The Honeymoon, The Hatred

Ahh, the honeymoon. Ohhh, the hatred. That's what Nebraska will be dealing with this year. The honeymoon is with the now fellow fans of the Big Ten as the congratulations are coming by the bunches, the welcoming very sincere and fans from every team in Nebraska's new home are going to Husker message board across the web to treat them as one of the family.

Well, that's until July 1st, 2011 when they are officially in the family.

The hatred part will come this year when Nebraska hits the road.

When the Husker football team heads to Manhattan, KS to play Kansas State, there will no doubt be a moderate amount of jeers. Perhaps more of it comes from the fact that they, that being Kansas State fans, wish they were going to the Big Ten too. It's obvious that at this time K. State has few options, and if the Big 12 goes belly up whatever options they have aren't likely to be that attractive. The jeers might be more out of the fact that Nebraska didn't just leave. They took the proverbial rug underneath their feet, with them.

The hatred could come in Nebraska's second road game in conference play, this one against a member of the Big 12 South as the Huskers head to Stillwater to play the Cowboys. There isn't much love between the two from the obvious standpoint of division loyalties. But if OSU doesn't make a move to either the Pac Ten or has been rumored as of late, the SEC, they too will be left to sit in a conference that has a questionable future, at best.

In the heavily attended sport of football you are bound to see the most vocal displays, but the basketball teams, the volleyball teams, heck maybe even the Track & Field team might get their own amount of heckles and flat out insults.

Osborne even alluded to that today, as he described this last year of Big 12 play potentially "tough" for the student-athletes.

But how about that game with Texas?

If you think that wasn't going to be an easy ticket to get this year before all of this conference hoopla took place, how hard do you think it's going to be now?

Not only do we have the drama from the Big 12 title game, but we throw in all of the innuendo from reports and perhaps veiled references that Texas, the anointed big brother to everyone in the Big 12, wouldn't agree to sharing their media market as much as they would have had to if the Big 12 had the same kind of network setup that you currently see with the Big Ten.

It's their sandbox, after all.

So, you get the most recent game between them, the current speculation as to Texas being a party partially responsible for the Huskers leaving and the fact that this game might be considered a conference title game depending on what happens the week before when the Longhorns and Sooners face off in Dallas.

The hottest ticket for the entire college football season might be that game right there.

No offense to the long-standing rivalries in the Big Ten.

But as much vitriol will be slung Nebraska's way from their soon-to-be former fellow members of the Big 12, the good tidings from their new family might be equal to or even greater.

On the message boards, often cited as a cesspool for rumors and rampant maliciousness through anonymity, now becomes a bit of a safe haven for Husker fans. Sure, they see some members of the Big 12 coming over to lambast them for what they consider something akin to blasphemy. But at the same time, for every one of them there is this avid supporter of a team in Nebraska's new home, defending them as if they were related.

Well, they kind of are now, I guess.

Another interesting and somewhat predictable trend on the message boards which are flush with activity is that while the Big Ten brethren now come to welcome a new member of the family, they can't resist the temptation to throw jabs at their brothers who came to the board to join in the pseudo celebration.

Penn State fans come to the board and to paraphrase some sentiments, they say "Welcome to the Big Ten. We're glad to have you. Oh, and Michigan sucks." To encompass the general feeling of Ohio State fans, they say "It's great to have a long winning tradition and academically solid institution to our beloved conference. Oh, and Michigan sucks." Then there are the Michigan fans who come to the board and reiterate at least some of that same feeling, writing something like "It's great to have you in the conference. You will be a welcome member to this conference as another great tradition. Oh, and we still would have owned you guys in '97.

"And by the way, Penn State and Ohio State suck."

It's fun, though. We are on the outside looking in. We are the new kid in a class consisting of other kids who, instead of looking at you as a new member to break in, they seemingly acknowledge the obviousness of the plusses in this newfound relationship and for now at least, relish the promising future.

But it won't be long before they come back to the board telling you how much you suck, too.

Consider this time the honeymoon, because it's all new, and who doesn't love something new as long as it doesn't have the names of Bill Callahan and Steve Pederson attached? A brand new world waits. But consider this year the journey from here to there, and during this journey there are bound to be some bumpy roads.

But hey, when it's all said and done we know for a fact that Nebraska will be in the Big Ten, and for the Big 12, we don't even know if two months from now it will be a name much less an athletic and academic league.

That kind of certainty of stability and purpose, along with recognizing how similar Nebraska and most of the rest of the member institutions of the Big Ten really are, is probably a trade off any Husker fan is happy to make.

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