The bottomline is that Ricky Stanzi and Adrian Clayborn won’t be around for when Nebraska joins the Big Ten in 2011.
They’re seniors, so they’ll be gone. Still, the question came up last week.
“We haven’t really talked about it, but, talking about Nebraska, I think it’s going to be a great rivalry,” Clayborn said. “Give it a year or two, and it’s going to be a great rivalry.”
Granted, they won’t be around to see one, but Stanzi and Clayborn like the idea of a Big Ten title game. When Nebraska joined the league June 11, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said he “presumed” the conference would add a title game in 2011.
After voicing disapproval in the past, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said last week he’s for it. Can’t fight it, so go along.
Stanzi believes it makes sense.
“I think with that 12th team, they’ll be able to do that, I presume,” Stanzi said. “That’s a good thing. I think that makes sense. It works out for those years when there’s a co-champion thing. You might as well have a game to figure out who the real champion is. I think that’s a good thing.”
Clayborn also would like a title game. But he also would’ve been OK if the Big Ten stayed 11.
“I’m glad we’ll have Nebraska, but I’d rather the conferences stay the same and not focus on the money part of it,” he said.
There is the money part of it. A conference title game could bring the Big Ten an estimated $12 million payday. It would also add a 13th (championship game) and 14th (bowl) game to schedules.
“It sounds great,” Stanzi said. “I’m sure a lot of it has to do with money, but for an athlete who’s got school, who has all that stuff to juggle, I don’t know how a playoff would work. I’d have to see how they’d structure it.”
With the Pac-10′s near blockbuster deal that would’ve netted Texas, Oklahoma and four other teams from the Big 12, the idea of 16-team super conferences had a flicker of reality to it. It didn’t happen, but the notion brought the possibility of four 16-team conferences pooling into a semi-finals and national title game.
With that scenario, Stanzi saw the games piling up and wondered about school. You remember, school? Also, there’s the logistics of semesters and tri-mesters. If a particular team is in school or not, it could be an advantage.
“That’s a lot of games for a guy who’s got school, too,” Stanzi said. “Not every school is on semester. That’s what makes it very hard. If everyone had the same exact schedule, you could make it fair. But so many schools have so many different breaks and lengths of breaks. People don’t think about that, but that’s a huge factor that plays in. It’s an advantage for teams that don’t have any school work against other teams that might be in finals week.
“It’s such a detailed question. There’s so much that goes into it. It’d be awesome to watch. It sounds great to me and would probably be the most fair national champion because of all the computer rankings and everyone has a problem with that every single year.”
But hey, we’re talking to two seniors on the topic. Of course, they’re locked into 2010.
“I’ll be gone. All I’m focused on is this year,” Stanzi said.
The thought of a Big Ten title can is enticing, though.
“That wouldn’t be bad to play for an actual Big Ten title, but I can’t complain,” Clayborn said. “I’ve had a great career here.”