I noticed a quote making the rounds on twitter yesterday. It's a bit pulled from a Pete Fiutak column at College Football News. (You remember Pete, he's the guy who profiled recruit Matt James in a Notre Dame preview despite the fact that James was tragically killed in March.)
From Fiutak's Cavalcade of Whimsy comes:
It'll be a complete and utter disaster for the Big 12 if the Huskers end up winning the conference title.
I know Nebraska is a long ways ahead from making this dream come true, one game at a time and all that, but it's still nice to think about, isn't it?
Let's break it down anyway. Let's take a look into the future for a look at what it'd mean if Nebraska won the Big 12 North, and possibly the Big 12 this season.
If Nebraska wins the Big 12 North, it'll be written off as winning a weak half of the conference. Despite Kansas State and Colorado looking better than anticipated (i.e., they may have more fight in them than most people thought), it's generally recognized that everyone not named Missouri is down this year.
So winning the Big 12 North means next to nothing in gained prestige, unless, of course, you're involved with an argument with a (Big 12 North) fan, then you can tell them to go piss themselves. Forever.
Getting to the Big 12 title game and suffering a close loss against the Big 12 South team would have nearly the same result as winning the Big 12 North. Little gained prestige, largely due to the fact that expectations have been set very high for the Huskers this season, not only by Husker fans, but on a national level (one reason to fear high early season rankings - you may be doomed to fail).
Winning the Big 12.... would be a boon for Nebraska and the Big Ten... and a disaster for the Big 12. I'd stop short of saying "complete and utter" only because I'm not prone to hyperbole (at least not on Wednesdays).
The prospect of Nebraska winning the Big 12 looks more likely than it did a week ago. The Sooner defense should have you wondering if they'll duplicate last year's schedule while the Longhorn offense should have you wondering if they'll score over 30 against anyone this season. Both are more vulnerable than they originally appeared (as is Nebraska's defense, but this is my psychic projection, not yours).
What would the long-term effects be were Nebraska to win the Big 12?
They would be immediate for the Big Ten. Nebraska's name would become imminently more salable, giving even more meaning to the tough schedule the Huskers will face in 2011. The prestige of the conference would increase significantly, the beauty of leaving as a champion (the one that got away?), not to mention it would be sweeeet.
T-shirt sales alone would probably offset any penalty the Big 12 could bestow.
I don't think the affects on the Big 12 would be as disastrous as you might think. The conference will be known (sadly) as Texas, Oklahoma, and the poor little sisters regardless of what happens this season. Oklahoma won't care much as they'll always have Texas.
If you're thinking that our winning the conference would stick it to Texas, think again. They won't care. The new, improved Big 12 will be their dream conference regardless of who wins it this year. They'll have Boise State's schedule in a BCS conference. In another year or two, it won't bother them a damned bit. Seriously, who wouldn't want that if they could get it?