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Big Ten BCS Road Now Tougher

June 15, 2010

Written by Jon Miller

Hawkeye Nation

The Big Ten has added Nebraska and will also add a conference championship game. The league has had two teams into the BCS in 9 of the 12 years that system has been in place. Some have argued that has been the case because the league did not have a conference title game.

I am not buying that; if there is a 10-2 Big Ten team in the at large pool from the ranks of Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Iowa and now Nebraska, that school is going to receive a second bid from the BCS due to the traveling reputations those schools have. Michigan’s reputation on that front is the least of the six listed, but when it comes to BCS games, they show up.

However, if you navigate your division and win it with a record of 6-2 and lose in the Big Ten title game, gaining admittance to the BCS at 10-3 might be a challenge. However, I think the league will still be in good shape on this front.

The Big Ten’s chances of playing for the national title will probably take a hit due to a championship game, however, something Big 12 fans have complained about in the past. This will be especially true now that the ‘Big 12′ has 10 members. Let’s just refer to it as the Texas league, shall we? I mean Oklahoma was following the Longhorns around during this conference expansion discussion like a bull moose in the rut..except Texas had the horns in this case.

The Texas League will not have a championship game, and without Nebraska to provide any sort of check and balance in the north, the annual Red River Rivalry game will be the league’s championship game, for all intents and purposes; Oklahoma or Texas has won the Big 12 South 11 of the 13 years the league has played it’s two division title game.

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Based on recent history, the winner of that game is probably a one-loss team on the whole at worst, while the loser will have a soft landing with a BCS at large bid. Again, that’s been the case more often than not and now that the Big 12 South winner doesn’t have to play an extra game at season’s end in a conference title game, their path to the BCS Championship game is pretty salty.

Texas has lost just two games against Big 12 North competition the last decade, and it was just one school that beat them twice; Kansas State. Ruminate on that one for a second. Now consider that with the exodus of Nebraska from the league, Texas will not have to play in any hostile road environments outside the state of Texas, period. Sorry Missouri, but you don’t cut it. Jack Trice can get loud, but we are talking 54,000 fans tops. Kansas? Three words: Operation Hook’em Horns.

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Oklahoma has lost just three games to Big 12 North competition in the last decade in the ‘regular season’; twice to Nebraska and once to Colorado. Nebraska beat the Sooners last year, the worst Sooner’s team since Bob Stoops’ first year in Norman and one decimated by injuries.

I think you get the point.

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With the Big Ten’s addition of Nebraska, the league has added more strength to it’s upper division, where you would expect Nebraska to finish more often than not. However, if the Huskers are looking for rollover opponents in their division like they had for the better part of their Big 12 North existence, they probably won’t find it. While the Big Ten has not been top heavy for much of the past decade, teams three through seven have been more than competitive and capable of beating anyone in the league on a given day.

Starting in 2011, it’s a brave new Big Ten and it will be a lot of fun to watch how it all plays out. I just hope I am right and the league keeps getting that second BCS bid, because you can expect Texas and Oklahoma to be invited to that party every year given the lightening of their load in The Texas League

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