After one of the craziest weeks I can remember, it is finally official; Nebraska has applied and been accepted as a new member of the Big Ten. The official word broke around 1:30 midway through Nebraska's Board of Regents meeting that Nebraska would be applying...it was a unanimous decision. A few hours later, the Big Ten chimed in accepting Nebraska's application...also unanimous. None of this was very surprising though. We have "known" for days that this was coming. That's not to say though, that it wasn't exciting news (because I am very excited for Iowa to play Nebraska). And, there was actually some new information to come out today.
Nebraska to Join Big Ten on July 1, 2011
The biggest news of the day is that Nebraska will join the Big Ten next year, instead of the expected 2012. Colorado's move to the Pac-10 was scheduled to begin in the 2012 season. With Nebraska coming early that means next year's schedule will be completely redrafted. Which for Iowa fans is a good thing. The home schedule next year for conference play is mediocre (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Minnesota). Depending on how the league sets up its divisions, the schedule could change drastically and Nebraska will surely be on it (and I'm hoping for a home game, and hoping I actually get season tickets...I cannot wait to see Iowa play Nebraska inside the walls of Kinnick Stadium).
The Big Ten Conference Championship Game
With at least 12 teams in the conference, the Big Ten will be eligible to play a conference championship game. It will most certainly do so too, as a championship game can bring in around $15 million for the league. The big question is then, where will it be played? Chicago and Indianapolis are the most obvious choices. I would guess that Indy will win out as Lucas Oil Stadium would be an amazing venue (plus it's indoor for a game played in December).
There are multiple ways to create the two division of the new Big Ten. Jim Delany said about creating divisions, "We're going into this with the idea of appreciating the value of those rivalries, all within the context of competitive fairness." Now, there are two ways of maintaining rivalries. The most obvious is to put rivals schools in the same division. The other is to have one protected game with a team in the other division. Still, what makes the most sense to me is to split the divisions geographically west and east. The West would be made up of Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern, and Nebraska. The East would be Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Indiana, and Purdue. The main arguement against this arrangement is that Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State would all be in the same division. Historically, yes, those are 3 powerhouses. But in the current state Iowa, Wisconsin, and Nebraska are not too shabby either. Really from top to bottom both sides look rather balanced.
A Few Random Notes
- Sorry for the complete lack of links...I'm sure most people have read plenty of stories already on this topic.
- The Iowa Nebraska rivalry is going to be HUGE and is worthy of its own post...so look for that later.
- The Big 12 conference is going throw a bitter breakup. This isn't one of those let's still be friends type of thing. It's going to be an awkward year of football in the Big 12.
- Colorado is going to the Pac-10 and Boise State is headed to the Mountain West. Nothing else is official yet, so they'll be much more to comment on later.
- I'm glad this was announced today. Now I'm free to watch the World Cup in peace.
- If I had to guess right now, the Big Ten won't add anymore teams for 2011, but will continue its expansion all the way to 16 teams in the next year or so. I think the other 4 will join by 2013.
- I'm pretty sure I spent more time on Twitter this week than ever before (be sure to follow @FightForIowa). How did we get breaking news before it?