The college football season begins in less than 24 hours, but let’s forget about that.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers, the Big Ten’s newest team as of next season, look to trample the Big 12 North division one last time and take home a championship. The division that ESPN has cited that the Cornhuskers will call home in 2011 is anything but the Big 12 North Part II.
If anything, it's what the division was originally meant to be.
Allegedly, Michigan, Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern, and Minnesota all await Nebraska on a yearly slate while Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana, and Illinois wave from the other division.
The conference's rivalries look to be saved, specifically the sacred Michigan-Ohio State battle, and it appears that all ends well for Big Ten scheduling across the board.
Just what does this mean for the incoming Cornhuskers?
The Big 12 North looks, and admittedly is, a cakewalk for the team with the largest pulse these days. It wasn’t long ago that the Cornhuskers had defeated the No. 10 Kansas Jayhawks and No. 7 Colorado in the same season (1995).
Then came the Big 12.
Nebraska’s future division brings games against one of the most prestigious programs in the history of the sport (Michigan) and a geographical rival (Iowa), while the remaining teams have faced Nebraska a total of 57 times in the Cornhuskers’ history.
Admittedly, Michigan State looks to give Nebraska the most difficulty and they’ve never actually beaten the Cornhuskers. Nebraska fans last saw Northwestern as a stain on the Alamo Bowl turf in a 66-17 piano-wiring during 2000's postseason.
Minnesota actually owns a 20-29-2 series record over Nebraska, but haven’t seen a win against the Cornhuskers in 50 years and have lost the last five contests by a combined score of 280-20.
The Cornhuskers are used to cross-division difficulties from the likes of the Texas Longhorns, Oklahoma Sooners and the rest of the current Big 12 South save perhaps Baylor. Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, etc. will make sure that this continues.
No one will be able to doubt the Cornhusker’s (or any Big Ten team’s) path to the national championship game at this point.
In fact, one could argue that setting these divisions in place would officially solidify the Big Ten as a legitimate threat to the SEC's title of college football’s best conference.