Well, it’s official. Nebraska is now a member of the Big 10 (in reality, 12). I’m no expert on college athletics or the nuances of conference lineups, but from everything I can tell this move just makes a lot of sense.
And I think what happened in the Big 12 was basically the same premise you find in the proverbial wild, wild west. Texas and Nebraska stared at each other along the dusty road declaring ‘This town isn’t big enough for the both of us.’ You take the facts that the conference offices are in Texas, the Conference Championship game is in Texas and the (ahem) officiating in last year’s championship game between Nebraska and Texas and it’s pretty clear that Texas (and the conference brass) feels they’re the alpha dog and everything else should fall in line.
Osborne’s comment that the southern teams wanted a commitment from Nebraska, yet were in talks with other conferences was a huge red flag and he and Perlman were right to call shenanigans. I’ve watched Osborne for years and to most people outside of Nebraska, he seems to be utterly without emotion or passion, but watching him speak before the Regents, I could tell he was pissed. Texas (who seems to speak for everyone south of Kansas) was being disingenuous. Time to move on.
I think Harvey Perlman deserve enormous credit as well. He’s taken a beating for the Peterson years, but one measure of a good leader is learning from mistakes, and he has done a great job rebuilding the once great empire. Steve Sipple also offers this juicy little nugget:
…don’t underestimate Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman’s role in putting NU in its current strong position. He may not be popular with the masses — still haunted by the Pederson years — but he thrives while working the complex and delicate political system of academia, and is a prominent figure in college athletics, in part because of his role as chairman of the NCAA Division I board of directors.
He’ll outmaneuver the best of them in back rooms, and he and Osborne, a former congressman, evidently did that in the Big Ten expansion battle. I’m told that in April, top university officials considered the Huskers to be outside the top three in the Big Ten’s plans. Perlman and Osborne stayed aggressive. Perlman has deep connections in the Big Ten at the president/chancellor level, and those connections apparently paid off.
Perlman and Osborne proved to be a formidable team. Sort of like Devaney and Osborne on the sidelines. Osborne ascended to head coach in 1973, and fan passion surged to levels that astound me to this day. Beyond that, the brand name manifests itself in the form of eyes on TV sets.
Indeed. I also have to give myself a lot of credit. When the Big 12 was formed, it turned my stomach. I never liked the idea of us being in the same conference with Texas. It never felt right from day one. Now, everyone can see what I saw then…it was a bad match.
Well played, gentlemen.