We haven't done a "What If" in awhile, so I thought I'd propose this one to you. In 2006, Tom Osborne ran for governor of Nebraska. When he announced he was running, most people in the state just assumed that he would win. After all, he had been a U.S. congressman from Nebraska's 3rd district for three terms and those election outcomes resembled the 1996 Fiesta Bowl results. In 2000, he won 82% of the votes, 93% in 2002, and 87% in 2004.
But he didn't even win the Republican Primary. In what is one of the greatest upsets in Nebraska history, 16th seeded Dave Heineman upset top-seeded Tom Osborne. If he had won the primary, he was all but assured to win the general election. Becoming governor means that he would not have been available to take the reigns of Nebraska's athletic department in 2007 when things came crumbling down.
If Tom Osborne doesn't become the next athletic director who does? And would Nebraska be headed to the Big Ten right now if someone else was in charge? Some people outside of the state believe that Osborne was key to Nebraska's move to the Big Ten because of a grudge he held back when the Big 8 became the Big XII. He had an important connection within the Big Ten that helped Nebraska get inside the front door. But then again, according to that article, Jim Delany started things off by asking Barry Alvarez about Nebraska, so who knows. What do you think? Do things pan out the way they have if Osborne is elected governor instead of becoming the Nebraska AD?