July 6, 2010

The 1994 Big Ten Championship Game: Penn State vs Nebraska

What if Penn State and Nebraska had duked it out, on the field, for the 1994 national championship? These two programs would never have been printed, that's for sure.
1992... that's two years before 1994, folks.

Nebraska was apparently ready and willing to join the Big Ten, had it offered the Cornhuskers membership after Penn State joined the league in 1990.
"A dig through World-Herald files shows that Devaney spoke with Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany in 1992 about that league adding another team in light of the addition of Penn State in 1990 as the 11th member."
Well ain't that swell. All this crap could have been taken care of 18 years ago. Two things to note about the 1992 timeframe...

1. It could have created a Big Ten title game (12 teams), just as the SEC was beginning its own two-division alignment. The first SEC Championship Game was played in 1992.

2. Nebraska surely would have entered into conference football play by 1994. In either the same, or separate divisions, Penn State and Nebraska would have naturally met in the regular season at some point. Not only would this have allowed for the biggest game of the season, but just imagine if both 11-0 teams faced off as No. 1 vs No. 2 in the Big Ten title game. Surely that would have been in the "Game of the Century" annals.

But oh, it gets much better than that. You know who was chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the early 1990s? Our very own Penn State prez, Graham Spanier. Even way back when, Nebraska was still the head honcho when it came to moving and shaking the college football landscape.
A three-month chain of events in late 1993 and early 1994 — all involving football TV rights deals — “put the Big Eight in a vulnerable position," then-NU Chancellor Graham Spanier said, “and the Southwest Conference in even a more vulnerable spot."
So what if Nebraska moved to the Big Ten in 1992, when Devaney spoke with Delany (who's names sounds uncannily alike, I might add)? Would the 1994 college football season even have the reputation it does today? Who would have actually won the game? Would Spanier be Penn State's current president? Would the Big Ten move to instant replay much sooner? Would Anthony Morelli not throw three pick-sixes against Ohio State?

One may never know. But it's fun to pretend.

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  1. Not to mention in 1997 Nu and Michigan would have also faced off and there would have been a single national champion. (Nebraska of course LOL)

  2. Just like buying a new home, when something seems right to all those involved, the question can be asked, "Why not sooner?" This Nebraska fan is truly thankful to the Big Ten for allowing us into your family THIS time. Every other Husker fan I know is humbled by your recognition of our brand and we are in deference to the honorable culture of the Big Ten, our new home.
    Alan Poe, Bellevue, Nebraska

  3. Alan,

    Oh don't worry it's all fond looks and holding hands now but when Nebraska finally gets in the Big Ten the honeymoon will be over, trust me the old Big Ten doesn't treat the newbies with kid gloves. PSU found that out fast.