Official Husker Locker Blog
2010 Jun 11
BIG TEN EXPANSION: No Regrets, Nebraska
It’s going to be tempting, especially over the next year, the get wistful. To proverbially go hat in hand, as NU teams go on the road to some of these Big 12 North schools not named Colorado. To protest being cast as a villain.
Ignore the cat calls. Forge ahead.
NU knows what it’s done in positioning itself for the Big Ten, and while it won’t be easy - what in college sports and academic politics ever is? - you’ll look back in a decade and know every slur and insult thrown your way by the league’s fans - programmed to listen to some glory-hound, “super-sourced” reporter’s version of the events, codified by ESPN - was minor in the face of the rewards that await. Even if it doesn’t work out on the playing field - even if college football shatters into a million little pieces one day, with the IRS crawling up the game’s nose to tax and investigate - you’ll be better shielded from the glass in the Big Ten than you ever would have been in the Big 12.
NU athletic director Tom Osborne and UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman delivered this days. Kudos. They worked the backrooms and their solid reputation counted when it mattered. They were fine negotiators for moving Nebraska out of a toxic, dying league.
Perlman is the most influential NU administrator, well - can we easily put a timeframe on it?
Osborne, meanwhile, had one last touchdown drive in him. If the Big Ten accepts Nebraska today, he pulled this off like a 13-play, 84-yard march of nothing but fullback traps and short-side toss plays.
But Osborne wouldn’t be perfect trudging through what Nebraska football is about to face over the next year or two. Osborne is courtly, stately, dignified. He hates being cast as insensitive, much less a villain. Nebraska’s glorious 1995 season proved that, when Osborne appeared to enjoy his finest team - indeed, the greatest college team in history - less than most.
He would have turned what’s about to come into a farewell tour. He would try to mend fences that schools like Kansas and Iowa State, for now, have no interest in mending. He’d try to explain, where no explanation would work. Apologize where no apology would be accepted.
That’s not Bo Pelini. He’ll be the perfect, grim-faced, angry, we’ll-show-em nut that the Big 12 can’t crack. Pelini isn't above creating his own adversity, a little friction to coach against. But he’ll have it created for him now.
If Osborne and Perlman’s measured, pleasant confidence was the M.O. that got Nebraska to this moment, it’s Pelini’s defiant chin that must define NU’s mindset from here on.
Nebraska’s not just back and here to stay - it’s here to leave and take all the loot on its way out the door.
Harsh? Oh, you betcha. But it's going to get harsh for NU.
Bo’s Huskers will be a lightning rod for every negative emotion the Big 12 can muster against this school and this state. Expect it to be considerable. Manhattan on a Thursday night? Kansas State might as well sell seats to dingoes, that’s how whipped up its crowd will be. Texas A&M and Oklahoma State’s crowds won’t be kind, either.
You might as well gird for now, Nebraska. You’re in for a winter of the Big 12’s discontent, rage and bile. Texas will not be kind on its way to wherever the hell it’s going. It will keep its hand-picked media fat and happy, and they will try to sever NU’s hard-won recruiting ties in the Lone-Star State. A Horn Scorned will quickly become the Bull in the Big Red shop. And the Blackshirts will be the Black Hats as the Big 12 comes crashing down.
Don’t even try to flip the script. Forgive your Big 12 North brothers, Husker fans, for they know not what they do. Then watch NU send them into purgatory without a parting gift. Such tough talk doesn’t suit most Nebraskans. But it suits Bo. And it’ll suit his team, too. The good cops delivered the Big Ten to Nebraska. The Bo cops will send the Big 12 to its shallow, unmarked grave.
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