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A B1G Transition

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Stability.

It's a simple word; one that points to institutions that are strong, enduring and dependable. Stability was what Nebraska was looking for in 2010, and the university wasn't finding it in the Big 12 conference.

I can still remember what I was doing the day the Nebraska Board of Regents met to discuss conference change. It was June 11, 2010 and I was living in Kansas and working for a collegiate baseball league that summer. Despite being late for work, I remained perched on my bed and so I could watch the live stream of the Board of Regents meeting on the web while my sister peered over my shoulder.  We, along with the rest of Husker Nation, watched with bated breath as Tom Osborne and Harvey Perlman laid out the simple facts of why it was time to go--and why the Big Ten was the right landing place for NU.

It seemed like a no-brainer. Top-tier academics. Strong athletic competition. Equality and respect among member schools. For NU's regents and the Big Ten, it was a logical decision indeed. Nebraska became an official member of the Big Ten on July 1, 2011.

It's been nearly 16 months since the day Big Ten accepted Nebraska, and instability has continued to reign supreme in nearly all of the BCS conferences--all, that is, except the Big Ten. While the rest of the college football world grappled in an uncertain state of flux this summer, Nebraska was able to look on from the distance and know they made the right decision.

Now, as the Huskers bring their 21 varsity sports to the Big Ten arena, the competition is finally beginning to ramp up. There's something poetic about hearing the roll of schools in the conference: Ohio State. Michigan. Michigan State. Wisconsin. Penn State. Iowa. Purdue. Illinois. Northwestern. Indiana. Minnesota. And now, Nebraska.

They are names that carry a certain weight to them; names that invoke visions of pageantry, tradition, history, excellence and class.

The transition has not only been about introducing Nebraska to the Big Ten. So with that, I would like to say it: Big Ten fans, meet Nebraska.

We sure are happy to be here.  

Welcome to Nebraska!

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Hello, Big Ten fans, and welcome to Nebraska! My name is Makayla Hipke, and I'll be your guide to the Big Ten Mobile Tour's stop in Lincoln this weekend. In just a few short days, 80,000 strong will flock to the capital city to watch the showdown between our beloved Huskers and the Ohio State Buckeyes.
 
It's hard to believe that, after nearly 15 long months of waiting and anticipating, Big Ten football has finally arrived in Lincoln. This weekend is an exciting time to be on the University of Nebraska--Lincoln campus, as it not only marks Nebraska's Big Ten home opener but also Homecoming Week. There are a ton of festivities planned all over campus that you'll get to see if you follow the blog this weekend, so be sure to follow along!
 
Saturday's game is also going to be an interesting match-up between a pair of teams that are still in a certain amount of flux. Nebraska currently stands at 4-1 and is looking to bounce back after a tough road loss at Wisconsin last weekend. Our heralded NU defense is still searching for the right personnel combinations and execution this season, while the offense has taken on a whole new look this season under new Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck. It should be a loud and rocking Saturday night in Memorial Stadium, as our fans are thrilled to welcome the Big Ten to Lincoln.

I truly believe that Big Ten fans are in for a real treat--when it comes to tradition, passion and hospitality, few schools can come close to what Nebraska has to offer. There has been a lot of excitement building since we were invited to join the conference in 2010, and I know Husker fans are ready to show off Lincoln and explain why we love Nebraska.
 
What makes Nebraska so special is not our 24 major national championships or nation-leading 291 Academic All-Americans (though they do help!). No, what makes Nebraska remarkable is the dedication and the passion of the fans, the players and the coaches. Our school song says, "We all stick together in all kinds of weather for dear old Nebraska U," and nothing could be truer.
 
In the next few days, I'll have blog posts that will discuss everything from Homecoming Week to Nebraska traditions to where to eat in Lincoln. I'm hoping to introduce conference fans to Lincoln and help you all get to know us, so stay tuned!

And of course, remember that there really is no place like Nebraska!

Weekend Mobile Tour Schedule

Thursday, October 6
11 a.m. - 3 p.m. CT
Union Plaza

Friday, October 7
10:30 - 1:30 p.m. CT
Embassy Suites Hotel

4:30 - 6 p.m. CT
Wick Alumni Center
Football Friday

6 - 7 p.m. CT
Homecoming Parade

Saturday, October 8
4 - 7 p.m. CT
Husker Nation Pavilion

Mobile Tour: Introducing Makayla

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Nebraska's Makayla Hipke is taking over the Honoring Legends. Building Leaders. Mobile Tour blog, Twitter account and YouTube page while the tour is in Lincoln.

Learn more about Makayla by watching her introductory video HERE and by reading her intro below:

"Hello, Big Ten nation! My name is Makayla Hipke, and I'm a senior Advertising and Public Relations major at the University of Nebraska--Lincoln. I'll be serving as the blogger for Nebraska's Homecoming game against Ohio State on October 8, 2011. I grew up on a farm 16 miles north of the tiny town of Stuart, Nebraska (pop. 620), right on the edge of the Nebraska Sandhills. I'm definitely a country girl at heart and you'll probably catch me using some "country-isms" in conversation more than a few times.

"I'm currently in my second year as a student worker in the Nebraska Athletic Media Relations office, where I serve as the sport contact for the Men's Gymnastics and Women's Tennis teams. When I'm not busy with work, I also serve as the Communications Chair for my sorority, Chi Omega, and do university-sponsored research through the UCARE program here at Nebraska.

"Nebraska is an extraordinary place because of the endless dedication and passion of our fanbase. Our school song says, "We all stick together in all kinds of weather for dear old Nebraska U," and nothing could be truer. I know I speak for Husker nation when I say we are so excited to welcome Big Ten fans to Lincoln and Memorial Stadium this fall, and show them what it really means to be a Husker. Just remember, there really is no place like Nebraska!"

At the end of the regular season, fans can vote for their favorite student blogger, and the winner will receive a trip to the Big Ten Football Championship Game or a Big Ten bowl game of their choice.

Take it away, Makayla!

 

Mobile Tour: This Weekend's Schedule

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The Big Ten's Honoring Legends. Building Leaders. Mobile Tour comes to Nebraska on Thursday! View the complete schedule below, and follow on Twitter @B1GMobileTour for more information!

Thursday, October 6
11 a.m. - 3 p.m. CT
Union Plaza

Friday, October 7
10:30 - 1:30 p.m. CT
Embassy Suites Hotel

4:30 - 6 p.m. CT
Wick Alumni Center
Football Friday

6 - 7 p.m. CT
Homecoming Parade

Saturday, October 8
4 - 7 p.m. CT
Husker Nation Pavilion

 

Mobile Tour: Moving Right Along

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Michigan's Eddie Murray did a great job reporting on the Big Ten's Honoring Legends. Building Leaders. Mobile Tour during its stop in Ann Arbor!

Remember to follow the tour all season long on this blog and on Twitter @B1GMobileTour and vote for your favorite reporter at the end of the season. The winning student will get a trip to the Big Ten Football Championship Game or a Big Ten bowl game of their choice!

Next stop: Nebraska

Mobile Tour: Thank You and Good-Bye from Ann Arbor

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It was a great experience blogging for the Big Ten Mobile Tour here in Ann Arbor. Everyone on the tour -- Dan Crowe, Tatum Risch, Caryn Gerch, Diane Dietz, Robin Jentes, and Jade Burroughs -- was absolutely amazing and great to work with. Though I continue to reiterate it, the fans who persevered through the terrible weather we had this weekend and made it out to see the RV and the trophy were unbelievable.

Thanks to the Big Ten for putting on this tour and giving me the opportunity to be a part of it.

Fans, don't forget to continue following the B1G Mobile Tour blog and twitter for the duration of the season as it makes its way throughout the rest of the conference, all leading up to that inaugural Championship game!

...and as always, GO BLUE!

Mobile Tour: Here Comes the Sun

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Michigan couldn't have ended the B1G Mobile Tour stop in Ann Arbor any better.

In the 92nd battle for the Little Brown Jug, Michigan dominated Minnesota, 58-0, to start off the LEGENDS DIVISION era. But the day began much before any victory was settled.

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By 8am, the hard-working Mobile Tour staff was out in the gusting winds -- which created a wind chill in the 30s -- ready to show off the Stagg-Paterno Big Ten Championship trophy in the shadow of the Big House. And for awhile, the weather didn't look like it was going to cooperate for the third consecutive day.

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Here in Ann Arbor, we're used to Big Ten football -- and that includes Big Ten weather -- so it was no surprise when the Wolverine faithful threw on their jackets and made it out to the RV site this morning.

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Toes numb, fingers frozen, the show went on. Anxious fans stood proudly next to the trophy, while the kids of the groups were not afraid to get a little muddy -- and it was very muddy -- diving for the football from the jug gun.

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It was clear that we'd had enough from the poor weather, and as one fan put it, "you just have to make lemonade." So that is exactly what we did.

The game finally got underway with the touching of the Go Blue Banner and it was easy to see that the Little Brown Jug was going to stay in Ann Arbor for one more year. Great performances from Denard Robinson, Vincent Smith, and the entire Michigan defense made sure of that.

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And almost on cue, as the Wolverine offense began storming into the end zone, the clouds broke and the sun appeared for the first time all weekend. After two and a half days of rain, wind, and cold, it was the perfect finale to an outstanding tour.

...and as always, GO BLUE!







Mobile Tour: The Show Must Go On!

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Rain and gusting winds aside, this morning's tour session at the RV went surprisingly well! Check out some of the photos from the Wolverines who made the trek out to see the trophy.

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Fingers-crossed, the rain will stay clear and provide an awesome experience with the trophy for fans this afternoon from 4:30-7 at Yost.

In the morning, the RV will be set up across from the Big House at Pioneer High School. Come out and see the tour and hopefully the weather will allow the entire tailgate to be set up for the fans to get even more involved!

Don't forget to follow along on the Big Ten Mobile Tour's Twitter page (@B1GMobileTour) for Mobile Tour updates!

...and as always, GO BLUE!




Mobile Tour: Success In the Rain

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Despite the constant battle with the rain, which was unrelenting all afternoon, the Mobile Tour's first day in Ann Arbor was very successful.

I have to say, as a huge Big Ten football fan, the Stagg-Paterno Big Ten Championship trophy is even more impressive in person than pictures could show. If you haven't stopped by the tour to get your picture with it, make it a point tomorrow afternoon or before the game on Saturday!

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The RV set-up is complete with a Honoring Legends. Building Leaders. video, which highlights some Big Ten icons -- including Michigan's Brady Hoke, Jordan Kovacs, and Nya Jordan.

Just as the rain began to fall, the women's rowing team stopped by to get its picture taken with the trophy. Many Wolverine hockey fans stopped by the tour on their way to and from Yost this afternoon, and then as the day wound down Big Ten Mobile Tour member Dan Crowe very impressively estimated only three visitors off from the total count for the day, 214, before the count was finalized.

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Stop by the RV to join in the fun! Here is the tour schedule for the next two days:

Friday, September 30
11 a.m. - 2 p.m. ET
The Diag
 
4:30 - 7 p.m. ET
North End of Yost Arena
 
Saturday, October 1
8:30 a.m. - Noon and 3 - 4 p.m. ET
Corner of Main Street and Stadium Boulevard -- Pioneer High School

...and as always, GO BLUE!
 



Mobile Tour: Historic B1G Rivalries -- The Little Brown Jug

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So it's just a little, brown jug? No shiny metal? AND it's over 100 years old? And people actually care about this?

Well, here at Michigan and in Minneapolis the Little Brown Jug means a lot more than what may show on the surface. It is the oldest rivalry trophy in college football, dating back to when it was first bought by Michigan team manager, Tommy Roberts, before the 1903 matchup at Minnesota.

Michigan's unbeatable squad of the early twentieth century, coming into the game on a 29-game winning streak, faced off head-to-head with a 10-0 Minnesota squad. Michigan head coach of the time, Fielding Yost, afraid that the Gophers would try to tamper with the Wolverine water supply, sent Roberts out to purchase a 30 cent jug for the Michigan players to use as a water receptacle.

Near the end of the game, which was tied up, 6-6, late by Minnesota, the fans rushed the field, causing the contest to be called early. Yost and the Wolverines left the jug behind in the crowd. After the jug was recovered by the Minnesota Athletic Department, Yost asked for the jug back, to which L.J. Cooke, the Minnesota Athletic Director, said, "If you want it, you'll have to come up and win it."

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The two teams did not square off again until 1909, when Michigan rightfully won their jug back. From that game on, the winner of the historic Big Ten rivalry claims the Little Brown Jug as their own, taking it back to campus and keeping it under lock and key.

In 2008, the last time these two schools met up before a two-year drought, Michigan claimed the Little Brown Jug in a 29-6 victory in Minneapolis. Head equipment manager, Jon Falk, transported the trophy to Schembechler Hall, where it has resided since.

This Saturday will mark the 92nd meeting between the two schools for the Little Brown Jug, including the inaugural 1903 game, with Michigan leading 66-22-3. But this game to these teams means just as much as it ever has.

Earlier in the week at a press conference, Michigan head coach Brady Hoke said about the rivalry, "Once again, it's one of those important traditions when you're involved with the University of Michigan football team. We talked about the history, we talked about it's the oldest trophy when you look at trophy games in the history of college football. It was the first. It means an awful a lot. We want to keep it in Ann Arbor."

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The No. 19 Wolverines are the favorite heading into this season's game, but as history has shown, it's anyone's contest when the Little Brown Jug is on the line!

Interesting links for more information on the Little Brown Jug rivalry:

MGoBlue.com Write-Up

Michigan -- Jon Falk Video

Minnesota Write-Up

...and as always, GO BLUE!
 






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