NEBRASKA TO BIG TEN;
CONFERENCE WILL SPLIT
INTO DIVISIONS IN '11
ESPN REPORTS PAC 10 INVITES SIX BXII TEAMS--COLORADO GOES TO PAC-10;RUMORS FLY REGARDING NOTRE DAME
conference realignment rumors, swirling for weeks, erupted last
evening when reports, later confirmed by ESPN and other sources,
indicated that Nebraska had been offered a spot in the Big Ten and had
tentatively accepted. The reports touched off a cascade of
response actions and rumors across college football, with the biggest
salvo coming from the Pac 10, which is reported to have fired off six
invites to remaining Big XII teams. Since then, Colorado
has accepted the Pac's invite, and Texas is mulling its options
Not much is certain right now, but one thing is a nearly sure bet:
the Big XII conference is gone, and its surviving members are beginning
to scramble for a new home. A Pac-16 Super Conference is a
possibility, one that might lobby for two BCS spots. If that
happens, it is unlikely that the Big Ten's appetite will be sated with
There are, in fact, indications that the magic number for the Big Ten
might be 14. MSU president Lou Anna Simon told the Detroit Free
Press that-- with the addition of Nebraska-- the Big Ten is "one-third
of the way through" the expansion goals.
And what of Notre Dame? The Irish, and the Big Ten, are
mum. It's possible that, as Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said on
Friday, the conference will "hit pause" on expansion, for a while.
Nebraska will start playing Big Ten football in 2011. And, yes,
the conference will be split into divisions. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer,
Delany has stated that the conference is currently working on how to
split the Big Ten in '11. Conference officials are looking at
competitiveness of the divisions, traditional rivalries, and geography.
So, what to make of the Nebraska addition? What indeed? For
the Big Ten, the move is understandable: it brings in a huge fanbase,
and the money that a twelfth team and a conference championship game
will bring is compelling. For NU (the Northwestern NU, not the
UNL NU), the positives are a little more difficult to fathom.
Regardless, this is who we are, and the new reality of the Big Ten will
begin now, with rampant change, division alignment strategies, and the
ever-lurking specter of another interloper, possibly even one slouching
from South Bend.