College football is filled with drama right now. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have postponed the college football season to the spring, which I have no confidence is actually going to happen. There have been rumors that Nebraska and other Big Ten schools may have interest in joining the SEC or Big 12 for a year to play ball. It seems very unlikely, but crazier things have happened. Nebraska came out to say in won’t leave the Big 12, but hey, should the Big 12 make a pitch anyway?
HCS contributors Pete Mundo, Matthew Postins and Cameron Brock chimed in.
Pete Mundo: I would see this is a trial run to get Nebraska back in the Big 12 permanently, which I think would be a win for both sides. Nebraska, despite its recent struggles, is still a national brand. And frankly, the Big 12 needs another one or two of them back in the conversation. Right now it’s just Texas and Oklahoma. Having another one adds value. Meantime, for Nebraska it brings the program back home to a conference where it was a national contender and was able to recruit Texas very well. Nebraska has lost that pipeline and the program hasn’t been the same since. In fact, I’d make the pitch to Nebraska and Iowa. Why not? As the old saying goes, “What do you have to lose?”
Matthew Postins: If the Nebraska Cornhuskers came calling to return to the Big 12 Conference, I think I would take a pass, if I were commissioner Bob Bowlsby and the league’s school presidents, and they’re the ones that would ultimately make the call. I don’t believe Nebraska’s return would appreciably help the league. This is not the same Nebraska program that left the Big 12 after the 2010 season. Nebraska has won its Big Ten division just one time (in 2012) and has had losing years in four of its last five seasons. I actually have faith Scott Frost will get it done in Lincoln. But I think this is more about the Big 12 than about Nebraska. The league has a good thing going in its major sports. It’s as stable as it’s ever been. This isn’t the time to take on additional carriage, as enticing as Nebraska might be. I’d stay away from this one.
Cameron Brock: Yes, the Big 12 should accept Nebraska back as a full-time member. This is a massive win for both, the conference and Nebraska. The Big Ten added Rutgers and Maryland after they added the Cornhuskers. I don’t think Nebraska saw that coming. For Nebraska, they get out of a horrible conference and bring back the recruiting pipeline from Texas they relied on so heavily for decades.For the Big 12, it takes a massive bite out of the Big Ten. The Big 12 is prepared for an 11-team conference. All it has to do is add a 10th conference game to the round robin.
Meanwhile, it forces the Big Ten into an awkward 13-team alignment. With the addition of Nebraska, it also provides the Big 12 Conference more leverage to find a 12th quality program if it so chooses to pursue the division alignment at some point. The biggest hurdle when looking at options was “Who would be the 12th team?” Bringing back a blue-blood in Nebraska and providing them with the Texas recruiting pipeline, that question is now answered. Now, the question becomes: Does the Big 12 want a 12th team? Who knows. Minnesota, Iowa, Florida State or another Power Five team might see what Nebraska did, become trigger happy and bolt from their current conference.
I see a win-win. It probably won’t happen because of timing and logistics, but it would be an amazing deal for both sides.
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