ESPN.com's David Ubben, who covers the Big XII for the self-proclaimed "Worldwide Leader" asked a question on Twitter that surprised me. Nebraska is now two football seasons removed from the Big XII; do Nebraska, Colorado, Texas A&M, and Missouri have any regrets?
Would be really intriguing if we got some truth serum and asked Big 12 expats what their decision would be if they had it to do over again.— David Ubben (@davidubben) January 17, 2013
His thoughts on the matter totally confounded me.
My guess: Colorado and A&M don't regret leaving one bit. May not for awhile. I sense regret from Huskers. Mizzou would come sprinting back.— David Ubben (@davidubben) January 17, 2013
I have no idea who Ubben's been talking to from Nebraska. Maybe Manti Te'o's girlfriend has a cousin in Beatrice. I've found a handful of people who wish Nebraska hadn't left the Big XII, but they are by far the minority.
Do Husker fans miss some of the old rivalries? We definitely miss the Oklahoma game, but the formation of the Big XII ended that series. While Nebraska fans appreciated the shorter drives of the Big XII (daytrips to Manhattan, Lawrence, Ames, and even Columbia trump longer drives to Minneapolis, Iowa City, and Madison), the new rivalries seem more interesting. Perhaps that's because they are newer, in large measure.
But having marguee inter-division games with Michigan and Michigan State trump what Nebraska had in the Big XII. Even if those end when the 14 team B1G realigns, we'll probably pick up an annual game with Wisconsin. That's still a point in favor of the Big Ten.
Bowl games? Look at all of the Big Ten games on New Years Day, compared to the Big XII. Television coverage? No more pay-per-view games. When ABC televises a game regionally, it's always available on ESPN or ESPN2 in the rest of the country on the reverse mirror. Even basketball games get more coverage thanks to BTN. And the best part is we NEVER have to suffer through another FSN broadcast.
Did Nebraska fans underestimate the difficulty of switching conferences? Yep. Did the Huskers under-perform in their first two Big Ten football seasons? Most definitely. But that doesn't change the opinion. Nebraska made the only choice possible in June 2010. It was the right decision then, and the right decision now.
Is the Big XII more stable now than it was before? Absolutely, but that's because four teams bolted. Texas continues to feel their oats, but has been contained by the fact that no other conference will tolerate the shenanigans in Austin. The Longhorns have extracted everything they could from the remaining members of the Big XII, and nobody else will offer them more. So they are set in Austin, complete with the television network nobody can watch.
That hadn't been resolved yet in 2010 when the Big XII teetered on the precipice of implosion on a regular basis every time Austin tried to pull another fast one on the rest of the conference. Dan Beebe is now history, and the Big XII now has stable leadership and a decent financial package for all schools.
Nebraska still will make more money in the Big Ten over the long-term, though. So from a financial standpoint, the Big Ten move was the right one. Membership in the CIC is a net positive for Nebraska-Lincoln academic programs. Most Olympic sports are benefiting from the move. Men's basketball is struggling right now, but they would be struggling in the Big XII. Baseball might be the one sport that's hurt by the conference change, but even that comes with some silver linings. Does anybody think that Omaha could ever host the Big XII Baseballl tournament? (Well, that's what they call it now...)
My take is that Ubben's dead wrong on this one, except with Texas A&M. The Aggies have to be happy about things. Colorado, I don't know. The Buffs are pretty irrelevant no matter where they are. I'm pretty sure Missouri fans are pleased with the SEC as well.
@husker_mike He's out of his mind about Mizzou.I'm talking men in white lab coats kind of crazy.— AJ (@AJtheHater) January 17, 2013
So what do you think? Do you regret the move to the Big Ten? Do you wish Nebraska could go back to the Big XII, if the door was opened?