THE Ohio State University. Lets get that straight from the get go. It may sound pompous to us, but when you have the second largest campus in the US, have over 60,000 students, continually finish in the top 25 in the directors cup, and have won national championships in football, men’s basketball, and baseball, well you can command some respect.
The Ohio State University represents all that is exciting and all that troubles me about expanding to the Big 10. You have a football team that oozes tradition and excellence, but you it is also a University that has 1.65 billion in endowment (UNL has ~1 billion), and 3 times the enrollment of Nebraska.
Will Nebraska be trading in one Texas for another "Texas" in Ohio State?
Buckeye football: 7 National Championships, 9 undefeated seasons, 34 conference championships, and 14 distinct football traditions listed on Wikipedia. You want a history of excellence? Done. You want old school football traditions? How about the block O, a cheering section started in 1938? Or jumping in Mirror Lake for good luck for the Michigan game? Or how about "The Best Damn Band In The Land"? (TBDBITL) and dotting the "i" in script Ohio?
You cannot mention Ohio State football without mentioning Michigan. It’s the best rivalry in sports, surpassing Red Socks/Yankees. I can’t attest to what the Nebraska/Oklahoma rivalry was, and I’m over 30 years old. Nebraska has no rivals (Missouri is trying, bless them) and hasn't for quite some time, but Ohio State knows all about playing a rival Michigan. Most Ohio State fans I know can sing you an alternate version of the Michigan fight song. I’d write it out for you, but it would break my firefox censor…
The Buckeyes play in "The Shoe" which only holds over 100,000 fans. (Fun fact: Ohio Stadium does not have field lights that function, and thus must have temporary lights installed for any night games). The fans are loyal and crazed. They live for their football just as much as Nebraska fans do, though they seem to hate couches and mattresses, burning both after wins. I was unable to find how futons are treated, I assume they are double persecuted, being an unholy combination of mattress and couch.
Nebraska has not played Ohio State in football since 1955 and 1956; No doubt the Buckeye are afraid of Nebraska. At least Bo Pelini will be familiar with Ohio State, since he played as a free safety for the Buckeyes from 1987-1990. Some dark corners of the Internet suggest that Bo would be inclined to return to his alma mater if the opportunity arose.
I’m wondering how Nebraska will fit in as the new kid in the Big 10 if and when this expansion happens. You have Ohio State with all the tradition, it’s relationship with Michigan, and it’s rabid fan base. I wonder if the average Nebraska fan appreciates how much goes on in other football universes. Right now Nebraska sits atop the Big 12 North and only has to play Texas or Oklahoma once a year. Ohio State would be a Texas/Oklahoma type opponent. A large, rich school, with a storied football tradition, that has an established rivalry.