LINCOLN, NE - JUNE 11: Big Ten Commissioner James Delany, flanked by several Nebraska coaches, inform members of the media that the University of Nebraska has been accepted into the Big Ten conference June 11, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. The university will begin integration immediately and start athletic competition as soon as 2011. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
The Big Ten Conference announced today that it is no longer actively pursuing expansion after adding Nebraska in June.
As Adam Rittenberg points out, from a conference perspective, this is probably a good thing. No reason to add schools for the sake of adding them or anything like that.
Nevertheless, from a Penn State perspective, it's at least a little disappointing that the conference ended up moving west rather than east. This past Wednesday's matchup with Maryland in basketball showed that old Eastern foes can still stoke the passions in Happy Valley, and with the possibility of moving to a nine game conference schedule in the future, those will be ever more difficult to plan and fit it.
The addition of Nebraska as an annual game on Penn State's schedule is pretty awesome, but Nittany Lions fans will probably learn rather quickly how difficult it can be to maintain a rivalry across close to 1,000 miles. With schools like Pitt, Maryland and Syracuse in the back yard, it'd have been nice to see one or two of them come along as well. Sure, they're probably no better than Indiana or Purdue in the big picture, but they bring a regional tension factor that Penn State fans miss sometimes, whether they'll openly admit it or not.
Looks like it's time to close this chapter now, though, which is too bad when you think about it. Last offseason actually kind of rocked because of all the conference realignment talk.
O, and the writing is on the wall now for Penn State-Florida in the Outback Bowl. Stay tuned for updates on an official announcement, though.