If you’re a Nebraska Cornhuskers fan, feelings about having the Maryland Terrapins and Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the same conference are likely mixed. Sure, there’s a ton of money to be made and there’s a side of you that appreciates that, but what does this change really mean for Nebraska fans?
The new kid on the block isn’t so new anymore which hopefully means that the scheduling gods will justly smite the two newbies with a punishing gauntlet of the conference’s best teams, right? Husker fans were under the impression that’s how the Big Ten showed their love for new members.
Regardless of who gets to smite Maryland and Rutgers, there’s obviously going to be changes in both divisions. The conference has to consider competitive balance, because the Ohio State Buckeyes are penalty-free next season, the Michigan Wolverines and Wisconsin Badgers are always potential threats and mid-level programs are going to have good seasons off and on.
What should any division change mean for Nebraska? Not much.
The Big Ten actually has things set up pretty well, so plugging its new teams into the Leaders division seems the logical choice. One current team has to move over to the Legends, and while some are saying that the Illinois Fighting Illini are the choice, the Indiana Hoosiers are a better pick.
Indiana isn’t going to become a football school any time soon while Illinois has a chance to become competitive with the right staff. The Hoosiers can still have a protected rivalry with the Purdue Boilermakers and the heavyweights of the Leaders division don’t get an easier path as a result. This is from a football perspective, though.
If you’re gauging basketball strength, that Leaders division looks insanely tough and the Huskers, well…new head coach Tim Miles is looking long-term. Basketball strength doesn’t matter, though. Sorry Big Ten roundball fans, but football gets priority because it makes money.
Bottom line for Nebraska: expect any change for the Huskers to be minimal. Neither new team is likely to threaten the Big Red’s title hopes if it can spin recent success into gold.
Brandon Cavanaugh is a college football columnist for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter and join in on the conversation.