Call Nebraska new money. Much in the same way Roger Klotz (of TV program 'Doug' fame) started putting on airs and tossing his cash around when he found himself newly wealthy, the Nebraska media is letting everyone know that, "Hey, did you hear? We're in the Big Ten now." OWH sportswriters/sworn enemies Tom Shatel and Lee Barfknecht are--surprise, surprise--leading the way. In his June 15th article, Shatel sees that his days of hacking out column after column bashing Texas--and, thusly, whipping the cross-eyed Nebraska faithful in a mouth-frothing frenzy--are numbered, so he took the opportunity to give the Longhorns a kick one more time. Give it a read, then we'll regroup for discussion.
Done? Ok. My thoughts: I sure hope that Texas A.D. DeLoss Dodds has a mustache, preferably a long, greasy black one akin to Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook. Why? Because if the powers-that-be down in Texas are the sinister, back-biting, two-faced, good-for-nothing, dirty, low-down scoundrels that Shatel portrays them as, Dodds better be twisiting that 'stache and twisting it often. Texas salvaged a league that was on the verge of collapse and throwing Division I football into disarray. They kept five teams, four from the cherished days of the Big 8, from being totally left out in the cold and banished to irrelevance. They helped preserve a conference that is arguably one of the best football powerhouses in the nation, giving it a chance to fight another day. According to Shatel, though, all this conference expansion was a ruse to scare Nebraska away, thus eliminating all of Texas' competition (well, except for Oklahoma, OkState, Tech, Mizzou and A&M). This is the short-sighted arrogance of Nebraska media. If Texas had bolted for the Big Ten rather than Nebraska (and I can't help but think that's what Jim Delany really wanted), Shatel would have had his own section of the paper dedicated to tarring and feathering every Texas administrator, coach, player, student and alum as greedy, back-stabbing, tradition-spitting, baby drowners before he went on a two paragraph lament over ever leaving the Big 8. Nebraska would have to step up as savior of the league, the champion of truth and justice, and the concessions (like TV money, championship games, etc) would be their rightful spoils as the upholder of virtue. As is, Texas requesting those concessions is being likened to extortion. Nebraska desperately wants to be the good guy here, but it's hard when you're the school responsible for almost destryoing the league. Sure, they could point some blame at Colorado for leaving for the Pac-10 but there's the possibility that someone might scratch their head and say, "Wait a minute..." This worry has even kept infamous Buff-basher Lee Barfknecht--whose less than kind words for the late Sal Aunese will never be forgotten--quiet, lest the Big Red illusion dissipate. Nebraska did what was, admittedly, a very un-Nebraska thing: they cut and ran, leaving a lot of good friends high and dry. They're struggling to come to terms with this. They're trying to justify a decision that nearly fucked over a lot of people, and it was the villain they've been creating that saved the day. What to do, now, than to completely turn your back on the league? It becomes the 'Texas League,' nothing more than a bunch of patsies kow-towwing to Texas, a handful of sadsacks grateful to have a roof over their head. No, way, they say. No way would Nebraska do this. Which leads me to our next article, Barfknecht's. Read on.
This article is nothing more than fluffy, Big Ten move justification. Might as well have titled it, "Big Ten Pays More" or "How Dare Mizzou Cash a Bigger Check Than Us!" Well, if you read the article, it explains why Nebraska made less money than other schools. It's all about how much you're on TV. Texas, Oklahoma and the rest of the South gang slug it out in bigtime match-ups in a tightly contested division. Kansas had a #1 ranked basketball team that was on ESPN almost every weekend. Missouri plays a marquee TV game with Illinois every year. Nebraska? Nebraska has pay-per-view tea parties with three SunBelt schools. Even Colorado signed up to get pasted by WestVa on a Thursday. Also, the NCAA ski championships run for like three days in early March. Trust me, they're actually on TV. This doesn't matter, say the Nebraska fans, because the Big Ten has the BigTen Network. And to that I say that I feel sorry to suscribers of that Network. Hope you're getting boned up to see Troy play every couple years!
Here's our third and final article, a tasty piece by Dirk Chatelain. This article, which is otherwise a bit of divisional speculation the likes of which I am quite good at after a few beers, only irked me for one reason. That is, that ol' Dirk took the liberty of inserting Nebraska among the "elite" of the BigTen. Nebraska has yet to play a single game of Big Ten competition. They are untested in their new conference and will not be tested so until the 2011 season. How then, are they in the elite tier of the BigTen? Don't worry. Dirk clears the air. Nebraska, along with Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan, is among the all-time winningest prgorams of all time. Don't fret that Nebraska, Michigan and Penn State all had a down decade in the '00s. They've been wiining for forever! You know what this looks like to me? The formation of an insular, 90s as glory days club. Let's relive some classic, option run games. That'll be awesome. The formerly bloated, antiquated, low tempo, boring games derided by Big 12 Nebraska fans is now being lauded by BigTen Nebraskans as blue collar, rugged, cold weather and steeped with tradition. The last time I saw someone switch hats this fast, Stronghand was watching Duke play North Carolina.
In conclusion, I have one thing to say: I get it, Nebraska fans. You are itching for a taste of the way things used to be. If you could, I'm sure all of you would love to time travel to fall 1993. You had it good once. You might get it back, but you don't have it back yet. The BigTen might be your ticket back to the top. Hopefully, you can let all this Texas bullshit go and start making the "class-acts" of the BigTen look like pricks. If Tom Shatel wants to keep his job, he'll find a new bad guy soon.