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Big Ten's expansion move looks even better

So let's get this straight: Texas A&M had the moving vans revved up and ready to head to the SEC, only the SEC said why don't we cool things down a bit while schools like Missouri, Clemson and Florida State are waiting to see what happens.

All of which brings home one point when it comes to the league we cover in these parts. The Big Ten sure got its expansion right, didn't it?

Jim Delany and the conference leaders scooped up Nebraska last year when it looked like the Big 12 was fracturing and the Pac-16 thing was happening. Maybe the Big Ten doesn't make the move that quickly if not for those external circumstances, but in this case, swiftness and correctness went hand in hand.

The Cornhuskers have yet to play a game in their new league, but you can't find anyone who doesn't think this is a terrific fit. Nebraska not only matches geographically in the Big Ten, adding a natural rival with Iowa, but also philosophically in its style of play and fervent fan base. Most importantly, Nebraska is a marquee program and a national power. Even if the Huskers haven't been to a BCS game since the 2002 Rose Bowl disaster, they appear back on the rise under Bo Pelini.

Now, compare that with other conferences. The Pac-12's bold play for Texas, Oklahoma and others last year drew praise for commissioner Larry Scott. But the league ended up with Colorado and Utah, neither of which possess Nebraska's stature.

Will Texas A&M really do much for the SEC? The Aggies haven't won a bowl game since 2001 and haven't claimed a conference championship since 1998. Not much separates them from a program like Northwestern except for tradition.

Should A&M still pull off an SEC marriage, there could be a wild scramble among leagues to grab the remains of the Big 12 or raid the ACC and Big East. But Delany says the Big Ten is comfortable for now with its 12-team alignment. Adding teams like Missouri or Kansas doesn't do much for the league except split the revenue pie into more slices, and it could possibly dilute the product. Unless the Big Ten could grab some truly big fish like Texas, Oklahoma or Notre Dame, expanding may not be worth the trouble. Nebraska was the only real big fish to jump into a new pond last summer.

Bigger isn't always better. But the Big Ten sure got its expansion push right last time.