Is that you, peeking in the rearview mirror?
You noticed that the big, bad Longhorn Network is not a factor in Austin or most places with cable TV. A paper channel, nothing to be worried about.
You've seen that the Big 12 has moved on, securing TV deals worth $20 million per school and, lo and behold, all 10 schools relinquished their TV rights, keeping the league intact for 13 more years.
You look at the Big 12 round-robin format and think, man, Nebraska-Oklahoma could have been revived. You miss hating the Tigers, Jayhawks and even the Wildcats. Sparty and Herky don't move your needle.
You can't bear to watch the weekly slapstick show that is Big Ten football, and you wonder what the big deal was.
Funny, there are probably some in the Big Ten who are saying the same about Nebraska football.
You are out there, you Husker fans with a touch of buyer's remorse. I read your emails, I hear you on the street. I feel your uneasiness about the future.
Maybe it's just the hangover from not only losing to UCLA but looking slow, and then hearing that all is well, the Huskers still have the Big Ten title to play for.
See? Nebraska's already a Big Ten team. That didn't take long.
It's a normal knee-jerk reaction. Don't go there. There are a number of reasons, including the news Wednesday that Notre Dame is joining the Atlantic Coast Conference (in all sports except football), to keep your eye on the road ahead.
Ľ 1. You can't play the “what-if” game with the Big 12.
The fact is, when Nebraska joined the Big Ten two years ago, the Big 12 had a future full of hidden land mines.
The Longhorn Network was a rumor at the time, but even as speculation, it was a sign that Texas was playing by its own rules. And UT had no intention of releasing its media rights to the league.
Meanwhile, “Jump to the Pac-12” looked like a shell game the Horns could play forever, using it whenever they wanted something.
And there was no reason to believe then that Chuck Neinas or Bob Bowlsby would ever take over Dan Beebe's office.
I've said this before: the Big 12 had to go to the edge of the cliff to get where it is now. It had to be threatened with extinction, something Texas never wanted. A league built on a fault line of mixed agendas and egos was doomed at some point, and it probably couldn't move on until Texas dissidents like NU, Texas A&M and Mizzou left.
Ľ 2. Big Ten membership has its advantages. Unlimited TV exposure and money. Academic grant revenues. Big Ten Network. Giordano's pizza in Chicago.
And let's be honest: as mediocre as it looks, Big Ten football is a better place for Nebraska to be right now.
What, you want to see that defense take on West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kansas State and TCU?
Ohio State and Michigan might be the future, but in the present, the Big Ten is in transition mode. Michigan State looks like the cream. The Husker team with flaws handled MSU last year.
That hardly means a Big Ten title this year, but Bo Pelini and his staff clearly have more kinks to work out and the Big Ten looks like a friendlier place to do that.
Yes, there's that Big Ten/Rose Bowl malaise that looks to you like quicksand. Gotcha. Win a division first before we wring hands about becoming a Rose Bowl zombie.
Frankly, you can build a team with speed to play for a national title in the Big Ten. Urban Meyer is planning on it.
Relax. The rivalries will come. It took until 1998 before K-State got under your skin. That is, if you admitted it.
Ľ 3. Notre Dame isn't ever joining the Big Ten. Not that that's any surprise.
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The Irish covet football independence. They were looking to cut a deal with a league not named the Big East that would harbor their other sports. The ACC and Big 12 lined up. The Big Ten said all sports or nothing. Both sides knew where the other stood. Wednesday's news was no slap at the Big Ten. ND was never a possibility.
But the Irish are very likely the only other possibility for Big Ten expansion. There's no other school out there that brings major impact to the TV profile. Not unless Alabama or USC is available.
The Big Ten expanded to get the Huskers. Now, let's see if the Big Red can reward that faith.
Ľ 4. Like most amusement parks this time of year, the conference realignment merry-go-round is likely shut down.
The addition of Notre Dame, along with a $50 million buyout for leaving the ACC, will keep ACC schools from bolting. With the Irish in the ACC's TV profile, there's no need for that league to expand further. The Big 12/DeLoss Dodds have said there's no reason to expand. The Big East, with a new commish, should stabilize with the ACC and Big 12 out of the poaching market.
Don't look now, but it looks like the dust is settling. See that chap next to you wearing a disguise this week? That's a Hawkeye. Get used to him.
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