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Saturday, June 12, 2010
Playing the blame game

By David Ubben

I've heard from plenty of you (mostly Nebraska fans) who disagree with my assessment that the Cornhuskers deserve the greatest portion of blame for a Big 12 breakup. That's not to say they deserve all of it. In retrospect, I should have made that clearer.

There's a ton of blame to go around. Much of it intertwined.

Texas didn't want to give up the rights to broadcast its games and possibly pursue the option of a Big 12 Network, for obvious reasons. They're the only team in the league who could pull off their own network, even if it was a longshot.

Missouri perhaps gazed too longingly at the Big Ten, hoping to join, fostering more instability in a clearly unstable league.

And though Texas couldn't promise to stay if Colorado and Missouri left, Nebraska staying would have made it a much more viable option and an easier sell for commissioner Dan Beebe.

But Nebraska blinked first -- and to their benefit. They don't have a responsibility to help their Big 12 North brethren. As the Husker brass, and other athletic directors, have repeated ad nauseum, their responsibility is to do what's best for their university. Moving to the Big Ten was their best option.

It also meant making the first move. A move that no one should question. But it could lead to the Big 12's eventual breakup.

And what, exactly, is so bad about being blamed for the breakup of a conference? Dirty looks? Arkansas did it to the Southwest Conference. They're doing just fine and collecting $17 million checks in the SEC.

Nebraska will be better off too. Well done.