Conference Realignment: Coaches Around Big Ten Share Thoughts on Nebraska

B.Senior Analyst IJune 14, 2010

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 1:  Head coach Bret Bielema of the Wisconsin Badgers talks to linesman Tom Walsh while preparing to call a time-out late in the fourth quarter against the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Capitol One Bowl at Florida Citrus Bowl January 1, 2007 in Orlando, Florida. Wisconsin defeated Arkansas 17-14.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

On Friday, June 11, 2010, Nebraska announced that it intended to leave the Big 12 and apply for admission to the Big Ten.

It was a historic day for the conference and a major point in the transformation of the college football landscape currently transpiring. The Cornhuskers will officially become a member of the Big Ten Conference as of July 01, 2011.

As the significance begins to set in around the league, almost every coach has had a chance to express an opinion about Nebraska's addition to the league. Not that a coach would say so publicly, but it appears that the general consensus is one of approval.

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz had positive things to say.

"From my vantage point, Nebraska is a natural and positive fit in all regards, and this announcement is a real credit to all of those involved in providing leadership in the Big Ten," shared Ferentz.

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio had a similar sentiment. "As you know, I have great appreciation for the tradition of the college game and I admire the coaching connection between Nebraska and Michigan State," Dantonio said. 

Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald also shared his thoughts. "Obviously, it's a big change for our conference, and what a great one. Nebraska solidifies us as a conference even more," Fitzgerald reacted.

Wisconsin Badger head coach Bret Bielema might be the most excited coach in the conference.

"They've got their traditions, they clap when you're walking off the field. It's a great environment," Bielema shared. "With Coach Osborne's and Coach Alvarez's history, maybe we can start a little trophy game."

Bill Lynch, Indiana's head coach, mentioned that Nebraska is “a model program many of us have studied over the years.”

Penn State coach Joe Paterno declined to comment last week, but in the past has advocated for enlarging the Big Ten to 14 schools. Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster was available for comment, and thinks adding Nebraska is a good thing for the Golden Gophers.

"Adding Nebraska forces Minnesota to continue to step up," Brewster explained. "Adding a program like Nebraska does nothing but help Minnesota in every way. It's going to turn into a natural rivalry." 

"Nebraska has a great football tradition as well as a high level of success in many other sports," Illini coach Ron Zook said of the Huskers. "They will provide another challenge in an already extremely competitive conference."

Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez seems excited about the expansion. "I think it's also pretty exciting, because from a league standpoint, we're dealing from a position of strength. We're in a great situation right now, and looks like it’ll be even better," Rodriguez said. 

Purdue head coach Danny Hope is also excited

"Change is always exciting and presents new opportunities," Hope explained. "From a football standpoint, Nebraska is one of the truly elite programs in the country and makes a strong Big Ten Conference even stronger." 

It's rare occasion that all of the coaches in the conference agree on something, but most seem generally pleased with the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten. It is an exciting time, and coaches look forward to the new challenge at hand. 

Their opinions could change once coaches start watching highlight reels of the Cornhuskers and realize how tough of an opponent they will be.