All the talk of NCAA Conference realignment had my head spinning.  At one point, I decided just to stop listening to all the speculation and just wait for the dust to settle, primarily because I don’t have an in-depth understanding of it to where I could make good predictions, nor do I fully grasp the ramifications behind some of the moves.

That’s why I enlisted the help of some of my friends from across GuysNation whose perspective on college sports I respect.

I posed them 9 questions, and while only one of the guys answered all 9 of the questions (one answered 8, the other 7), we did get a good perspective on everything I was wondering about.

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How big is the loss of Nebraska and Colorado for the Big 12?

Scotty (Pennsylvania) Nebraska Colorado are hits, but not crippling. They have “draw” as far as being football schools, (more so Nebraska than Colorado) but with Oklahoma, OSU, and Texas in there, they’d each be maybe 3rd at the highest every given year as far as how they rank in the Big XII.

Greg (Iowa) Colorado isn’t that big of a deal. Nebraska is because they help solidify a weak north division and give UT/OU a SOS boost. Colorado has been historically bad with only a few winning seasons, where as Nebraska is a storied program.

Dube (Kansas) Most people (including higher-ups in the Big XII) don’t seem to think losing either of those schools is a big deal. Nebraska had football tradition, but outside of that they offered very little and Nebraska isn’t exactly a big media market. Colorado gave the conference the Denver market–and I guess we see how much that meant since there’s no fussing over them leaving. People are actually saying losing those teams has made the Big XII BETTER. There’s a stat out there that if you removed NU and CU from the Big XII this past season in basketball, the Big XII would have had the highest conference RPI. Not that that means anything, but again–when something like that is brought out–just shows you how much those schools ‘meant’ to the conference.

Which school was the most important for the Big 12 to have kept?

Scotty (Pennsylvania) Texas. It all laid on Texas. Texas goes and the Big XII doesn’t exist. They not only have a Big XII network coming, but also Texas is getting their own network to keep them in the Big XII. THey are one of the biggest “money maker” in College sports… They are in the top 3 for sure, andd may be #1, not 100% on that number.

Greg (Iowa) Hands down, Texas. Biggest money maker now that the program is good.

Dube (Kansas) Texas. Texas is by far the largest school in the conference and because of it’s success in football and basketball, and oh yeah, the large alumni base–they held all the power in negotiations. Texas had wanted a TV deal for itself, something the Big XII looked down on. In the end, the conference conceded because it knew if Texas left, the conference was basically dead. I guess the people in the Big XII decision-making areas felt it was in their best interest to see they still had a job at the end of the day.

How weird is it going to feel to have Nebraska in the Big 10?

Scotty (Pennsylvania) Nebraska is a perfect fit from a stylistic standpoint. They play tough defense, and run the ball. They are a “Big 10” team.

Greg (Iowa) Honestly, for me? Not very weird at all, but that’s because they’re in the same region, play the same style of football (which is different than the Big XII’s) and their fans, the majority of people in Nebraska, are blue collar workers just like most of the Big Ten’s.

Dube (Kansas) Probably as weird as when Penn State joined in 1991 for most people. For me it takes a double dose of weird since I have rooting interests in their old and new conferences. It’ll be strange not seeing NU on the schedule for K-State anymore. Ever since the late ’90’s when K-State football reached a high level of prominence, KSU fans/students saw NU as a huge rival in football. Now that game is gone. Now NU gets to play Ohio State and Michigan and Penn State on a yearly basis. They’ll fit in–but seeing Herbie Husker hanging out in the upper midwest?? Surreal.

Who would you think would be a fit to be a good conference rival for Nebraska?

Scotty (Pennsylvania) They’ve had a rivalry, in the past, with Penn State. Whcih will be cool to rekindle. Then Nebraska/Ohio State and Nebraska/Michigan would be games to check out too.

Greg (Iowa) Iowa. We’re right next door to each other, and we play the same style football: smashmouth defense and ground and pound offense. Plus, we both hate Council Bluffs with equal passion. Not only that, but our lone Heisman Winner, Nile Kinnick, played football at an Omaha High School.

Dube (Kansas) Geographically, Iowa. Realistically? Depends. Even if they’ve been down the last couple years, there’s no denying Michigan has, outside of Notre Dame and maybe Texas, the best tradition in NCAA football and there’s a VERY good case that can be made that Nebraska would be fourth. They’re fourth on another football list: Most wins by a program. The winningest team? Michigan. Can YOU imagine what the crowd is going to be like when Nebraska matches up against Michigan on a yearly basis?
With Michigan being down of late, there’s a chance Ohio State fits in as the top rival. Or Penn State; depending if PSU can stay at the top of the Big 10 in football. Basketball is irrelevant here since the state of Nebraska is all about the football team. One could “”try”” to argue Wisconsin–but the only thing that would hold water there is the nickname. Nebraska is known as “”Big Red”” and Wisconsin is known as, yup, “”Big Red.”” The stands at least for that game would be fun to see–one big pool of red.”

How happy is Kansas basketball right now?

Scotty (Pennsylvania) Kansas hoops is the 2nd biggest winner after Texas, but I think they would have gotten swooped up FAST by a conference. Maybe the, or SEC.

Greg (Iowa) Probably pretty happy. Yes, they’re historically a great team, but they get a lot of recognition because of the Big XII markets. If they’d had got to CUSA, or some other mid major program they might have slipped. Pac-10 didn’t want them, I don’t think and the only viable option to keep them alive outside of the Big XII was the SEC that didn’t show much interest, from what I saw.

Dube (Kansas) Aside from being elated they stay in a more prominent conference–about the same. Their program is one of the best, never mind the debacle going on with their athletic director and the basketball ticket scalping situation (which has the attention of the FBI) going on. It really doesn’t matter what conference they’re in. They’ll get national TV games no matter what, they’ll always be atop the national rankings and have high tournament seeds because they’ll ALWAYS recruit great players. The only thing that would matter would be competition level. They ‘win’ here since they continue playing teams like Texas each year as opposed to San Diego State or Wyoming of the Mountain West, where they likely would have jumped if the Big XII dissolved.

What can you tell us about what the PAC-10 has gained out of all of this?

Scotty (Pennsylvania) Pac 10 doesn’t really gain anything other than an 11th school. Colorado isn’t that good in Football. Where as Nebraska is improving and moving towards being a solid to good team year in and year out.

Greg (Iowa) The Pac-10 gains a championship game and two mid-level teams in Utah and Colorado. I think Utah will eventually be the bigger investment for the conference, however.

Bigger impact on the Mountain West Conference: getting Boise State or losing Utah?

Greg (Iowa) Getting Boise State, I think. Just because BSU has a nationally known program that will bring attention to their games. Utah was known, but BSU is historically a good football program, and the ‘little brother’ that everyone wants to succeed because they do.

Dube (Kansas) Getting Boise State may not have been ‘huge’ but it was a big step forward. Another football power–though maybe they were getting them by default. BSU was getting WAY too good for their conference and were going to have to ‘upgrade’ soon enough. With Utah staying and with TCU, sure it’s still not an elite conference, but it gets people’s attention and would bring good money in with the better bowl games it would find it’s teams playing in. Losing Utah marks one power off the board and the conference is basically right where it was before BSU joined: Good but not great.

USC losing eligibility and the PAC-10 failing to get Texas… Lane Kiffin Karma?

Scotty (Pennsylvania) USC will be fine in 2 years. They’ll still be competitive. A nightmare for opponents THIS year, probably will take a few steps back next year. But, again, they’re gonna be fine.”

Greg (Iowa) No, the USC thing was Pete Carroll, and the Texas thing was Texas/OU greed in wanting boucoup bucks from TV

Do you think Notre Dame should join a conference, will they ever join a conference, and which is the best fit?

Scotty (Pennsylvania) ND will eventually join a conference. Its about money… and schools in the Big 10 make as much or more $$$ than ND does. They’ll have to work out some scheduling stuff, but they already play: MSU, Michigan, Perdue.. every… damn… year.

Greg (Iowa) I’m torn here. On one hand, I don’t like independents, period. It just seems like they’re too afraid to do anything – especially when most if not all are in a Basketball/Baseball conference. Notre Dame is in the Big East in Basketball and Baseball, I believe, and their hockey team is in the CCHA, which is a combination of Big Ten and a few other schools from the DII level that play DI varsity hockey. They get a lot of money being independent, no revenue sharing, and, is it 10+ wins guarantees them a BCS spot, so they don’t have to worry about three way ties in conferences and missing out on BCS games, like TTU/Texas/OU a few years ago. If they ever join a conference, it’ll be when they actually do become super conferences (say, when UT/OU/TTU/TAMU join other conferences), or when they get special treatment like UT/OU in the Big XII. I still think the Big Ten is the best choice for them, even if they play more of a spread offense, because a) they’re known in the Big Ten fanbases because they play 4+ Big Ten teams a year, they’re in Indiana, a notorious Big Ten state, and, again, have blue collar workers (more so than the rich folk people like to point out) like the rest of the Big Ten.

Dube (Kansas) I think they *should* but oddly, it’s probably better they don’t. They get to keep their TV deal and joining a conference would probably tick off a large chunk of their alumni. Plus, I think a number of people are drawn towards ND because they’re independent. IF they joined one? Big 10. It’s always been the Big 10 that comes up whenever talk of ND joining a conference comes up. The commish of the Big XII acknowledged ND has talked with the Big XII, so I assume they’ve talked with every BCS conference. The Big XII commish brought up the point why ND isn’t there and it’s because of what I figured: geography. There’s really only three conferences ND could be in; Big 10, ACC or Big East (where the basketball team is). Until NU joined the Big 10–there was probably going to be an eventual day, even if WAY down the road, where ND would join there but now that they’re up to 12 teams? Can’t see it happening because I can’t see the Big 10 going to 16 teams–unless these ‘mega-conferences’ do start forming.