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Nebraska To Begin Big Ten Play In 2011-2012

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Being on the Big Ten's press release distribution finally pays off:

The Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors (COP/C) announced unanimous approval today for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) to join the Big Ten Conference effective July 1, 2011, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2011-12 academic year. UNL will also seek admission into the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), which can occur on or before July 1, 2011.

Penn State has a brutal 2010 schedule—maybe the most difficult in the nation with road games at Alabama, Ohio State and Iowa—and the favor returned in 2011 would have been nice.  Who knows how this whole thing will shake out now.

There is a theory that a conference championship game won't happen, but this whole thing has been about revenue and it's difficult to imagine the league passing on the $8 to $15 million (it's a wide range, I know, but there's also a lot of variables) that it will provide, not to mention the Paterno-backed benefit of not quitting two to three weeks before everyone else in the country.  

A championship game could conceivable happen without divisions, but that's a messy recipe and one that basically creates a mini-BCS controversy if the top two teams aren't clear cut, not to mention the increased rematch potential.  But separating into divisions has it's own problems in a league so saddled with historical rivalries, although we'll have plenty of time to speculate on this front.

So all things considered, while Nebraska is a great add to the league, Penn State likely suffers in the scheduling department unless the Chicago office can come up with a way to juggle a brand new 2011 schedule and fairly consider as-of-yesterday plan.