It's not you. It's me.
If and when the time comes for Nebraska to bid adieu to the Big 12, that old heartbreaker line might come in handy.
People are looking for villains in this breakup scene. There are none. There's no bad guy. Not Texas. Not Tom Osborne, no matter how hard the Texas media want to spin that.
You can spin it any which way you want, but the bottom line to this saga is actually quite simple, if not obvious.
If the Big Ten asks, you say yes. End of story.
There is no comparison between the Big Ten and Big 12. None. Oh sure, the Big 12 has looked light years ahead on the football field (though the Big Ten rallied last year). But when the topics are long-term future, growth and security, you can't get caught up in the up and down cycles of college football.
The Big Ten can transform NU in ways that the Big 12 could never dream.
This is about money, sure, but it's as much about academic money as football money. This would be a rare opportunity — a winning lottery ticket — for a school located in the flyover zone and long known as a football factory. Yes, we know about the academic All-Americans, and academicians will tell you that NU has a growing rep as a research player.
But the potential for research money in the Big Ten — millions — would put NU on a whole different level. A plain-looking campus dwarfed between a football stadium and downtown Lincoln could blossom, to say nothing of a research park where the old State Fair used to live. They might have to start growing ivy.
If he can gain entrance into the club with Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio State, Penn State — and perhaps Notre Dame — chancellor Harvey Perlman will be hailed as a hero by alums, professors and students.
Osborne already has his statue. But this move would be his greatest legacy, and that's saying something.
Nebraska is not all about money. But the numbers here are undeniable: at least $20 million per year from the conference with the strong possibility of that increasing significantly, if not doubling. Basically, you're setting up your football program — and athletic program — for life, in a conference that is the most rock solid in the land. You won't ever have to worry about your future again.
As for the football program, yes, it looks like a step down from the Big 12's recent glory days. But look closer. Nebraska is a better fit in a cold-weather league. Let's face it, Texas will always land more Texas speed merchants than Nebraska can pull from that state. Bo Pelini has shown he can take on the spreads. But in the Big 12, NU would always have to scurry to keep pace in the speed department.
For Big Ten kids, cold weather is a way of life. Show them 85,000 diehards in red every week and NU would do fine in the highly populated Big Ten region, where kids learn to play tough, fundamentally sound football.
Bo would probably find a bunch of young Bo Pelinis to recruit. Know this: NU couldn't have a better head coach for a transition into the Big Ten.
Then there's the TV angle. NU must recruit nationally. That's old news. What better conference to be in than the Big Ten, with its own national network and games all over ESPN — from the first kickoffs Saturday morning?
Again, the Big 12 is/was going to improve its TV situation. But it would never, ever match the exposure available in the Big Ten — exposure so crucial to Nebraska's cause.
One Dallas columnist wrote that Texas would be the only clear winner in this. From where I sit, Nebraska would be an unbelievable winner with a Big Ten membership card.
This is not about Texas. Maybe that's why there's so much venom being spewed in the South toward NU. Everything down there is about Texas.
Not this time. This is about an offer Nebraska couldn't refuse — and the higher-ups at NU would be ruled incompetent if they did.
To be sure, the way the Big 12 and some folks in Texas have conducted themselves the past two weeks makes it easier to go. Why would you want to stay in this house of cards? Your true colors come out in adversity. What we've seen the past two weeks is a lack of leadership and a lot of fingers pointing north. Corn shuckers? The truth comes out.
I read Texas writers wondering why the Big Ten would want NU and its lack of TV sets. I disagree. But if the Big Ten does offer, we'll trust Jim Delany to know more than the media about TV sets. And riddle me this: if NU has such limited TV appeal, why does Texas so desperately want Nebraska to stay?
Because Nebraska football is a big deal, with a brand name and a following that makes it unique and attractive. And because Texas has a good thing going in the Big 12.
Who knows? I keep hearing how Texas A.D. DeLoss Dodds means what he says, but lately he's said a lot of things. When Dodds says, “We didn't start this, but we'll finish it,'' how is that a commitment to the Big 12? How is having the Pac-10 tour your campus two weeks ago a solid commitment to the Big 12?
And, again, why not sit down with NU and try to work things out? If UT is to be blamed for anything in this, it's for not being smart enough to head this off at the pass. The Horns should have put more stock in NU as a Big 12 pillar and placated the Big Red long ago. The key to keeping a league together is making sure that the key players are fat and sassy. Bevo TV network? How about offering to share that money — or starting a Big 12 network that benefits everyone?
Then again, would it have mattered? No. It's about the Big Ten, not Texas.
It's not about revenge against Texas or the other Big 12 North schools who voted Texas' way for so long. It's not about being the school that pulls the plug on the Big 12. It's very simply about going to a better place, a stronger place, a place where NU can best realize its potential in every spectrum.
If there's a regret I hear from Nebraskans, it's the idea of the Huskers not staying to take on Texas on the field. NU is back to feeling its oats, and last year showed that the Big Red is ready to win the Big 12 again. Too bad for the Big 12. It never had Nebraska, Texas and Oklahoma all great at the same time. That would have been something to see, and I think that Husker fans looked forward to it.
They don't want to be perceived as running from Texas.
Nebraska's not running from anything. It's looking toward a bright, bold future. It's looking toward its destiny.
Contact the writer: