Calm In Columbus Belies College Landscape Chaos

Posted by Vico in B1G TEN, CFB General |

Assuming that the conference mascots congregate at the same bar, I think Sparty and this guy will be getting in frequent arm wrestling contests.
Assuming that the conference mascots congregate at the same bar, I think Sparty and this guy will be getting in frequent arm wrestling contests.
This is definitely an interesting time in the college landscape, one of those rare times that makes you a bit grateful that you have a blog to discuss it all. Simply put, there is an all-encompassing wind of change sweeping through college athletics.  Importantly, Nebraska has followed through with what was long rumored to be their destiny: they will be leaving the Big 12 effective at the end of the next academic year.  The consequences of this are multiple.  The Big Ten, now with 12 teams1, will definitely be getting a conference championship game.  Aside from the NCAA stipulation that 12 team conferences have conference championship games, the addition of Nebraska makes the “western” sphere of the conference more competitive.  I am sure initial thoughts about a conference championship game were probably wondering just how competitive such a game would be if the power of the conference has been Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State.  I ran a post many months ago that showed just how uncompetitive this would be if we had taken it back a few decades.  I still think conference championship games make more money than they make football sense, but, regardless, we’re getting one.  We may not be done adding teams either.

Of course, that’s not the only story.  In fact, Nebraska isn’t the only story out of the Big 12… and isn’t the only team getting out of the Big 12.  Colorado has left to join the Pac 10, diluting up what was otherwise a very coherent conference.  Colorado may not be the only addition.  A “Pac 16″ is rumored to form, with the Pac 10 swallowing up the Oklahoma schools and the major players from the Texas delegation.  In short, the Big 12 is on the verge of being disemboweled.  A conference that had hitched its wagon on a premise of disproportionate revenue to Texas may soon be left holding on to a basketball school getting heavy scrutiny from the FBI and IRS, Kansas State, Missouri (who is apparently now be on the outside looking in) and Iowa State, a program so relevant that some in the conference don’t even know what it’s called2.  Meanwhile, Boise State finally jumped on the offer to join Brigham Young, Utah and Texas Christian in the Mountain West.  A realignment of the BCS seems sure to follow.

Not to be outdone, USC’s uppance finally came by way of severe NCAA sanctions, including the loss of 30 scholarships over the course of the next three years (starting after this one) and a two year postseason ban.  The Trojans were apparently very close to being taken off television as well.  Per NCAA policy, upperclassmen are now free to leave USC without penalty.  If similar NCAA bitchmakings of Auburn in the 1990s and Alabama at the turn of the century are any indication, then USC can probably expect to sit this next decade out.

Lastly, Sparty fans are probably at DEFCON-4.  Tom Izzo, fresh off his second consecutive Final Four appearance in a coaching tenure with multiple finals appearances, is on the shortlist for the Cleveland Cavaliers job.  The probability that he takes the job is very high, at least to the point that Sparty fans are thinking about the worst case scenario.

Are you disappointed that no one is talking about Ohio State?  Hell, I wouldn’t be disappointed.  Minus a few positive recruiting news, there has not been a peep coming from the WHAC.  This is perfect.  The chaos in the college landscape underscores how many programs have uncertain futures.  No, programs like Nebraska and Colorado are not on the verge of destruction, but they are necessarily taking something approximating a leap into the unknown.  Their move, almost by definition, comes from a strong dissatisfaction with their present condition to the point they would let go of their bird in the hand.  The glory years of Surfer Pete-era USC football have come to pass, probably leaving Trojan fans a little bitter about how it went down and worried about how long it will take before USC can return to the lofty status it had before.  Michigan State fans are having to think about life post-Izzo sooner than they would like.  In Buckeye news?  We have a new video tower.

And that’s pretty cool.


The cool part about taking in Nebraska is that their fanblogs are very good.  They were in another conference that I never paid too much attention to, so I can’t claim to be a regular, yearlong reader.  Regardless, Big Red Network and Corn Nation have always put out great stuff, even if they were operating on different frequences from me for the years before.  Add them to your RSS feed if you have not already.  Also, check out my post about the mutual connections between our two programs.

It’s fun to read the reaction from the Nebraska blogs and the Big Ten blogs, where everyone has been very cordial about the move and everyone seems very excited about the future.  The display is one of those events that makes having a blog like this very rewarding.  Of course, I guess I have to be the one to bring this up.  Ohio State clearly has a pretty good thing going.  We’ve won the conference title for the past five years.  We’re all excited about Nebraska.  But, so much as think about taking the crown from us and we’ll put you in a microwave.  Serious.

Welcome, Nebraska
Welcome, Nebraska
  1. …and, one wonders, a name change that may follow. []
  2. They seem to think they’ll fit in the Big Ten. []


Written by: Vico | full bio

Vico is the nom de guerre of the founder and current website chair of Our Honor Defend. He is currently living in exile in Alabama.


7 Responses to “Calm In Columbus Belies College Landscape Chaos”

  1. 1 Ron

    I’m happy to welcome a school that seems genuinely happy to be here. I’ll get my hate on, later, in about a year or two… I still don’t favor a conference championship game. But then, I’m not getting any of the money from it either.

  2. 2 Ken

    Good commentary and insight, Vico, thanks. Just another ho-hum offseason week, eh?

  3. 3 MikeLew

    One small point, Vico – having 12 teams does not necessitate a conference championship game. Rather, A conference can only have a championship game if it has 12 teams (To put it in mathematican/logician language, 12 teams is a necessary condition, but not a sufficient condition).

  4. 4 Nick M

    I will get my hate on later. Good way of putting it. I lived in Denver for 9 years and listened to idiot CU fans (worse than Elway lovers) talk about Nebraska after taking beating after beating. I am glad to have them. Yes, the school takes football serious. Now, save for Superman on the defensive line last year, Nebraska is in fact still struggling. I havn’t seen their recruits on, as they have been irrelevant to me lately in the Big 12, but I would be suprsied if they didn’t improve after last seasons improvements.

  5. 5 BED


    One of the desk jockeys in the studio on the Big Ten Network put it best (I can’t believe I wrote that): We should keep the name “Big Ten” to serve as a history lesson for future generations. We’ve had eleven teams for decades, who cares about the name change now? Plus, Big Ten has “brand equity,” so why change it?

    If the PAC-10 situation shakes out, I think Notre Dame will have to hitch its wagon to us, and I think that gives us Rutgers (at least) to go to 14. Maryland or UVA and Missouri or Pitt might round us out to be a superconference as well.

    I like the Nebraska add overall. Delaney is a shrewd business man.

  6. 6 Vico

    Yeah, that’s what I’m left to conclude about the Big Ten: it’s a brand now and it’s synonymous with the Midwest. The conference has so much invested in the moniker that it’d necessarily be losing something to change its name to rectify its numerical identity crisis.

  7. 7 BED

    Jim Delaney even said in his comments that “people with computers” were already figuring out ways to sneak a 12 into the logo like the 11 is now.

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