schools giving that up easily, even if you don't see the value in any rivalries.

Pitt, on the other hand, is in a huge conference that has a constantly changing identity. They are already located within the footprint. They feel that Penn St. is/should be their main rival. Yes, they aren't the best draw in the world, and they play in a pro stadium, just like Minnesota did. However, I bet with schools like PSU, UM and OSU visiting every other year it wouldn't take long to improve their attendance numbers. If we're determined to add a 12th team, Pitt is the most likely and best fit, assuming ND doesn't want any part of a conference.

Simi Maquoketa

December 14th, 2009 at 4:14 PM ^

Yes, in the interest of full disclosure, I live in Nebraska, and therefore have been a firdt-hand witness as to how they've suffered from the effects of the creation of the Big 12.

In terms of rivalries, they no longer have a rivalry with Oklahoma. They play two on and two off. If UM-OSU are the #1 rivlary in college sports, Neb-Okla were #1A. But Oklahoma considers their #1 rival to be Texas--there's very little reciprocality (and it's always been that way) from the Sooners. And with the other teams, there simply isn't any rivalry. Nebraska has dominated their series' with the other Big Eight teams (ALL of them) through the years in riduculous fashion. For example, Tom Osborne did not lose ONE GAME in 25 years to Kansas, Oklahoma State or Kansas State.

Look, I'm not saying Pitt doesn't make the most logical choice for all the reasons you mention. I do, however, question why they'd leave the Big East, where they can be the, or one of two to three, of the perennially dominant teams. BUT, it does sew up probably every TV set in a huge state--and a recruiting hotbed.

I also agree that the marquis teams of the Big Ten, plus the tradition of the Big Ten would mak Pitt much more viable and marketable. I am not sure, however, they would bring a consistent nationally-attractive winning product to the Big Ten--ending up being another middle of the road team. On a side note--how ridiculous is it that they also play Notre Dame all the time--giving ND a FOURTH annual game with Big (Whatever) schools?

And Pitt gives PSU somewhat of a rival--but who else in the Big Ten cares? Bring in Nebraska--Iowa, PSU (they go way back), they've played Michigan (and have the '97 thing), and they also have a history with MSU. When Nebraska played MSU in the 90's, people around here were pumped, and many traveled to the game in Lansing--which is something Nberaska fans always do.

Now one thing is sure: Nebraska brings few TV sets in--but they do have national appeal and are still a Big Name in football. They have, since 1997, been no less relevant than Michigan--the two schools' football records are almost identical since then.

This is just a pholosophical reach by me. Nebraska is not nearly as tied to the Big 12 as outsiders would like to think. The fan base here is as knowlegable about the Big Ten as anywhere outside the Big Ten footprint. I think they would bring in a lot more interest to the Big Ten from the whole plains region. It is not nearly as far fetched as you'd think.


December 14th, 2009 at 4:50 PM ^

Your perspective is very skewed here. First of all, comparing Nebraska-Oklahoma to Michigan-OSU (even before the BIg 12) is dumb. Oklahoma looked at Nebraska like Michigan looks at MSU. Maybe Nebraska fans felt about Oklahoma the way that MSU fans feel about Michigan, but Oklahoma never took the Nebraska rivalry as seriously as the Red-River Shootout, meaning that the feelings on the rivalry are one-sided.

Furthermore, outside of the plains states, people will care more about Penn State-Pitt than Iowa-Nebraska. Iowa and Nebraska never had a rivalry. Penn State and Pitt had a fierce rivalry until it was discontinued as a result of Penn State moving into the Big Ten. Furthermore, Iowa will always consider the Wisconsin and Minnesota games to be more important than Nebraska, so that will significantly devalue the "rivalry" between Nebraska and Iowa. Penn State has the same prestige that Nebraska does and has a bigger nationwide audience, so a Penn State rivalry game will probably attract more viewers than a new Nebraska rivalry.

Simi Maquoketa

December 14th, 2009 at 5:07 PM ^

What's "DUMB," Seth? You said OU didn't view the rivalry the same way as Nebraska did.

But I said the same thing. Only I said it first. Yes, go back and read it.

So are we BOTH dumb?

My position in this thing is as skewed as your--just in opposite directions. I'd offer that you haven't a clue as to how Iowa and Nebraska view each other, or how that could become a big rivalry.


December 14th, 2009 at 7:19 PM ^

I said that comparing Michigan-OSU to Nebraska-Oklahoma was dumb. You said, "If UM-OSU are the #1 rivlary in college sports, Neb-Okla were #1A."

With regard to your statement, "I'd offer that you haven't a clue as to how Iowa and Nebraska view each other, or how that could become a big rivalry"; I discussed this with my friends who are die-hard Nebraska fans. They adamantly oppose leaving the Big 12 for the Big Ten and do not think it would be worthwhile to give up their existing Big 12 rivalries and tradition in exchange for Iowa and the Big Ten. So while I will not claim to fully understand the general sentiments of the Nebraska fans, at least I'm actually conversing with people who are to see their views on the matter and factoring another perspective into my conclusions. You, meanwhile, are approaching this from a very one-sided perspective.

Simi Maquoketa

December 14th, 2009 at 10:09 PM ^

What game is called the "Game of the Century"? The Nebraska-Oklahoma game more often than not determined the Big 8 championship. Between them, there were 8 national titles between 1970 and 2000/ They also each played in several more NC type games--and had to go through each other to do so.

That game was annually every bit as important as UM-OSU, and had more lasting power. As we've seen, UM-OSU just determined who would go out and get their ass handed to them in the Rose Bowl.

Regional bias helps Michigan fans think the sun rises and sets on their asses.

And the OSU-UM rivalry is a bit one sided as well. UM had nowhere near the hatred of OSU than OSU has for UM. UM has other rivals as well-OSU has none.


December 15th, 2009 at 12:12 AM ^

1. I counted only seven national championships between 1970 and 2000:
'71 Nebraska, '74 Oklahoma, '75 Oklahoma, '85 Oklahoma, '94 Nebraska, '95 Nebraska, '00 Oklahoma

2. Rivalries are rated partially on relevance, but more often on the feeling they inspire. That is why Army-Navy and Harvard-Yale are still considered as top rivalries. Furthermore, Michigan has plenty of hatred for OSU. We are just more civilized about it, because we are more intellectual than the crass, couch-burning, and occasionally inbred idiots in Columbus. At any rate, both schools acknowledge that the game is the number one rivalry, one in which winning makes a season successful and losing makes it something of a failure. That just wasn't the case with Nebraska-Oklahoma and that's why it wasn't a rivalry of the magnitude of Michigan-Ohio State. Rivalries like Michigan-Ohio State include Alabama-Auburn, Harvard-Yale, Army-Navy, Oklahoma-Texas, etc.

Simi Maquoketa

December 15th, 2009 at 9:04 AM ^

I am a Nebraska fan as well, and discuss NU to the Big Ten with them. From my anecdotal evidence, I deduce that Nebraska fans are about 40-50% positive about a move to te Big Ten.

What's funny is that you may be indirectly anhancing my viewpoint by saying Nebraska has no real "rival" in the Big 12. Trust me, the Husker fans shrugged off K-State, Colorado and Mizzou for years when those teams had Nebraska "red-lettered" on the schedule. For Nebraska, it was Oklahoma or bust.

If Nerbaska has no rivals that engender the kinds of feelings that UM-OSU or even Army-Navy have, then again--that means they aren't really tied to the Big 12, especially with the continutity of playing them every year is gone. It would actually make sense for them to leave because they gain more by joining the Big 10 and bring a lot o prestige with them. They could actually play Oklahoma every year as an OOC game like we have with the Irish.

Also, FWIW, Nebraska won two titles in the early 70s--either 70-71 or 71-72. One was a split vote with Alabama I believe. They also played for it in '82 and '95 as well. Those fuckers spent the better part of 30 years being in the hunt.

Edit: I forgot about Oklahoma in '00. Add to that Nebraska in '97 as well as that earleir one, and you have NINE NC's between the two schools in that time span.


December 15th, 2009 at 12:57 PM ^

1. First of all, I don't think that 40-50% enthusiasm on the part of a fanbase is anywhere near enough to overcome the inertia of staying in the same BCS conference. Miami, Virginia Tech, and BC were happy to leave the Big East for the ACC because they would still be elite teams, but they moved to a better football and (at the time) basketball conference that generated a lot more money. It was a win for them by any conceivable metric. I don't see that being the case for Nebraska.

2. Nebraska did not win the National Championship. They finished number one in the most biased and idiotic poll ever fashioned by mankind, rather than the much more legitimate AP rankings.


December 14th, 2009 at 11:38 PM ^

I didn't say I had a better understanding of Nebraska football than you do. The opposite is surely the case. My point was that I was getting some insight into the perspective of a Nebraska fan. Furthermore, I will trust their perspective more than yours because they actually are Nebraska fans, whereas you are, I assume, a Michigan fan.

I also considered Nebraska's history with the Big 8. It is a long tradition, that began in the late 1800s. Assuming that Nebraska fans actually value that tradition (like the Nebraska fans I know), they would be loathe to give that up. For instance, Nebraska-Missouri has been going on since 1892. Why would they trade that for a conference with the same level of competitiveness in football and a rivalry with Iowa (one that Iowa fans would value after Minnesota and Wisconsin). From a football perspective, it just makes no sense. The only benefit for Nebraska would be a moderate financial one, and from my understanding, they don't need it enough to join the Big Ten for money alone.

I suppose that the biggest problem here is that the potential rivalries that Nebraska could have in the Big Ten (Iowa, Penn State, and maybe Michigan) just don't seem to be enough of a reason for them to switch conferences, especially with their longstanding traditions in the Big 8. That kind of tradition won't be discarded unless there is a huge reason to throw it out the window.

MI Expat NY

December 14th, 2009 at 4:56 PM ^

As much out of curiousity as anything else, how as the former Big 8 members suffered since the creation of the Big 12? Outside of the Nebraska-Oklahoma rivalry becoming a periodic rivalry? Six of the eight teams have been in BCS contention late into the season, with only Ok. State and Iowa St. failing to do so. They presumably are making a lot more money. I have a hard time picturing them suffering from the new configuration.

I will admit, Nebraska is easily the second most enticing program in the qualifying states, I just see the Big East teams having a lot more to gain from coming to the Big 10 than the Big 12 teams. And really, the benefit that matters most is the fact that the new school makes 12, anything else offered is just gravy.


December 15th, 2009 at 7:12 AM ^

I really cannot see that an expansion into the splintered interests of the New York market would be as valuable as consolidating market share in the largely homogenous mid-western market... where the Big Ten is already a dominant force.

I think the markets of Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska are much more similar to the markets of the current Big 10.

I say bring all three schools in, making a 14-school conference that completes a mid-western manifest destiny.

And yes, with Nebraska in Michigan's subdivision we would have the creation of the "1997 Trophies Game" by which the nation's first REAL trophy game would begin. Each year, the winner of the game gets to keep the 1997 AP Trophy and 1997 Coaches' Trophy on display until the results of the next year's game... think the players might be hyped up for that game?


December 14th, 2009 at 2:48 PM ^

If not ND, then my 2¢ go to Pitt -- they have the endowment and academic standing to fit into the Big Ten.

But this comment is with regard to the divisions -- I think it has to be East-West, with a super division that has Pitt, PSU, OSU, Michigan, MSU, and Northwestern. If you do that, then its champion is a media darling on par with the Big 12 South's or the SEC favorite. That increases the chance of making the BCS championship game in years where there are more than two obvious choices -- better strength of schedule in the computers, better prejudices amongst the voters.

Plus, you simply cannot break up the natural Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois quadrangle. Add to it Indiana and Purdue, a rivalry that must be played every year.

You can't create parity where it doesn't exist -- the strength of the Big Ten in football is Michigan, OSU, PSU. Marooning one of these programs in a division without the others in the name of parity is a mistake.


December 14th, 2009 at 2:29 PM ^

I really don't see the Big East losing Rutgers, Pitt or any other school for that matter. If anything, the Big East may pick up a full-commitment from Notre Dame, as they are already in the Big East for everything except football. Pittsburgh has carved a real identity in football, and has a strong basketball program in (arguably) the best basketball conference in the nation. Adding Notre Dame would bring the Big East to 9 teams (for football), possibly 10 if they choose to go after East Carolina or Temple.

(*As a side note: If Villanova could secure a larger stadium for football (perhaps sharing Lincoln Financial Field with Temple...very doubtful) they could find their way into D-1 football in the Big East. They have dominated in the subdivision.) This of course I HIGHLY doubt.

Anyway, Outside of Buffalo or another MAC school, Rutgers seems to be the only team that MIGHT join the Big Ten. Their basketball program is respectable at best(they have no real rivals in basketball, except women's bb vs UConn and the football team vs. UConn) and they seem to be making a push towards becoming a football school...Although I can't see the Big East losing another school for football without getting Notre Dame to commit fully (which as you all know would require NBC to let ND go, or have some contract with the Big East for football, which is possible but not probable). This arrangement would bring more credibility to the conference, would give Notre Dame a BCS tie-in (without being an at large) and wouldn't hamper the rest of the athletic program arrangement.

**Another side note: If the Big East were to team up with NBC for football (currently the BE has an arrangement with the "Big East Network", basically just updated ESPN local coverage, and with ESPN for Thursday night football and ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 for bigger games) it could be quite interesting. I would imagine Notre Dame would be shown each week (when they weren't on ABC, ESPN or CBS), with a second game featuring the Big East Saturday Game of the Week (the Thursday night Big East Game of the Week being placed on ESPN).

Sorry for the long ramble, interesting discussion though