Thursday, June 10, 2010

Welcome Nebraska!!

It won't be official until Friday, but the first expansion domino has fallen: according to the Chicago Tribune the Nebraska Cornhuskers will join the Big Ten.

And we here at GGFB couldn't be happier! What happens to the Big 12 because of this? Who else, if anyone, will be invited to join the Huskers in Big Ten expansion? For now, who cares? As Stewart Mandel of did, let's take a moment to appreciate the Huskers:

* They're the 4th winningest program of all-time (Michigan is #1, Ohio State #5, Penn State #9)

* They bring THE classiest, most passionate fan base in the country. True story- at home games in Lincoln, Husker fans applaud their opponent before and after the game. In between, they expect Big Red to beat the bejeesus out of them. But don't mistake kindness for weakness: they travel anywhere and everywhere, including a rare trip to Notre Dame stadium a few years ago where Husker fans made up 47% of the crowd in South Bend. Expect more of the same when they visit Big Ten cathedrals like The Big House, the Horseshoe, Happy Valley, and everywhere else. When NU comes to Minneapolis for the first time, the town will be awash in red, and TCF Bank probably will be too.

* They're not quite Notre Dame in academic reputation, but they're AAU members and a research institution. Good enough for me!

* Don't the Huskers just FEEL like a Big Ten school? Like this is where they should have been all along? The crowd, the culture, the midwest proximity just makes Nebraska the perfect fit in the Big Ten.

* They will be insta-rivals with bordermates Iowa, but do you know which Big Ten school has played more games against Nebraska than any other? You guessed it, your very own Golden Gophers! The two have met 51 times, with the first meeting in 1900 and the last in 1990. Minnesota leads the all-time series 29-20-2. Still, we cannot call them "rivals" because the Huskers have won the past 14 meetings (the last in 1990) by a combined score of 553-100. So yeah, we have some work to do to make Nebraska care about us at all.

* Still, I'm saying right here and right now it's time to drop the worthless Governor's Victory Bell "rivalry" trophy we have with Penn State, and create a new one for our first meeting with Nebraska. Nobody on either side- not here or in Pennsylvania- gives a crap about the Minnesota/Penn State trophy or the rivalry. Don't get me wrong, I love to see us play a storied program like Penn State, but it's a manufactured rivalry and trophy. The matchup with Nebraska- despite the drubbings they've handed us the last 40 years- is quite the opposite. There's a ton of history there and one that should be celebrated. Regardless of what else happens in expansion, I would say the chances are VERY strong that Minnesota will end up in the same division as the Huskers and NOT with the Nittany Lions. Minnesota/Nebraska will once again become an annual game like it was for so many years, and it should be celebrated as such. We probably have two years until Nebraska starts competing in the Big Ten, so let's start figuring something out!

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