<Bama Hawkeye: I added this to the front page because it brings up a great point that hasn't been discussed nearly enough. For all of the talk of increasing markets for the Big Ten Network, the conference appears to have made a move based upon the quality of the football program and not much else. Is there any other reason that Nebraska got the nod over Mizzou?>
Hello, all. I regularly spend my time over at RockMNation, but I have a question for Big 10 fans, and I figured this was the best place to post it. I've enjoyed your guys level-headed commentary on expansion (or MIZZOUEXPANSIONAPALOOZA 2010™, as we refer to it back home), and I'm curious as to what some Big 10 fans are feeling about the potential candidates - generally, do you think Mizzou would be a good fit, and more specifically, why does it appear that Nebraska has leapfrogged Mizzou on the Big 10 wish list?
The obvious number one candidate is clearly Notre Dame, and though I think it's unlikely they would join, Texas is probably the number two target...but I'm struggling to understand why Nebraska comes in at number three, while Missouri is relegated to the role of "also receiving consideration".
In my eyes, Nebraska has one major card to play, and that's football tradition. I don't want to overstate the importance of that, particularly to the Big 10's expansion plans, which appear to centered around football. But does Nebraska's previous success make it a better candidate for the Big 10 than Missouri?
As I understand it (and granted, I have not researched it that thoroughly), Missouri has an edge in academics, overall athletic department success (i.e. in recent years, Missouri football + basketball trumps Nebraska football + basketball, and Mizzou has found success in "non-revenue sports" such as gymnastics, wrestling, women's soccer, softball and baseball), scholar-athletes (Mizzou was just ranked second in APR in the Big 12, behind only Texas) and media markets (St. Louis/Kansas City, even with KC in decline, should trump Omaha/Lincoln). Granted, I'm biased, and I could very well by underestimating the national appeal of the Cornhusker football as well as overestimating Missouri's case for candidacy, but if that's the case, what am I missing?
Early in this process, Missouri was considered a lock for Big 10 expansion based on those above criteria in addition to geography, while I don't recall Nebraska being mentioned as a strong consideration more recently. Now, we're seeing reports that Nebraska is preparing to accept, while Missouri is getting the "cold shoulder" from the Big 10.
It certainly appears from reading the commentary here that Nebraska is viewed more favorably than Missouri, and I'm curious as to why. Is that based purely on football tradition, or is there something else? I'm not trying to knock down Nebraska, as I view it as a fine institution with a rich history...I'm merely curious why it seems Missouri is being cast to the side. What are your thoughts?