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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Business as usual’: Or so Pelini says, as Huskers embark on farewell tour

Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini answers questions during Big 12 media days. Pelini tried to avoid answering questions about the Big Ten on Monday in Irving, Texas.

Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini answers questions during Big 12 media days. Pelini tried to avoid answering questions about the Big Ten on Monday in Irving, Texas.

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— Baylor, Iowa State and Texas A&M all stayed loyal to the Big 12 Conference during the offseason’s turbulent realignment talks.

First day of Media Days wraps up

The first day of the Big 12 Media Days in Texas came to a close Monday. Nebraska refused to talk about its impending move to the Big 10 Conference.

But it was the Nebraska Cornhuskers and their impending exit to the Big Ten at the end of the 2010-11 season that dominated the talk on Day 1 of this year’s Big 12 media days outside of Dallas on Monday — even if Nebraska coach Bo Pelini didn’t want it that way.

“I understand and respect the job that all of you have to do,” Pelini said in his opening comments. “But I will not be taking any questions in regards to any Big Ten issues. We’re excited about being in the Big 12 this year. We’re excited about the upcoming season, and all our focus is on the Big 12, which is a great conference.”

From there, reporters found ways to circumvent the disclaimer and peppered Pelini anyway. Asked if the school’s future plans were a distraction this summer, Pelini was direct with his response.

“Business as usual,” he said. “We haven’t really talked too much about it. In our program, we talk to our guys about the process and what they have to do on a regular basis to have an opportunity to compete. That hasn’t changed.”

Pushed further, Pelini said he had no idea if life away from Lincoln would be any more hostile than in years past, as the Cornhuskers make their farewell tour through the Big 12 this season, with road games at Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Texas A&M.

“You don’t really know,” he said. “I don’t anticipate any problems. Throughout the conference, fans in the Big 12 are very classy fans. I don’t anticipate any ramifications as far as that’s concerned.”

While much of this year’s opening day at the Westin Hotel focused on quarterback battles, injuries and preseason hype, things always seemed to come back to the Cornhuskers.

In his first year at ISU, Paul Rhoads led the Cyclones to a bowl game. That surprise season included an improbable and emotional victory against Nebraska. With the return of several starters, Rhoads had plenty to boast about during his meeting with the media. But even he couldn’t stay away from Nebraska.

“To me, it’s sad,” Rhoads said. “I grew up with that game and grew up with that rivalry. It’s a good rivalry because (Iowa and Nebraska) are bordering states. But it’s not a great rivalry because they used to beat our tails all the time.”

The most interesting part about all of the focus on Nebraska’s upcoming departure is the fact the Huskers have what Pelini believes is the best team they’ve had in quite some time. Fresh off of last year’s heartbreaking loss to Texas in the Big 12 Championship game, Nebraska returns several key players on both sides of the ball and appears to be poised for another run at the title this year. Pelini has depth on the offensive line, talent at the skill positions, a healthy competition at quarterback and the preseason co-defensive player of the year in defensive tackle Jared Crick. Even with all that, Pelini knows that his team’s Big 12 swan song won’t mean much without hard work.

“You know, we understand that we’re going to get what we earn,” Pelini said. “And the kids have worked hard through this offseason. We had a good winter, good spring, and we followed it up with a good summer. We’re really looking forward to the season.”

Though most players in attendance Monday said they didn’t think playing Nebraska would provide any extra motivation, the words spoke by some said otherwise.

“If they want to leave, they can leave,” Baylor linebacker Antonio Johnson said. “We welcome all challengers so it really doesn’t matter. If they don’t feel like they’re Big 12 material then they can leave.”

Media days will continue at 9 a.m. today with Missouri kicking off Day 2. The Tigers will be joined by Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. Kansas and new head coach Turner Gill will open the third and final day at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Comments

Funhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

"Business as usual" will be more abused chewing gum called Big Red.

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minnhawk84 4 years, 1 month ago

G0 BIG RED! and take Colorado with you.

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ProudKansan 4 years, 1 month ago

I'm definately not a KSU or MU fan. But I find Snyder and Pinkel to both be likable guys. For whatever reason, I just can't stand Pelini. I don't know if it's the way looks, the Nebraska arrogance or the smacking of his gum. But that guy really rubs me the wrong way.

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Jeff Cuttell 4 years, 1 month ago

These guys are going to have a great season. Probably win the whole Big 12 and take the title with them. They will be missed. I only wish KU could have come with them. That is a great situation they have.

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Benjamin Piehler 4 years, 1 month ago

i really doubt they win the whole big 12; but thats just me. big 12 north, sure.

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Bear86 4 years, 1 month ago

As much as I hated seeing the Bug eaters kick our butts over the years I hate Texas more than any other school in the conference. The reason why Nebraska left was because Tx had an unequal revenue sharing deal in the conference. My hat is off to Osborne for telling those Hick's later. The Big 10 & SEC both have equal revenue sharing for all schools. This is what a conference is all about. I can not believe KU and the other North leftovers are going to pay Tx $$$ for staying in the conference they were going to bolt. F-Texas !!!!!

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Dan Pawlowski 4 years, 1 month ago

Don't let the door hit your @## on the way out .

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Benjamin Piehler 4 years, 1 month ago

i just dont see them having a stellar performance the first couple years in the big 10.... its not the cakewalk that the big 12 north was.

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TimmytheJayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

I must admit that growing up a Mizzou Fan, I hated the Huskers from Day 1. My family drove to Columbia for several MU v. NU games and there were always way more Big Red fans. One time they broke into Faurot Field and rearranged the M into an N. Funny, but really ticked me off.

As I betrayed my dad and went to KU, I took with me my loathing of Nebraska. In my days, we never beat them. That game a couple of seasons ago when we scored on every drive was one of my favorite games EVER!

So, as much as I hate them, I really hate to see a bitter rival go.

Let's hope that Coach Gill can beat 'em one last time and start a new tradition of winning, like NU had.

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gchawk 4 years, 1 month ago

I use to have a lot of respect for NU and their fans, but after this debacle I've definitely changed my mind. I talked to a number of NU fans before, during, and after this fiasco was taking place and the overall concensus was "We just hate Texas". My thought on this was, and still is, what a fine message to send to our young people, if you don't like something, just quit and go somewhere else. It's amazing how, without exception, these same fans are all spouting the same mantra, and that is: "It's best for our university because of academic reasons", as well as the perceived financial gains they'll receive. I think the NU fans will receive a less than hospitable welcoming away from Lincoln, but I don't think anyone really cares about CU.

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Dan Pawlowski 4 years, 1 month ago

The NU fans I have talked to have either deluded themselves into believing the reason was that they wanted to be in a conference that was academically better or knew that sounded better than "sho me the money". Either way , pretty disingenuous.

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NorthStarHawk 4 years, 1 month ago

A face only some mother could love.....

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Mike Kendall 4 years, 1 month ago

Like I said before on another stream, it will not be hard to get motivated and play the "bug eaters!" It will make for some very interesting and close conference games when the Conference season actually begins. All the rest of the conference teams (with the exception of Colorado) have everything to gain and nothing to lose when they play Nebraska. The pressure is on the Huskers. Will that mean the Huskers will choke this season? Probably not. I know, though, there are many Big 12 fans out there that will be rooting against Nebraska when conference games begin. Like I said, it will be interesting!

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