Big Ten Gets Big Prize as Nebraska Joins the Conference
Delany said he was "very proud that Nebraska is now a member of our conference" and added he was "equally convinced" Nebraska would be as good an addition as Penn State has proved to be. The commissioner and the Nebraska officials went out of their way to praise each other.
Nebraska became the second team to leave the Big 12 Conference in two days, following Colorado (bound for the Pac-10) The Cornhuskers will begin Big Ten play in the 2011-12 academic year. From the sound of things at today's press conference, that can't get here soon enough for either the Big Ten or Nebraska.
Delany was noncommittal about whether the Big Ten's expansion would stop with Nebraska, alluding to "something seismic" which might affect all of college football. He refused to discuss any institutions that might still be considered for membership. He did say the conference would likely add a football championship game but gave no further details. Delany also said the conference would try to save traditional rivalries but "competitive fairness" would be the main goal.
Delany may have tipped his hand about the Big Ten's future plans when he said the conference "didn't want anbody who didn't want equality" with the rest of the league. Take your pick; he could have been referring to Texas, Notre Dame or both.
Osborne joked that he was pleased with the conference's unanimous vote since he'd had "personal experience with votes that didn't go so well." The quip was a reference to Osborne's failed gubernatorial campaign in 2006. Osborne was deferential to his colleagues in the Big 12, a sharp contrast to his and University of Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman's words at Friday afternoon's Board of Regents meeting where the pair seemed to blame Texas and its loyalty ultimatum for breaking up the Big 12.
Osborne held out the possibility that Nebraska might continue some of its Big 12 rivalries on a non-conference basis but doubted the school could play more than one of those games per season.
Pelini got the biggest laugh of the afternoon when he claimed "I'm not an emotional guy" in response to a question about his atypically low-key demeanor. Pelini, a former Ohio State defensive back, emphasized his familiarity with the Big Ten but stated it would be business as usual for the Huskers once they joined the conference.