There was a time — before the Big Ten lusted after the cable boxes surrounding Rutgers — when then-commissioner Jim Delany said the league would only expand the conference with programs that would be considered “home runs.”

In 2010, Nebraska fit the bill. The fanbase ranked among the nation’s best. Tom Osborne was athletic director, a reminder of the school’s three national titles in the mid-1990s. Bo Pelini inspired new hope, going 19-8 in his first two seasons, while recording the school’s best year-end ranking (14) in eight years.

In their new home, the Cornhuskers annually found eight figures more than the Big 12 could provide.