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Big Ten Expansion Question and Answer on Nebraska's Candidacy with Michigan's Maize n Brew

What if Nebraska joined the Big 10? What's waiting there for us? Would they accept us? What's in it for us? Is anyone more embarrassing to a school than Larry the Cable Guy? 

We wanted to know, and we're sure you do too. Funny thing is, people in the Big 10 have a lot of the same questions we do. In the spirit of collaboration and in hopes of being appointed Big 10 ambassador, we traded questions with Maize N Brew Dave. If ignorance leads to fear and hatred, then we're doing our bit to introduce Husker fans to the Big 10 in hopes that there are fewer killings if the big switch happens. Our answers to Dave's questions are here

Q.  Nebraska brings 5 National titles, 3 Heisman winners, the best fans in the country, and Runzas to the table. Can you tell us what Michigan brings, food- or other wise, that would make it worth OUR while to join the Big 10?  (Beating Ohio State every year aside..)

MnB Dave: I didn't know we were going to pull out the tape measure and play show and tell, but since you insist.... Ahem... S'cuse me while I whip this out... Michigan has 11 National Titles, Three Heisman winners, 150 All America selections, the largest college football stadium in the country, the coolest uniforms in all of sports, 32 total Division 1 national championships (all sports), and since it's Olympic time 204 Olympians and 120 Olympic medals (57 gold, 28 silver, and 36 bronze). Excluding this year's Olympic games Michigan's 57 gold medals would make it the 17th most successful country of all time (and no, most of them are not for ice dancing). So we've got that going for us. Which is nice.

If we're talking about foods and beverages, let me take you around the Big Ten. Michigan provides some outstanding beer from Bells Brewery; Wisconsin gives us brats, the New Glarus Brewery, and cheese (sooooo much cheese); Illinois and Northwestern bring the Goose Island Brewery, deep dish pizza, and Vienna beef hot dogs; Minnesota's got the Juicy Lucy; Iowa's got Meth and grain alcohol; and Pennsylvania's got Yuengling Beer. As far as Indiana and Ohio, they provide nothing of value other than a chili enema from Skyline Chili. Blech... The rest of us cancel them out, so I think over all we're bringing something good to the table.

Better Beer? Whooo!

Q. The biggest thing that bothers me about joining the Big 10 is all those trophies you guys play for. Floyd of Rosedale, Paul Bunyan's Axe, or some old Oaken Bucket, for example. Let's say Nebraska establishes a rivalry with some of the Big 10 schools. What types of trophies can we expect to play for?

MnB Dave: I note you did not discuss the awesomeness of the Little Brown Jug, this will not go unpunished. Also, you don't like Floyd of Rosedale? He's a pig. Pigs make Bacon. Don't you like bacon? You must be communists and want to play for some kind of hammer and sickle trophy. 

Your communism aside, I'm not really sure what you'd play for. So long as it's not the land grant trophy, god is that awful, we're cool. Maybe you could play for some kind of corn related trophy with Illinois. You've got corn. They've got corn. It works. Perhaps the Golden Trailer Trophy with Iowa, the Alcoholism Trophy with Wisconsin, stuff like that.

Q. Husker fans travel better than anyone in the nation. Take us on a trip around the Big 10's stadiums. What would Husker fans love the most about traveling through Big 10 country? The beer in Wisconsin? The Whiteouts at Penn State? Northwestern fans cheering "We scored first"?

A tour of Big Ten stadiums, eh? We'll start east and work our way west. A night game at Penn State with the Paternoville and the White Out (good lord is it loud); strap on a bullet proof vest for a trip to Columbus and pretend your Husker red is Scarlet so you don't get knifed; next travel North to Ann Arbor to enjoy Ashley's Pub and all 70 beers on tap while entering the largest stadium in America; then head a little northwest to Michigan State to see the site of Charles Woodson's one handed interception; you can skip the state of Indiana (there's a Rock of some sort and a tiny train); Chambana has plenty of seats available despite being a pretty nice stadium; Northwestern lets you tailgate fairly easily and access Chicago for some partying after the game (plus, it's a really intimate stadium that's a lot of fun to go to); then, it's on to Wisconsin for the tailgating, brats, alcoholism, and Jump Around; Minnesota has, arguably, the prettiest new stadium in the country along with a tailgating bent that you really wouldn't expect; and finally, a trip to a night game at Kinnick, which is for my money the best tailgating in Big Ten and the biggest party. Start strong, end strong. You'll love it. 

Q. Do you really think that Nebraska would be welcomed with open arms? I've been living in Minnesota for 20 years now, and whenever I mention the University of Nebraska around them, the first thing that happens is their nose turns up. Is that just Minnesota, or is that a fair representation of the rest of you?

MnB Dave: Heh. The Minnesotans are turning their nose up at you? Well, that's because you're not one of us. Plus, the Varmint Cong have always been a little weird about outsiders. Just look at their hockey team. I think Nebraska would be welcomed with open arms by Big Ten fans just based on the school's football history. The biggest thing for acceptance is being competitive. If you come in and win some games, then people well welcome you for bringing up the level of play. If you come in and suck, you're gonna take a lot of crap. Winning fixes everything.

Q. What's your favorite show on the Big 10 network? You watch it, don't you, or do you guys just make money with it and talk about it? Seriously, who's watching it, and what are they watching?

I personally love the BTN. It's on constantly during the football season. Their wrap up shows cover every team as if they're a BCS contender, and their Behind the Schemes show is just outstanding. Plus, and I have to admit this, I'm a big fan of Gerry DiNardo. During the Basketball Season I tend to watch a lot more BTN than I have this season due to Michigan's rather "meh" season. But for non-revenue sports like Hockey, Baseball, volleyball, etc... they get a lot of coverage as well. Once you're a part of the BTN, you're hooked.

Q. We have "Larry the Cable Guy" as one of our biggest fans and supporters. Some Nebraskans find him embarrassing because he reinforces the "hick" stereotype that pervades our lives. What Michigan supporters are you most embarrassed by, or are there other Big 10 celebrity supporters you find embarrassing for their schools?

MnB Dave: You mean besides Madonna and the Unabomber? No one. No one at all. Besides, we've got an entire auto industry and failed state government to be ashamed of. Everybody in the Big Ten's got annoying celebs that can be loathed, but we prefer to make harsh and uncalled for generalizations about our other member schools. For instance, all Ohio State fans are this guy. On the other side of the coin, all Michigan fans are this guy. But lets be clear, the Big Ten is full of hicks. Hicks that love Larry the Cable Guy. Sadly, his presence will be welcomed like Caesar to Rome in the Big Ten.

And you find Larry embarrassing?

Q: There's been discussions about the Big Ten adding only one team, but also adding three or even five more teams.  What's your preference, and what would you call the conference then?  Stick with the Big Ten, assuming that nobody outside of the math department would notice?

MnB Dave: I'm more a fan of adding a single team to make things simple. But if we added three more really good schools/teams I wouldn't get too upset. Either way, we're probably going to have to change the conference's name, but I don't have a clue what too. I'm gunning for "The Herculoids".

Q:  I'm sure you've caught a few Big XII games on FSN over the years, so I have to ask.  Who would you prefer up in the TV booth:  Pam Ward or Artie Gigantino?

MnB Dave: Is death an option?

Q: No

MnB Dave: Death anyway.

Q:  In recent years, bowl games haven't been kind to the Big Ten.  Is the idea of Big Ten expansion a case of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em"?

MnB Dave: I think the OMG BIGTEN SUX LOL!@!!!!!12!!! meme is a little old. For the most part the Big Ten's been a game below .500 for most of this "bad stretch". A bad bowl season in 2008-9 is really what's to blame for this. This past season the Big Ten's best trashed the PAC 10, ACC and SEC reps. MSU lost to Texas Tech in part because they were missing 20 players.

Besides, it's not like the Big Ten and Big XII really play one another that often. Other than OSU/Texas, the conferences only match up at the bottom of the bowl hierarchy so it's not a great measuring stick for competitiveness over all. If this was a question of "can't beat em", according to ESPN, shouldn't we be talking about stealing SEC teams?

Q:  Speaking of bowl games, what's the big deal about the Rose Bowl?  It's a dilapidated stadium with awful sight lines (unless they've rebuilt the place since 2001).  Along the same lines, if the Big Ten were to add teams from the Big XII, would you want to bring along any of the Big XII's bowl ties as well?

MnB Dave: The Rose Bowl!? Dilapidated!?!? Never mind. Yeah. It's a little worn down. But the reason it's such a big part of Midwestern life is that it was the first bowl game. And it's ours. Plus, when you're playing football in the middle of November in Ann Arbor, the thought of southern California in January is kinda nice. Now, if we're talking about stealing a bowl game from the Big XII there's no question; the Cotton Bowl. I know there's no shot in hell of that happening, but whether it's the Cotton Bowl at Jerry World or the Cotton Bowl in the State Fair Grounds in Dallas, I want it. There's so much history there. And since we love old bowl games, this one will fit nicely.

Q:  This isn't an expansion question, but I do have to ask:  Is Rich Rodriquez is your Bill Callahan?

MnB Dave: To me? No. Not even close. Rodriguez is a guy trying to fix a program that was just starting a death spiral no one was willing to admit was on the way. Frankly, the cupboard was bare when he came on and it takes a little while for that kind of stuff to get fixed. I really like Rodriguez both as a coach and as a person. In person he's genuine. I spent four years working on Capitol Hill, so my BS meter is fairly tuned. I just don't get that, slick willie vibe from him. He answers questions directly. He's really protective of his players. He's really friendly. Hell even when he's wiped out, he'll stop and take a photo with alumni. He really gets what being a Michigan coach is about, and I appreciate that about the guy. Michigan's going to be a lot better this year, and his recruiting classes set them up to be even better in the years to come.

But, unfortunately, the non-reactionary people don't seem to see it that way. If Michigan doesn't make a bowl this year he may very well become our Bill Callahan. I hope not, but it's a real possibility with the pressure the media's going to put on him and the University if Michigan doesn't perform well in 2010.