Big Ten Reportedly Hits First Home Run Of Expansion, Snags Nebraska

The Omaha World-Herald has become the first media outlet who's willing to act on the whispers that had circulated yesterday. According to the OWH, Nebraska is headed to the Big Ten, maybe as soon as Friday:

An executive at a Big 12 school relayed to The World-Herald on Tuesday that he expects Nebraska to become a member of the Big Ten as early as Friday.

NU Chancellor Harvey Perlman has declined all interviews about conference realignment and expansion. He is expected to address the topic with the Board of Regents at its Friday meeting in Lincoln.

Direct confirmation from Nebraska of a conference change for the Huskers wasn't immediately available. Sources at two other Big 12 schools told The World-Herald that their athletic directors have instructed them to be ready by week's end for a briefing on probable Big 12 changes.

Nebraska's basically done issuing flat denials at this point; that, plus the fact that the OWH is pegging this rumor to multiple (yes, unnamed) athletic directors means that we're going to forgo the usual embargo on unnamed sources when it comes to expansion rumors. This is doubly so because we're just going to go out on a limb and guess that the Big XII doesn't have quite the message discipline that the Big Ten's got these days.

Assuming the rumor is true, credit must go where it's due: while he never claimed to be working from active intelligence, Law Buckeye at The Rivalry Esq. totally nailed this as step one of a Big Ten plan. All indications are that Texas has been waiting for Nebraska to make the first step in order to save face; why else do you think that despite the far more actionable Pac-16 rumors, UT was never put under an ultimatum? So here it is, Nebraska making the first step.

At this point, the only question left is which next home run the Big Ten hits. If Texas jets to the Pac-10 and it takes most of the XII South with it, that probably sets off enough alarms in South Bend that independence is effectively obsolete. Then the Big Ten's got 13 members and can choose from Kansas, Mizzou, Pitt, Syracuse, and Rutgers to get to 14 or 16.

On the other hand, Texas may use the opportunity to tell its legislature that this turmoil is its perfect opportunity to join the Big Ten--a league more aligned with Texas' priorities and time zone than the Pac-10, and far more with the priorities than the SEC. Heck, with enough of a sweetheart deal between the school and legislature, Texas and Texas A&M could solve The Tech Problem, even if Jim Delany's initial vision didn't involve strictly moving west.

In either situation, we think Nebraska's not only a mammoth addition on their own, but the gateway to yet another "hr addition." But that's all speculation for another day

For now, Nebraska: we haven't forgotten three things.

First, this play, with a 35-0 lead and a hair over five minutes to play:

Second, that we had the score at 14-13 one play before the half the very next year, while that legendary fanbase booed until Crouch bailed Nebraska out;

Third, that there's been precisely two Nebraska teams since then that would have beaten their Iowa counterparts ('01, '06). This rivalry is long overdue. Anytime, anywhere. Let the hate begin.

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