Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

15 Jun 2010

ESPN: Nebraska in the New Big 10

There are plenty of other factors in play in Nebraska's move to the Big Ten, but what might the effect be on its football team's wins and losses? Using our F/+ ratings and projected win expectations, Brian Fremeau takes a closer look at the Cornhuskers' recent success in the Big 12 and compares the depth of the two leagues. Nebraska played in two conference championship games in the last five years. How difficult would that feat have been in the new Big Ten?

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 15 Jun 2010

4 comments, Last at 16 Jun 2010, 4:15pm by DisplacedPackerFan

Comments

1
by fek9wnr (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 12:06pm

Another effect of the departure of Nebraska and Colorado from the Big XII is the fact that now the Texas/Oklahoma winner will get an automatic BCS bid. Who knows if the Big X will still hold a championship game, but if they do, I can't see Kansas or KSU beating one of the big two anytime soon. And if they don't, with only 10 teams they will all play a pretty similar, if not identical conference schedule, and I can't see any of the other teams keeping up with UT/OU without scheduling quirks. The remaining Big X is extraordinarily top-heavy.

2
by snley (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 1:05pm

Football conferences with fewer than 12 teams aren't allowed to have a championship game. The Big XII is going to become an old school conference with 2 power house programs and little else like the old Big 8 (NU and OU) and Big 10 (tOSU and Mich).

3
by tuluse :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 6:32pm

Wisconsin and Penn St often had a chance.

4
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Wed, 06/16/2010 - 4:15pm

Not just WI and Penn State, since 1990 (when Penn State joined the Big Ten), only Minnesota and Indiana have not won or shared the title. There were a few 4 way ties for the title in there, but it's mostly been Ohio State (though note that all of Ohio States Outright titles were in the last 4 years as well as one of their co-championships).


Team . . . .Out Co . Total
Ohio State . 3 . 6 . . 9
Michigan . . 4 . 4 . . 8
Penn State . 1 . 2 . . 3
Northwestern 1 . 2 . . 3
Wisconsin . .1 . 2 . . 3
Iowa . . . . 0 . 3 . . 3
Illinois . . 1 . 1 . . 2
Mich State . 0 . 1 . . 1
Purdue . . . 0 . 1 . . 1
Minn . . . . 0 . 0 . . 0
Indiana . . .0 . 0 . . 0

So Wisconsin, Northwestern, Penn State, and Iowa have all been pretty much as competitive as each other as far as winning it all. Now if you look at average finishes and other factors that will change.

Heck if you just look at the last decade I'd rank the Big Ten teams as follows for the decade. Yes I know my chart above is for 2 decades. But I'm trying to factor in more recent history.

Ohio State (102-25, 64-16)
Michigan (81-43, 53-27)
Iowa (80-45, 49-31)
Wisconsin (85-43, 44-36)
Penn State (77-46, 45-35)
Purdue (67-56, 41-39)
Michigan State (60-62, 32-48)
Northwestern (60-61, 38-42)
Minnesota (62-62, 30-50)
Illinois (45-73, 26-54)
Indiana (39-78, 18-62)

Edit: Added over and conference record for the last decade, Mich State was 1-3 in Bowls, Northwestern 0-4, which is why that ranking went that way.