The Big 10 now has twelve teams. The Big 12 has ten. It’s just another day in college football, as the Nebraska Cornhuskers applied for membership in the Big 10 in the latest move in college football’s widespread realignment and were accepted.
The Cornhuskers bring a rich tradition, solid academic reputation, and a piece of the Midwest media market to the Big 10. The Big 10 expands their reach, and, even if they don’t get anyone else to join, have enough members to create a lucrative conference title game.
At this point, the only thing that can save the Big 12 is if Texas decides they would prefer to remain where they are. The Longhorns have one of the richest athletic departments in the country and, since Texas A&M and Texas Tech University would likely do whatever Texas does, there is a slim chance that, if the Longhorns stand pat, the Big 12 survives. Texas is likely to make a decision in the coming week.
But there’s a lot of money to be had for Texas, if they go to the Pac-10. There’s a lucrative TV contract to be had in the new Pac 10, and really, the stars seems to be aligning for four or five “super-conferences.”
While some people may lament the death of the Big 12, it’s not like the conference had a lot of history. It’s only been around since the mid-90’s, and decided not to incorporate the Big 8’s history when they absorbed them in 1996.
I’m a Michigan State University fan, and frankly, it wouldn’t matter to me what conference they were in. I don’t align myself with a conference, nor did I take any additional pleasure when Ohio State won the Rose Bowl. Your team is who it is, regardless of conference affiliation. While a minor school may gain in prestige moving to a bigger conference, major schools will be unaffected. Texas has switched conferences before, and they kept right on pluggin’ .
The interesting thing to watch for in the coming years is how traditional rivalries change. University of Colorado and Nebraska have a solid, if one-sided rivalry, playing annually since 1948. One possible new rival for Nebraska would be University of Iowa, just based on proximity.