Big Ten Looks to Showcase New Toy

Lincoln, NE - The Big Ten Conference is like a little kid with a new toy, they want to make sure everyone sees it first.

Lincoln, NE - The Big Ten Conference is like a little kid with a new toy, they want to make sure everyone sees it first.

All eyes will be on No. 8 Nebraska's first Big Ten conference game – a road contest against No. 7 Wisconsin, slotted for ABC's prime time game Saturday night. It's old school versus new school. But don't ask Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini about the significance of this weekend's contest.

"It's just part of the process for us in what we're trying to accomplish as a team," said Pelini on Monday at his weekly press conference. "The hoopla is all for you guys. It is just the next game on the schedule for us. We will concentrate on getting better as a football team right now. We have a lot of things to improve upon. We are working day in and day out to become a better football team."

The Big Ten didn't do the Huskers any favors. Right out of the chute Nebraska travels to Wisconsin and then next week hosts Ohio State – both teams coming into the year considered to be favorites.

"They're the defending Big Ten champions. It is what it is. Our approach wouldn't be different if we played anybody else. Some things you can control, some you can't, but we will be ready to play," said Pelini. "That is our approach and that will not change. It always has been and will be the case. That allows us to do everything we can to keep our guys on track and focused on what we control. There are a lot of things outside of our practice and offices and field that we can't control. What we can control is us. You do that and work hard and get better every day, and let the chips fall where they may on game day."

While Pelini and his staff might preach the "just another" game message to their players all week, it will be hard for them to overcome the outside distractions featured in a game of this magnitude.

Not only will the game be ABC's prime time contest, but ESPN GameDay will be in attendance. Players will have extra ticket responsibility for family. Extra media will be on hand meaning longer media sessions. It's a weekend full of distractions.

"I'm not going to lie, when we are waiting for the game we are watching it [ESPN GameDay]," said Nebraska running back Rex Bulkhead when asked about the wait time of a Saturday night affair.

"A bunch of people want to go, it's hard to find extra tickets for family," said Nebraska safety Austin Cassidy. "Everyone wants to be a part of it. It's the first Big Ten game ever. Obviously, you couldn't picture a better venue to have it in than to go to Madison. I think everyone is real excited and I think everyone wants to say, 'I was there.'"

Nearly 20,000 to 25,000 Nebraska fans are expected to make the trip to Madison – all are not expected to get into the stadium.

"I heard it holds 85,000, so we might not get a ticket," said Judy Blum – a lifelong Husker fan who will be ready to drop a few car payments to get inside. "But we are going to go anyway. Just to be there will be memorable. We've heard Madison is great for such a long time, it's time to see how it compares to Lincoln."


Camp Randall (Picture By: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE)

Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & Scout.com since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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