Big Ten Expansion: 10 Reasons Why Nebraska Must Move Now
I'm prepared to eat some crow, and I'm also prepared to face my own futility.
I've been holding off on writing about the Big 10 "expansion" news for a few reasons:
1. Everyone and their dog is writing about it
2. I wrote about it once and made my position clear.
At first, when I heard of Nebraska going to the Big 10, I though that it was unwanted and unrealistic ( http://bleacherreport.com/articles/310332-unwanted-and-unrealistic-nebraska-wont-go-to-the-big-10 ).
Now though, I'm forced to face my own stupidity.
Sometimes we make bold statements that pay off, and sometimes, they bite us in the buttocks.
While I would still rather not see the Big 12 crumble, it's becoming increasingly clear that Beebe doesn't have the mental capacity to play with the big boys of the SEC, Big 10, or Pac-10.
While the Big 12 is constantly on top of that charts as one of the nation's best football conferences and better basketball and baseball conferences, they still can't match up with what the Big 10 and SEC put out in revenue.
So that's right, reluctantly, kicking and screaming really, I have chosen to switch sides. Finally, the Big 10 has won me over and here are ten glaring reasons why.
10. Easy Transition
Tom Osborne never did like the idea of the Big 12, mostly because the concept of the conference would automatically cater to Texas based teams. This fact has become increasingly more true throughout the past few years.
The Big 12 Headquarters moved to Texas and Beebe just made plans to stop rotating between Dallas and Kansas City for the Big 12 Championship game, automatically giving the South an edge in attendance.
It's been assumed that if Osborne had a chance to jump ship into a better opportunity with a smooth transition he would.
That opportunity has come.
The transition into the Big 10 would be simple and easy for Nebraska. There would be a few longer road trips, but the natural rivals of Iowa and Wisconsin would be built in and offer for some immediate tradition (an oxymoron I know) to take hold. And as Nebraska fans, we know how much the school thrives on tradition.
With this easy transition, Nebraska comes into a situation in which they could fight for a conference crown with the likes of Penn State, Ohio State, and Iowa year in and year out with seemingly better success than the Texas slanted Big 12.
The transition would almost be seamless, and in a couple years, kids will wonder if Nebraska was always a part of the Big 10.
9. Past Success Against Big 10 Schools
I know a look at the past doesn't do much for out of conference games, but if Nebraska wanted to know if they could win in the Big 10, all they have to do is look at their track record since 1999.
Within Nebraska's worst decade since the 60's, the Huskers have played a team from the Big 10 seven times. Penn State and Iowa twice while they played Michigan, Michigan State, and Northwestern once in that time span.
Nebraska's record: 6-1.
Past success should never be the reason for joining a conference, but it can't hurt. Osborne and company know they have what it takes to compete in the Big 10 and think they could dethrone Ohio State and Penn State quickly upon entering the conference.
It is no secret that one of the reasons the Big 10 is hesitant in bringing on Nebraska is because of academics.
While Nebraska leads the NCAA in number of Academic All-Americans they are not as academically regarded as the Big 10 would hope to find. Notre Dame would obviously work great in the Big 10 for that reason, but Nebraska, not so much.
What Big 10 officials have realized, though, is that bringing Nebraska into the fold so to speak would bolster the Husker's academic programs. Now they would be in one of the more highly regarded academic conferences in the nation and being a research school, would help to increase funding for academics as well.
Technically, it is the school presidents that will be making the decisions regarding the moving of conferences and Tom Osborne would be presenting a pretty compelling academic argument.
If the Big 10 would take Nebraska with their current academic standing, it would be under the stipulation that the Huskers would bolster up the academic side of things more than they are already.
7. National Notoriety
I'm not talking national notoriety because the Big 10 is a better conference. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
However, since Nebraska has been considering the switch to the Big 10, the media bandwagon has been hitched full force and if Nebraska actually skips off to the Big 10, guess what that means?
That's right, more media attention. Recruits love seeing their prospective team on ESPN day in and day out, and if the Huskers can pull this off, then they will be a main stay in the news until the new conference kicks off its first official season.
This means there will be more coverage and more media passes into Lincoln. If you couple that with winning, the Huskers could use this conference realignment thing as a spring board into greatness.
6. Better TV Contracts
One thing that Beebe and the Big 12 has failed miserably at in the past ten years is television contracts. If the Big 12 is supposed to be one of the best conferences in the nation, then why do they have to scratch and fight for air time on big networks?
You see, TV contracts don't really benefit the conference match ups, but the OOC (out of conference) scheduling.
How many Big 10 games have you seen on Pay-Per-View in the beginning of the season? None.
Because the Big Ten Network will play even the most mundane games, which increases advertising revenue and national exposure.
Case in point, Nebraska plays Western Kentucky, Washington, Idaho, and South Dakota State this season. Only Washington is going to be televised on basic cable while Idaho and Western Kentucky might make pay-per-view and the game against SDSU will most likely only be on the radio.
Now look at Iowa's schedule for 2010: they will play Eastern Illinois, Iowa State, Arizona, and Ball State for their OOC. And all but the Ball State game are being televised as of right now.
Some might scoff at the idea of a conference network, but the simple fact of the matter is that it brings in more money and increases exposure, two things Nebraska needs if they want to remain nationally relevant.
5. A Fresh Start
Believe it or not, there is a lot of angst toward the Big 12 from Nebraska's experience in the Big 12 championship game.
Even though it seems that the right call was probably made, the way in which that call was both explained and decided both garner harsh criticism from both Bo Pelini and Tom Osborne.
A move to the Big 10 would mean a fresh start for Nebraska and something to look forward to. A move to the Big 10 would show the Big 12 that Nebraska will do what it wants with or without the approval of the talking heads from administration.
While this move would still take a few years to flesh out conference wise, it would still be something new and tangible to grab onto instead of holding onto that built up rage against the Big 12.
Let's lay the Texas theory to rest right now. Nebraska will still get recruits out of Texas if they join the Big 10. Everybody gets recruits out of Texas in other conferences, just like they get them out of California and Florida. You don't have to play there to get players to move out of there.
However, recruiting might be a big plus for Nebraska if they move to the Big 10. They could recruit against Ohio State and Michigan as well as staying in their pipeline states of Texas and Florida.
Obviously the Pelini brothers have a foothold in Ohio, especially within Youngstown (four star RB Braylon Heard). This might threaten some of Ohio State's recruiting ground as well as Michigan's.
As for losing recruits from Texas? There might be some of that, but with the recruiting abilities of one John Papuchis, highly regarded as one of the best recruiters on staff, Nebraska could still hit those states hard if they want to.
3. Turning the Tables on the Big 12
As mentioned before, Nebraska was on the wrong end of many 11-1 votes within the Big 12 and continues to be so to this day.
Osborne was on the record with disagreeing with the way the Big 12 was going to be run from the beginning. As soon as Texas got their whipping boy in line, things started going downhill.
I won't bore you with too many details, but suffice to say, the Texas fans and Dodds all thought that they controlled the Big 12. However recent months have proven otherwise.
If Texas leaves, Oklahoma still anchors the Big 12 South, and while a lot of money goes with them, the Sooners could hold their own atop the south for some time.
However, the Big 12 North has shown no such incumbent. If both Nebraska and Missouri bolt for the Big 12, then that leaves Texas and Oklahoma in a lurch to some major conference working around.
If Nebraska leaves, the conference falls apart because the North is so weak without its high profile member.
In fact this has been revealed as true just within the past week as Kansas' athletic director all but begged Nebraska to think of them and stay probably using the old, "You wouldn't do this to Turner Gill would you?" Routine a few times.
However if Nebraska leaves for the Big 10, it's a way to show the Big 12 that the South didn't control its destiny and that all of those Big 12 North schools that were too grateful to be in the Big 12 to vote opposite almighty Texas on anything should have thought better of their allegiances early on. Otherwise this might not have happened.
In the end Texas and Beebe will be to blame for the Big 12's demise.
2. Money Money Money
The truth of the matter is that in the end, it all comes down to money and the Big Ten has a lot of it.
Nebraska would definitely not be losing any money by switching over. In fact, they would more than likely be increasing their revenue by nearly four million dollar.
Now tell me, what you would do if you were given the opportunity to move onto that type of increase?
I thought so. Take it and run.
I already mentioned an increase in the academic budget, but that four million would most likely only be counting the increase in athletic revenue besides the academic income. Nebraska would be monetarily foolish not to jump on the opportunity.
1. Beebe's Regime is Doomed for Failure
As we have seen in his handling of this crisis, Dan Beebe lacks the tenacity and proactive ability that it takes to run a successful BCS conference. Beebe hides behind his secret meetings and used car salesman smile without trying to advance the Big 12 in any way.
Maybe I shouldn't say in any way.
Beebe has basically told the North that he doesn't care about their success by implementing the face that the Big 12 Championship game will more than likely be a yearly occurrence in Dallas, Texas. His reason is that it's the nicest facility available and that Kansas City is too cold.
My answer is, of course it's a nice facility and I bet it costs the Big 12 millions to hold it there every year. How about an every other year game in St. Louis instead of always going to Dallas? Then maybe some North fans can make it to a game too.
Long story short, Beebe's regime is built on a house of cards and its most basic assumption that Nebraska will always be there is about to be pulled from under him.
If the Big 12 is so dominant shouldn't they be raiding the Big 10 and the Pac-10 instead of the other way around?
Because of Beebe's passive attitude, the answer is unfortunately no. As long as Beebe runs the show, the Big 12 is doomed for failure. Get rid of Beebe and you might be able to salvage the problem.
Of course my ideal situation would be to see Beebe fired, Notre Dame take the bait, and Nebraska remain as a North power in the Big 12.
But for some reason I don't think that's going to happen.