Nebraska AD Tom Osborne Monitoring Big Ten And Pac 10 Expansion Talk

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Tom Osborne Tossing His Mane At Expansion Suitors

With the Big Ten and Pac-10 conferences allegedly closing in on pieces of the Big 12, some of the most prized program fillies of middle America are beginning to make eyes at any and all comers. To wit: That Nebraska rumor is finally gathering some speed, in the form of some very coy quotes from Husker AD Tom Osborne:

"It's much better to be proactive than reactive. I don't think I'm free to say much more than that. We are very aware. We don't plan to get left at the gate, although we could be. I just don't know what's going to happen in this environment."

So there you have it. Nobody's running to jump off a cliff, unless everybody else does it first. Maybe. Makes sense.

[HT: The Wiz.]

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Michigan, Nebraska Fans Discuss Possible Big Ten Expansion

With the rumors that the Big Ten might court Nebraska as the conference's twelfth school*, the fans at SB Nation's Nebraska blog, Corn Nation, and Michigan blog, Maize N Brew, decided it was time to get acquainted with each other. Think of it as a not-so-awkward first date between fan bases. Some highlights of their back and forth

Q.  Nebraska brings 5 National titles, 3 Heisman winners, the best fans in the country, and Runzas to the table. Can you tell us what Michigan brings, food- or other wise, that would make it worth OUR while to join the Big 10?  (Beating Ohio State every year aside..)

MnB Dave: I didn't know we were going to pull out the tape measure and play show and tell, but since you insist.... Ahem... S'cuse me while I whip this out... Michigan has 11 National Titles, Three Heisman winners, 150 All America selections, the largest college football stadium in the country, the coolest uniforms in all of sports, 32 total Division 1 national championships (all sports), and since it's Olympic time 204 Olympians and 120 Olympic medals (57 gold, 28 silver, and 36 bronze). Excluding this year's Olympic games Michigan's 57 gold medals would make it the 17th most successful country of all time (and no, most of them are not for ice dancing). So we've got that going for us. Which is nice. [...]

 

Q: There's been discussions about the Big Ten adding only one team, but also adding three or even five more teams.  What's your preference, and what would you call the conference then?  Stick with the Big Ten, assuming that nobody outside of the math department would notice?

MnB Dave: I'm more a fan of adding a single team to make things simple. But if we added three more really good schools/teams I wouldn't get too upset. Either way, we're probably going to have to change the conference's name, but I don't have a clue what too. I'm gunning for "The Herculoids". [...]

 

What do you think of that? Do you think you could learn to hate them enough to replace some of your other rivalries?

Husker Mike:  Generally speaking, Nebraska doesn't hate their opponents unless they act like a$$clowns. (See Colorado, Texas, and occasionally Missouri...)  From watching some Big Ten hockey fans come to Omaha to play Nebraska-Omaha, and I think it won't take long for Husker fans to forget about Buffalo fans.

Mr. Corn:I live in Des Moines, IA...so I would love that lineup. Finally a chance to shut all these Hawkeye fans up about how much better they are than us. (Gag) [Ed. Note - OPS and Hawkeye State, enjoy.]

Jon Johnston: So basically you're asking us if we could hate Iowa? We're already there!

Barry Alvarez played for Nebraska in the 60s, so there's a connection there with Wisconsin. Penn State and Nebraska have had some really good series over the years, and they got screwed out of being #1 with an undefeated team in ‘94 when we won it, so there's some unrequited hatred there to build on.  And then there's Ohio State. Who the hell can't hate them?

There's only one thing missing. Hippies. If you've got a school with a lot of hippies to replace Colorado, that'd make it an effortless transition! [Ed Note - Dude. Hippies? Have you been to Ann Arbor?] [...]

 

MnB: We're talking about a lot of money here with the Big Ten Network involved and a s***load of Ro-Tel queso dip. Since money is the prime motivator for both parties, how does the revenue sharing in the Big XII work and how is Nebraska doing in the grand scheme of the Big XII revenue sharing?

Husker Mike: Revenue sharing is based on what you bring to the table, so Nebraska does better than most.  (A whole heck of a lot better than an Iowa State or Baylor...)  But how much money does the Big Ten Network actually make, considering it barely cracks 40% of the nation.

Mr. Corn: Money-talk = Deferring to Jon.

Jon Johnston: The revenue sharing in the Big 12 doesn't work, and that's the problem. Television contracts, specifically, are the problem because they're not shared evenly, but based on television appearances. Nebraska benefits from this more than their Big 12 North counterparts, but the balance is really tilted to the Big 12 South. The bottom line - Iowa State, Colorado, Kansas and Kansas State are being starved to death, while Missouri is getting shafted as well. This is why the Big 12 will change or die.

 

 

 

Beyond TV contracts, Nebraskans travel better than anyone in the nation. This past season we celebrated our 300th consecutive sellout dating back to 1962. If its money you want, we're a good fit.

Read the whole exchange here and here.

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The Case Against Nebraska Going To Big Ten

BHGP brings the case against Nebraska leaving the Big 12 for the Big Ten, and does so convincingly.

While the Huskers remain a national name in football, they are now more than a decade removed from their last national championship and haven’t been to a BCS game since getting trounced by Miami in the 2002 Rose Bowl…They are the equivalent of Penn State in men’s basketball. It opens up little recruiting territory that wasn’t already available. And Jim Delaney doesn’t stay up at night asking how he can break the Big Ten Network into the illustrious Omaha and Lincoln markets…Basically, the Big Ten would give Nebraska about $13M per year, for which Nebraska would give the Big Ten a championship game, bad basketball, Mike Nobler, and Runza sandwiches.

All true. Nebraska’s not the first option. The first option, far-fetched though it might be, is Texas, followed by Notre Dame, and then Pitt from the Big East. Failing those, however, you begin to slide into the less appealing but still viable candidates: Kansas, Colorado, and yes, Nebraska. Note that the conversation about expansion involves a whopping four teams from the Big 12, something that has not escaped the notice of K-State blog Bring on the Cats.

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Big Ten Expansion Rumor Of The Day: Nebraska Leaving Big 12

If last week's hotness in the Big Ten expansion rumor department was "OMG Texas!!!", things are a bit more sane this week. According to Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com, Nebraska would listen to Big 10's offers thanks to the ongoing decline of the Big 12 North and their declining television revenues under their agreement with the Big 12. 

The Big Ten does have a big chip to throw around the bargaining table: its revenue sharing from the Big Ten Network, which it owns lock, stock, and barrel. While their small range of advertisers might be the likes of Barbasol and Ro-Tel (whose commercials, while unavailable online, are the stuff of legend among Big Ten viewers), the revenue goes exclusively to them. It's a big stick they can swing around in negotiations, even if it's funded entirely by your grandfather's shaving cream and the makers of heart-stopping cheese dip. 

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