At the time, the Big 12 was becoming increasingly unstable. Rumors were floating around that Missouri, Kansas, and money-maker Texas could be possibly leaving the conference for greener pastures. Things later developed that Texas would be unintentionally given a major stronghold in the conference.
As the college football landscape neared change, Nebraska made their move. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany had devised a plan years before to explore options for expansion—looking at Notre Dame, Missouri, and others as possible candidates for a move. The plan finally came to fruition with Nebraska being the perfect fit.
The Cornhuskers' transition to the Big 10 became official after a rocky 13 months of accusations from Big 12 brass and of course, the heartbreaking loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game. On the first of July, the Big Ten officially added its 12th member.
Nebraska—like the Big Ten conference—holds a rich history, passionate fans, and a tradition of winning.
The Big Ten conference has seen the likes of Red Grange, Archie Griffin, and Dick Butkis take to the field. Now, the Huskers add the names of Tommie Frazier, Mike Rozier, and Johnny Rodgers to the mix. Nebraska has seen three Heisman Trophy winners and many NFL greats pass through Lincoln.
For the first time this fall, the Big Ten fans will see what makes Nebraska football so special: the passionate fans.
It is indeed a fact, Nebraska's Memorial Stadium becomes the third-largest city in the state on college football Saturday's. This fall, Northwestern fans and the rest of the Big Ten will experience first-hand what a Saturday in Lincoln is all about.
These fans—all dressed in red—pack the area surrounding the stadium hours in advance. "The Sea of Red" arrives early and stays till the end of the game. The most impressive statistic of Nebraska fans comes in the form of the 311-consecutive sellouts of Memorial Stadium.
What makes Nebraska fans unique is the class shown during games—win or loss. This was evidenced after Ricky Williams' dominating performance against the Huskers' "Blackshirt" defense in 1998, which in the Longhorns' victory, kept Nebraska from a national championship berth. After the game, the Nebraska fans gave Williams a standing ovation for his incredible performance.
Husker fans are passionate fans, but some of the best fans in college football. They will be a great addition to the conference.
The greatest dynamic which makes Nebraska the perfect fit to the conference is their winning tradition.
The Cornhuskers are ranked second in the Big Ten's in all-time wins (832)—trailing only Michigan (877). Their .701 all-time win percentage is ranked third in the Big Ten and seventh overall. In addition, their five national championships are ranked third in the Big Ten behind the Wolverines and Ohio State. Now with Nebraska, the Big Ten boasts four of the nation's top-ten all-time winningest programs.
For Jim Delany, the Big Ten, Nebraska, and college football, this seems like a perfect match as a historical team joins a historical conference. Wildcat fans and the rest of the Big Ten conference will soon grow to find that this is a perfect fit.