Nebraska Football: Should Nebraska Schedule Games in Texas for Recruiting?

Mike WehlingAnalyst IJune 21, 2012

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 16: The Nebraska Cornuskers run through a gauntlet of fans as they take the field against the Texas Longhorns at Memorial Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Texas Defeated Nebraska 20-13. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last two years, Nebraska moved from the Big 12  conference to the Big Ten, leaving a conference that some felt was becoming too Texas- and South-oriented. There were four Texas schools, which is one-fourth the conference.

Nebraska left for the Big Ten for a variety of reasons—stability, academics, culture, etc. But the Huskers left something very important behind in the Big 12: playing football games in Texas.

Texas is an important state for the Huskers. There are 19 players on the Nebraska roster from Texas, second only to Nebraska and more than both the next two states, Ohio and California, combined. 

Current players from Texas include starters at running back Rex "Superman" Burkhead, cornerback Andrew Green and wide receiver Jamal Turner. Also from Texas are possible starters/important role players, like linebacker Alonzo Whaley, cornerback Ciante Evans, safety Courtney Osborne, defensive lineman Thaddeus Randle and linebacker David Santos.

Texas has given Nebraska some great playmakers and most likely its next quarterback after Taylor Martinez in Tommy Armstrong.

Obviously with leaving the Big 12, Nebraska no longer plays a Texas team every season. The way it was set up, Nebraska would play one Oklahoma school, one Texas school in Lincoln and one Texas school in Texas.

Nebraska always had a game in Texas, and occasionally another close to Texas. This allowed Texas kids to play for Nebraska and still get a game at least once a year close to home.

But with the move to the Big Ten, Lincoln is the farthest south Nebraska plays on a yearly basis. Now Nebraska plays northern teams like Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin.

This move has hurt Nebraska's recruiting efforts in Texas. Nebraska's 2011 recruiting class landed five players from Texas. The 2012 class had two. The most recent recruiting class has one.

Head coach Bo Pelini has even said they need to get into Texas, and the Huskers still got away from it, according to the Omaha World Herald. There is an easy way to fix this problem. 

Schedule non-conference games in Texas. 

There are 12 FBS teams located within the state of Texas. You may not even have to play a Texas team; Michigan, for instance, is playing Alabama at Cowboys Stadium this year. But still there are 12 teams to play, plus Cowboys Stadium to play at.

Nebraska could schedule any of the Texas schools and would most likely fill the stadium with their traveling fans and alumni groups that are in Texas. That would impress recruits to see a sold-out Cowboys stadium filled with Husker fans.

Imagine playing old Big 12 rivals again like Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M. That would draw ESPN and media coverage and expand Nebraska's profile nationally.

Will this happen? Most likely not. Nebraska would have to give up one of its home games, leaving them with six games instead of seven. This would most likely upset Nebraska students and alumni in Lincoln and Omaha. This would also add to Nebraska's travel costs.

Second is that the Big Ten entered into a partnership with the Pac-12 to play each other each year. Playing a Pac-12 program plus a Big 12 or SEC team in the same year would look good, but would be killer for the team, and the coaches would hate it.

While there are several strong arguments against playing in Texas each year, it still should be looked at. Texas is an important state to the Huskers. Other Big Ten programs have not been entrenched like the Huskers have for years, nor do they constantly get recruits from Texas.

It is too important of a state to lose, and Nebraska needs to hang on to it.