One of the negatives that's been mentioned regarding a potential Nebraska move to the Big 10 is the possibility that it would hurt recruiting players out of Texas. The fear is that if Nebraska is no longer playing a regular schedule in Texas, they simply won't have the visibility that Big 12 conference play has provided.
The idea is conjecture without first answering the question - has the Big 12 affected our ability to recruit in Texas? In other words, has Nebraska picked up more recruits in Texas since they've been playing a Big 12 schedule?
Below is the list of Texas players on Nebraska's roster from 1980-2010.
Click on the picture for a larger image.
1970 - 2
1971 - 1
1973 - 1
You can conclude the following from this (short) exercise:
- The greatest Nebraska teams, the Osborne teams in the 90s, didn't have that many Texas players.
- The Big 12 didn't cause a whole gob of Texas players to come to Nebraska. The Big 12 started play in 1996, and while you see a uptick in 2003, it doesn't match the high point of 16 Osborne had in 1989.
- The huge increase in the number of Texas players on the roster occurred when Bo Pelini became head coach, not just because Nebraska is playing in the Big 12. The coaches have clearly made an effort to recruit out of Texas, and it's paid off.
Recruiting is based largely on the relationships that a coaching staff establishes with high school coaches and players. There are so many more games on TV and so much more coverage of the sport (and of course, there's the internet) that it's nearly impossible to have a good football program and not get the attention of a young man who might want to play for your school.
Will Nebraska lose recruits if they move to the Big 10 conference? Not by looking at this they won't.