Huskers and Big 10 Are No Strangers to Change
Traditionalists are decrying the changes on the horizon in college football. The Big Ten is leading the way with an obvious path bent on expansion. The SEC and Pac 10 are waiting in the wings to pick over the carcass of the Big 12 after the Big 10 gets through with it. Waving the flag of tradition, some fans want things to stay the same. But the argument of tradition for tradition's sake is bunk. Just because the modern era of college football had a reasonably smooth period in the last half of the last century, does not mean college football has always been a stable establishment.
Before 1950, Nebraska faced 7 changes to the conferences that they were a part of. From 1907 to 1964 as the conference changed from the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association to the Big 8, the conference saw schools come and go, with changes occurring an average of six and a half years apart. Schools like Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Colorado came or went as it benefited the conference or the team.
The Big Ten even had 5 different conference adjustments during a similar time period in the past. They saw Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, the University of Chicago, and Michigan State come or go all before 1950.
One of the big differences today is about the core group of Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. It looks like this group, unchanged since 1907, could be split up. For the first time, a major conference wants to steal one of these teams away and actually have the capacity to do so. In the past, it has always been other schools joining this group's party. That's what's so harrowing to opponents of the pending changes.
The college football landscape is like a volcano. The longer a stable system is in place, the more likely we're going to see a major explosion of change on the horizon. We have been due to see an upheaval, but what will be the repercussions of unseating a major solid rock in the college football landscape?
If the Big Ten comes calling and Nebraska accepts, it will have felt like Lincoln has been picked up and dropped in a different world. But these types of changes were quite common before the long stretch of relative peace over the last 50 years. The collapse of the Southwest Conference and symbiosis with the Big 8 was the opening of a door to conferences being swapped or turned on their head at any time.
The Huskers and its fans should look at this as no more than just an opportunity to take our brand of football and make it win in a new arena if given that chance. No matter if NU joins another conference or not, there will be changes to the conference the Huskers are in (Big Ten or Big 12). With Tom Osborne and Bo Pelini at the helm, NU will be able to navigate and succeed in the face of those changes.