In the Big Ten, Nebraska is about in the same boat Arkansas finds itself in the Southeastern Conference these days.
Neither carry a lot of weight and get about the same amount of respect from the league.
Sean Callahan of HuskersOnline.com thinks both of them should find a new home.
“How about Nebraska and Arkansas to the Big 12 together?” he told Derek Ruscin and Zach Arns (Ruscin & Zach) Wednesday afternoon on ESPN Arkansas.
There have been some in Arkansas ask the same question. None of them have much say in the matter, but it’s a question me and some other media people have often said.
Not to re-hash the history of how the Razorbacks ended up in the SEC, but they would have never gone there if they were included in the conversations about merging the old Southwest Conference and Big 8.
I’ve heard that from several people over the last 25 years.
Frank Broyles hustled the Hogs into the SEC because he thought they were going to be left out in the first real conference shuffle. There was a small one in the 1960’s when Georgia Tech and Tulane left the SEC because they wanted to be independent.
The Cornhuskers jumped ship on the Big 12 in 2011. It made about as much sense as the Hogs going to the SEC.
Nobody is saying much about Arkansas because they are still planning on starting the football season Sept. 26 against somebody. Nebraska isn’t just sitting idly by after the Big Ten cancelled the football season Tuesday.
The rumor mill has been hot and heavy about the Huskers just putting together a schedule and playing games. The Big Ten commissioner basically said if they played football they would be booted out of the league.
“No,” commissioner Kevin Warren told Yahoo Sports about Nebraska putting together a schedule on its own. “Not and be a member of the Big Ten Conference.”
The Huskers have gone quiet since a press release Tuesday that they were exploring all options.
“There’s something brewing and it’s curious to see where it goes,” Callahan said. “[Nebraska’s] voice is not respected in this conference. Nebraska is like the redneck cousin that walks into the country club. It really upset Nebraska when all this went down.”
Financial implications are enormous to the entire area will be enormous if the Huskers don’t play football. It’s as big there as anywhere in the SEC.
“This state stops for Nebraska football,” Callahan said. “There’s a huge demand for this product in this state. The damage is really unmeasured.”
Just like it would be in Northwest Arkansas if the Hogs don’t get to play games. A lot of businesses would be totally devastated.
And, like the Hogs in the SEC, the Huskers get almost no respect from the only conference in the country more arrogant than the SEC.
“Arkansas and Nebraska are pretty similar dynamics,” Callahan said. “They’ve had a lot of history and prestige, but haven’t been able to do it of late. Nebraska was picked to win the league their first year in 2011.”
That didn’t happen, either. They did make the championship game in 2012 and were blown out by Bret Bielema’s worst Wisconsin team.
And the rumors about the Huskers going to the Big 12 are apparently running rampant there, but it does appear Nebraska is exploring options.
“That’s the plan,” Callahan said. “They’ve talked to North Dakota State. I’m intrigued if there’s something brewing with the Big 12. Is there a piece to that or just talk? It’s a life-changing move.”
While it would be a logical move for the Hogs to make, don’t look for it. Don’t start the financial aspect because the difference in revenue is not so large when you count the savings in expenses for non-revenue sports travel.
Big 12 schools get their cut of the network television money, then are also free to cut their own side deals (like the Longhorn Network or what Oklahoma does).
“Bigger brands (in the Big 12) make right around the same as the Big Ten,” Callahan said. “Nebraska’s silence tells me maybe they have something brewing.”
Arkansas and Nebraska would be easily in the top half of revenue in the Big 12. Right now, the Hogs are 10th in the SEC while the Huskers are sixth in the Big Ten and behind Arkansas in the most recent financial stories.
The reality is the Huskers probably aren’t going anywhere and the Hogs aren’t, either.
Which doesn’t mean they shouldn’t … if they want to be taken seriously by their fellow conference members.