More Bridges to Burn

OK, enough of conspiracy theories for a bit. This might sound like one, but it really isn't. As most have guessed right now, but have heard nothing to support it, the Big 12 seems to have made a power play in order to keep its brand out there. Or, what brand people will believe will be out there in the future.

The Insight passing over Nebraska makes perfect sense.

As has been written about or speculated on a few times over by now, if Nebraska had gone to the Insight Bowl in Tempe, Arizona, they would have played Iowa.

Iowa, a member of the Big Ten, playing Nebraska, a future member of the Big Ten

What do you think the scope of the conversation would have been throughout this contest?

It certainly wouldn't be about the Big 12.

So, there ya go, logic prevails.

But here comes quotes from at least one Insight bowl representative that tells a story about BCS rankings being the prevailing thought on choosing Missouri over Nebraska.

I guess maybe being under the umbrella of a BCS bowl (Fiesta) has disillusioned the reps of the Insight Bowl in thinking that BCS rankings matter.

They don't. We know they don't. We know darn well when it gets to bowls this far down the ladder, they are going to choose teams based on how many tickets they will sell for the game.

Maybe it was the best excuse they could come up with on short notice, because this wasn't exactly the choice they wanted to make.

Missouri fans don't travel. Everyone knows they don't travel. Their support is just fine in Columbia and on certain road games during the season. But there are few examples of the Missouri faithful loading up cars, vans and planes as they head off to whatever bowl will feature their team.

Nebraska fans on the other hand – well, everyone knows how they travel.

Well, maybe not now.

It looks to me that the Insight got forced into this, because when you look at the match up on paper, Iowa vs. Nebraska is infinitely more attractive. You have two fan bases that travel, and a natural rivalry that would have gotten started a year earlier than expected. You think fans of the respective schools wouldn't have shown up?

Of course they would. They would show up in droves. That's what they do.

But now you have Iowa vs. Missouri.

Not a bad match up on paper. Missouri has the better record, but Iowa played in the better conference, overall. Nebraska's future home put a league-record eight teams in bowl games this year, two of them going to BCS games.

But back to the original point of this, with the way Missouri travels, the odds of selling this game out are remote, if not almost incomprehensibly small.

And now the Holiday Bowl has to pay the price.

They might be the real losers in all of this, as they now have to take Nebraska for the second year in a row. Not necessarily a bad thing, but when people were figuring out where they wanted to go for a bowl and drop around another two thousand bucks, they probably didn't plan on going back to the exact same place.

To make matters infinitely worse, they play a team that not only has a 6-6 record, but it's a team Nebraska throttled earlier in the season, 56-21.

If the Holiday had gotten Missouri, you can see how the fans of the Huskies would be far more intrigued with watching this game. They at least wouldn't be jaded by a rather humiliating experience during non-conference play earlier in the year.

Nebraska had three players with more than a hundred yards rushing in that game. Washington quarterback Jake Locker was 4-of-20 passing for about 60 yards with two interceptions. And that defense of Washington isn't as healthy now as it was then when Nebraska rolled up 56 points and over 530 yards in total offense.

You think Washington fans want to watch that again? You think they want to attend if they believe that it is even possible that scenario could actually be repeated?

Granted, Nebraska probably won't do that to them again. Freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez, who ran roughshod over them, isn't healthy, as he showed against Oklahoma. And instead of having more confidence later in the year, he seems to be a shadow of that, prone to bad passes, turnovers and panic attacks in the pocket.

But I saw that Husker/Husky game. I saw a Husker offensive line demolish and demoralize Washington's D-line for almost a full four quarters.

Nebraska might not be that good now, and Washington might not be that bad. But are the Huskies 35 points better or are the Huskers 35 points worse?

Not likely

So, you have the Insight that gets one fan base that travels and one that doesn't, meaning that any idea of a sellout might have went out of the window the minute this interesting choice was made.

And you have the Holiday that gets two fan bases that travel, but two fan bases that already saw these two teams play earlier in the year. Oh, and the Husker fan base isn't real happy that despite beating Missouri, they got passed over by the Insight which choose the Tigers instead.

Is there a winner in any of this?

What financial genius came up with this idea?

Oh wait, that's right. This might be all the Big 12's doing and not that of the Insight and certainly not that of those who represent the Holiday Bowl.

I wonder how many bridges are left they can burn.


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