Nebraska leaning towards joining the Big Ten?

As long as the conference doesn’t leave them hanging without an invitation, it appears that Nebraska could be heading to the Big Ten.


The source said the school is leaning toward the Big Ten, but an invitation hadn’t yet been extended, and there was no indication when that would occur. The consensus within the athletic department is that Nebraska wouldn’t separate itself from the Big 12 without some assurance that a Big Ten invitation would come, the source said. The Big Ten has set no date for any announcement in the coming weeks, leaving open the possibility that Nebraska could be left in limbo.

Adding another school would allow the Big Ten to implement a championship game and expand its cable television network. Adding a title game would be exciting for fans of the conference, especially considering the Big Ten usually doesn’t play past the last weekend in November. When other conferences are still getting exposure in December thanks to their title games, the Big Ten is sitting with its thumb up its ass waiting for bowl season to start. It makes sense for them to expand.

That said, would Nebraska be a good fit? Yeah, probably. From their point of view, they get security (as everyone can see, the Big 12 is ready to fall apart at any moment, where as the Big Ten will stay intact long-term) and added revenue (Big Ten schools bring in $22 million each year thanks in large part to the Big Ten Network). A Nebraska-Iowa rivalry is also intriguing and the Huskers would no doubt bring competition to a conference that sorely lacks it.

We’ll find out by the end of the week whether or not Nebraska is Big Ten bound or will stay in the Big 12. But as of Wednesday morning, it appears that Ohio State, Iowa and Michigan are going to get some new company.

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Mandel: Ranking the Bowls 1-34’s Stewart Mandel recently ranked all 34 bowl games.

Here are his top 5:

1) BCS National Championship Game (Jan. 7): Alabama (13-0) vs. Texas (13-0). It’s the first-ever matchup of two 13-0 teams. Colt McCoy. Mark Ingram. Rolando McClain. Sergio Kindle. Yeah, I’m thinking you might want to tune in.

2) Sugar (Jan. 1): Cincinnati (12-0) vs. Florida (12-1). It’s spread vs. spread, Tim Tebow vs. Tony Pike, Mardy Gilyard vs. Joe Haden. It may be a letdown game for the Gators, but it should still be entertaining.

3) Fiesta (Jan. 4): TCU (12-0) vs. Boise State (13-0). Enough with the outrage, people: You know you’re going to watch. The nation’s No. 1 passer, Broncos quarterback Kellen Moore, goes up against the nation’s top-ranked defense.

4) Rose (Jan. 1): Ohio State (10-2) vs. Oregon (10-2). Dangerous dual-threat star Jeremiah Masoli is what Terrelle Pryor was supposed to be. But the Buckeyes present the toughest defense the Ducks have faced since Boise.

5) Orange (Jan. 5): Georgia Tech (11-2) vs. Iowa (10-2). You remember the Hawkeyes. They love low scores and dramatic finishes. With a month to prepare, can Pat Angerer, Tyler Sash and Co. stifle Josh Nesbitt and the triple-option?

That’s how I would have my top 5, although the Fiesta and Sugar bowls might be interchangeable. I love watching TCU’s defense play and I’m intrigued about how Gary Patterson will game plan to stop Boise’s offense. That said, I’m interested to see how Cincinnati responds after Brian Kelly ditched them for Notre Dame.

I know Georgia Tech’s triple-option is exciting to watch and Iowa does have a solid front seven, but that matchup just doesn’t have the same appeal as the other four. Maybe it’ll wind up being the best BCS game of the season, but the matchup offers little sizzle compared to the other top bowls.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Iowa’s Stanzi hurt against Northwestern

Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi left the Hawkeyes’ game against Northwestern early in the second quarter with an apparent foot injury.

Stanzi was hurt when Wildcats’ defender Corey Wootton sacked him in the end zone. He fumbled and Nwest Marshall Thomas recovered the ball in the end zone for a Northwestern touchdown to cut Iowa’s lead to 10-7.

Backup quarterback James Vandenberg immediately came in and threw an interception to set up another Wildcats score. Northwestern is currently up 14-10 at halftime and at least for the moment, No. 6 Iowa is once again in trouble.

Although hey, they’re always in trouble at halftime; they’ve trailed at halftime in almost every game this season.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Iowa shocks Michigan State in final seconds

Even those that think they’re the most overrated team in college football have to admit how remarkable the Iowa Hawkeyes have been this season.

No. 6 Iowa stayed perfect on the season thanks to an improbable 15-13 win over Michigan State on Saturday. Both teams struggling generating any kind of offense until less than three minutes remaining when Iowa took a 9-6 lead on a 20-yard Daniel Murray field goal.

The Spartans then marched up the field (thanks to a great hook-and-ladder call) and scored on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to Blair White with only 1:37 remaining in the game to put MSU up 13-9. Iowa answered back with a drive of its own, capping it off with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Ricky Stanzi to Marvin McNutt on a 4th and goal as time expired.

Iowa is 8-0 on the season and in all but one of those wins (a 35-3 rout of Iowa State), the Hawkeyes battled some kind of adversity. Whether they’ve been trailing at the start of the game, at halftime or late in the fourth quarter, Iowa has found a way to win and for that, voters must keep them ranked high.

I would be willing to argue with anyone who said Iowa isn’t impressive. Are they dominating opponents? No. Are the playing top-notch teams every week? No. Should they have probably suffered a loss at this point? Yes, if not several. Did Michigan State choke several times on the final drive? Absolutely.

But isn’t the point of the lame, stupid, idiotic BCS system to win games? Isn’t the point to treat every week like it’s a playoff game where victory reigns supreme? It’s not like the Hawkeyes play in the Big East or the Mountain West – they play in the Big Ten, where Ohio State has made a living off playing in BCS games or the national championship with one or no losses.

Iowa could lose next week and be dropped so far down in the polls that they would need a sniper lens just to see the top. But for now, they’re undefeated, are the team to beat in the Big Ten and will continue to be in BCS contention.

Iowa once again overcomes adversity, beats Wisconsin

No. 11 Iowa had to overcome an early 7-0 deficit to narrowly beat Michigan last week, a 10-0 deficit on the road to beat Penn State in late September, and also needed to block two last-minute field goals to avoid a shocking upset to Northern Iowa in the opening week.

So is anyone surprised that the Hawkeyes once again had to overcome adversity to beat Wisconsin on Saturday?

Iowa owes much of its 20-10 victory over the Badgers today to its defense, which was amazing in the second half. Pat Angerer and Adrian Clayborn essentially took the game over as the Hawkeyes shut the Badgers out in the second half.

Quarterback Ricky Stanzi also played a key role in Iowa’s victory. Despite leading the Hawkeyes to an undefeated record, Stanzi has been often criticized by fans and college football pundits this year. And while his final numbers (17 of 23, 218 yards, 1 TD) weren’t eye-popping, the junior quarterback never panicked despite facing the early deficit and turned in a solid second half performance.

Wisconsin once again shot itself in the foot with turnovers and the inability to move the ball offensively in the second half. After looking great in the first quarter, Badger signal caller Scott Tolzien was brutal in the second half and was the main catalyst in Wisconsin’s collapse. He continues to waste solid performances by sophomore running back John Clay.

With Ohio State’s loss to Purdue on Saturday, all eyes are now on Iowa in the Big Ten. It’s the Hawkeyes’ conference to lose and outside of a pivotal game in Columbus in November, Iowa doesn’t face many roadblocks the rest of the season.

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