Big Ten Learns from Mistakes with Penn State in Welcoming Nebraska

Kevin McGuire@KevinOnCFBAnalyst IIJuly 1, 2011

LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 26: A release of balloons into the November sky celebrates Nebrask'a first touchdown of the game against the Colorado Buffaloes during their game at Memorial Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Colorado 45-17 (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

It is fitting that this holiday weekend that Penn State fans are welcoming a bit of red to their blue and white. Nebraska is officially a Big Ten member effective July 1.

"The Big Ten Conference has done such a thorough job of recognizing our culture and helping us assimilate into theirs that today's milestone almost seems like a non-event as we become the league's 12th official member," says Tom Osborne, Nebraska Athletics Director and former head football coach.

"We appreciate the constant communication that has occurred between Nebraska and the Big Ten, and we are ready to take this important step."

The Big Ten has taken extra measures to ensure that the addition of Nebraska goes smoother than the transition of adding Penn State between 1990 and 1993.

Commissioner Jim Delany previously stated that there were some mistakes with the way Penn State was brought in to the conference with communication and welcoming on a conference-wide level.

That has not been the case with Nebraska. Penn State athletic director Tim Curley even posted a video on YouTube to officially welcome the Huskers to the conference.

Penn State and Nebraska will play each year in football despite being in separate divisions. Each team in the Big Ten has a protected crossover matchup with a member in the opposite division.

This protects the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry but also ensures that Penn State and Nebraska will play each year. Not only is it a terrific matchup between two of college football's all-time winningest programs, but also it is a great matchup for television, and that has a huge impact on the conference's image as well.

Nebraska's first Big Ten game will come on the road against Wisconsin on Oct. 1, and the first home Big Ten game will be played the following week against Ohio State.

Penn State hosts Nebraska on Nov.12.

Nebraska will also play on the road at Michigan (Nov. 19) and will continue a school tradition of playing the day after Thanksgiving by hosting new division rival Iowa on Nov, 25.

The Big Ten recognized the tradition Nebraska had of playing on the Friday after Thanksgiving (the Huskers played Colorado each season in Big 12 play and had played Oklahoma in Big 8 play).

The Huskers will come in to the conference as one of the favorites right from day one as well. Nebraska has reached the Big 12 championship game each of the past two seasons but fell just short in each attempt.

This season they will play in the same division as Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Northwestern, and Minnesota. With one of the top defenses and a physical offensive line, the Huskers will be tough to take down.

Nebraska is just one of five schools making changes today. Nebraska's old Big 12 rival, Colorado, has also left the Big 12 and joined up with the Pac-10. Utah also joined the Pac-10 and the conference has re-branded as the Pac-12.

Like the Big Ten, the Pac-12 split in to two divisions, although with a much more sensible thought process (North and South).

Boise State is the first of four teams to leave the WAC over a two-year period. The Broncos are now members of the Mountain West Conference, and they will be followed in 2012 by Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii.

The Mountain West Conference is in need of adding teams because in addition to losing Utah this season they also lose BYU, who begins life as a football independent while lining up the rest of the athletic programs in the West Coast Conference. TCU will also leave the conference in 2012 and join the Big East.

Kevin McGuire is the national college football writer for Follow his college football discussion on Twitter.