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Badger Bits: Nebraska announcement forthcoming

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Depending on how you feel about Nebraska reportedly becoming a member of the Big Ten, the most exciting news to fans of teams in the conference may have come by way of Los Angeles Thursday. The NCAA has handed down sanctions to USC, including a two-year bowl ban, after a four-year investigation into allegations surrounding hoops star O.J. Mayo and Heisman winner Reggie Bush. That spells relief for Big Ten teams tired of being victimized by the Trojans in the postseason. Michigan, Penn State and Iowa have lost bowl games to USC in the past decade, and Ohio State went 0-2 against the Trojans in the regular season. USC will also lose scholarships and, combined with the departure of football coach Pete Carroll, the sanctions represent a major blow to its program. With the Pac-10 rumored to be adding up to six teams from the soon-to-be-extinct Big 12, including potentially Texas and Oklahoma, it looks like the Trojans' dominance of the conference could soon be over.

Some would say the Badgers were fortunate to avoid USC at its gridiron peak; but it only underscores the fact that it's been ten years since Wisconsin played in the Rose Bowl. As the team prepares to get back to elite status in the most important offseason in recent memory, here is a look at what's being said about the Badgers this afternoon:

Nebraska appears ready to become the 12th member of the Big Ten.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne probably aren't waiting for your opinion, but you can vote on whether you want the Cornhuskers to join the conference.

In the first we've heard from him in a while, Wisconsin head football coach Bret Bielema sounds off on the addition of Nebraska to the conference, the potential realignment into two divisions with a football championship game, Curt Phillips' rehabilitation from a torn ACL and John Clay's conditioning after missing spring practice.

Want to learn more about Nebraska? Check out some of these links.

Once considered a front-runner to join the Big Ten, Missouri now finds itself scrambling.

Colorado is on its way to the Pac-10. Is this the unofficial end of the Big 12?

Stewart Mandel of SI.com thinks Nebraska's move to the Big Ten makes total sense.

Badger hockey center Derek Stepan's departure for the NHL continues a pattern of underclassmen leaving Wisconsin's hockey program early.

Stepan joins Cody Goloubef, Brendan Smith and seven seniors as players the Badgers will dearly miss when the puck drops in October.

The Big Ten might stand at 12 members for some time, but don't expect expansion to stop here.

Adam Rittenberg takes a look at the latest Academic Progress Rate reports for the conference. See how Wisconsin compares.

-Jake Harris