Buckeyes Aren't Only Team Suffering From a "Down B1G" Narrative

By Jeff Beck on November 18, 2013 at 2:30p
50 Comments
A joyless 22-0 win streak. That's why this system is dumb

Another multiple touchdown win by the Buckeyes and another drop in the polls. This is the 2013 college football season for the Scarlet and Gray in a nutshell.

Currently the Bucks sit at No. 4 in the AP, losing one spot to Baylor who jumped them with their win over Texas Tech (despite tallying a nearly identical final result). Luckily for Buckeye Nation, the AP Poll is not factored into the BCS equation. In the far more important Coaches Poll, the Buckeyes maintained their No. 3 ranking. Helping them keep a No. 3 ranking in the BCS, if only by .001.

With that said, the Coaches Poll reveals a lot about the perception of the Big Ten relative to other conferences. You see these coaches who are getting paid millions of dollars to coach are spending their time coaching during the week and of course also coaching on Saturday. They don’t get a chance to see many other teams play. Instead they rely on final scores, national media perception and any football they were able to watch during their bye week to aid in penciling in their top 25.

Unfortunately the B1G is the inevitable loser in this equation, and it’s not just the Buckeyes who should be feeling scorned. Teams like Michigan State are also victims of the “B1G Blows” national narrative. So come on…follow me on a painful yet necessary journey down Bias Lane. It’s the third street on the left, just past Antiquated Algorithms Avenue.

Michigan State is a really good football team. The 9-1 Spartans only loss came against a 7-3 Notre Dame squad. Currently the Green and White have the nation’s No. 1 defense giving up just 228 yards per game and only 13.2 points. That’s about as stifling as a unit can get. 

Image ProblemWe've got 99 problems and national perception is one.

Yet a trio of two-loss teams sit ahead of the Spartans in the BCS Poll (8-2 Texas A&M, 8-2 South Carolina, and 8-2 Stanford).

A not-so-hard look at the facts reveals Texas A&M is the only squad (potentially) worthy of being placed above MSU. Their two losses came at the hands of #1 Alabama and a surging #7 Auburn. Those are high-quality L's. But, how South Carolina and Stanford are ranked above the Spartans is another mystery altogether, and certainly one worth delving into.

As aforementioned, Michigan State has one loss against a 7-3 Notre Dame team. The 4-point loss came in September and the Spartans have reeled off six straight wins since that misstep. No. 9 Stanford lost two days ago against a then unranked USC team. Before that, they lost to 4-6 Utah. Both of these losses occurred after Michigan State’s loss to the Fighting Irish. The argument could have been made pre-USC that Michigan State deserved to be ranked above the Cardinal. Of course that line-of-thinking was rebuffed by their win against then #3 Oregon. Somehow that win continues to resonate despite two losses to unranked teams. There is no excuse now, Stanford should have fallen behind Michigan State.

No. 11 South Carolina is an even bigger mystery. Their first loss came against a healthy Georgia, (that’s understandable). But, their second came against a terrible Tennessee team currently sitting at 4-6. The Volunteers are the Northwestern or Indiana of the SEC and the Gamecocks lost to them less than a month ago, yet this team is ranked above Michigan State. How? Pre-season rankings certainly have something to do with it, but the real answer is perception. A win in the SEC is somehow worth more, even when those wins come against horrendously bad teams. South Carolina just squeaked by a 4-6 Gators squad at home and gained a spot in the Coaches Poll. That’s really all you need to know.

So the media continues it’s slow drag of the B1G through the mud, while the SEC and Pac-12 can do no wrong (even when they do wrong twice like South Carolina and Stanford). The narrative has spun so violently out of control that commentators like Kirk Herbstreit are tweeting the following:

While blatantly ignoring the fact that other “bell cows” have stepped in to fill the shoes of the underperforming programs.

MSU is legit. Wisconsin might be even better. The Badgers currently have the nations #12 offense, the country’s #6 defense and rank in the top ten in terms of overall rushing yards at No. 6 in the nation. Wisconsin’s two losses have come against an undefeated Buckeye team and against No. 22 Arizona State, currently 8-2. Of course, the loss against the Sun Devils was a sham in which the Pac-12 all but admitted the refs cost the Badgers the game. If that game is officiated correctly, the Badgers are also a 9-1 team.

Just imagine life without that blown call and an objective view of college football. The B1G would (and should) have three teams in the top 10. That’s more than the ACC, Pac-12 Big 12 and ties the mighty SEC.

Of course that’s just a hypothetical based on statistics and facts so what do I know. The reality is to change this perception the Buckeyes, Spartans, Badgers and the rest of the B1G must go out and win their bowl games. There is no longer any reverence given to in-conference wins.

Bowl-games are where the “B1G blows” narrative started, and it’s where it must end. There’s no denying the B1G (with the exception of Ohio State) has under-performed in recent bowls, and those games are when the greatest sum of eyeballs are trained on your team.

There’s still plenty of football left but it’s safe to say the Buckeyes aren’t the only ones in the B1G left on the outside looking in. The Scarlet and Gray can’t alter the narrative alone. They’ll need the help of the conference’s new “bell-cows” to help change the perception.

50 Comments

Comments

ATXbucknut's picture

It's a tired old narrative already. 
Worst B1G non-conference loss this year?  Indiana losing to Navy, which really isn't that bad.
Iowa losing to N. Illinois and Penn St. losing to UCF seemed awful at the time, but those two teams are ranked and have one loss between them.
No other conference has fewer "bad" non-conference losses than the B1G, not even the big, bad SEC.

Bucksfan's picture

Key word there is "losing."  The B1G was pretty lousy against major nonconference opponents (2-4 vs. the Pac-12, the key losses you also mentioned).  And the ones that actually got through unscathed (Northwestern, Michigan) have tanked it hard in conference play.  If Wisconsin is really as good as it claims, why didn't it straight up torch the ASU defensive front?  The game was stolen from them, but an argument could be made that it shouldn't have been close with that kind of ground game....it must mean they haven't played anyone, I guess.
I hate the tired narrative as much as anyone.  It makes it near impossible to have any fun following the Buckeyes.  But the B1G does no one any favors.  You can't lose to f'ing Notre Dame.  You can't lose to the Pac-12.  You can't lose 3 straight Rose Bowls.  And you definitely can't lose to non-AQ schools, no matter how good they appear to be.  If the B1G could win just half of these games, we could really start complaining with some data.

Seattle Linga's picture

Mark Dantonio and Billy Bellicheck are cut from the same mold on their stoic smug facial features.

Michael Citro's picture

2-4 vs. the Pac-12

PAC officials made sure it wasn't 3-3. Everyone except the voters knows Wisconsin should have at least had a shot at the GW field goal from short range.

buck8813's picture

2-0 vs. Cal though, Cal is 1-10, the 1 is Portland St. 37-30 in Berkeley.

camodog's picture

The only way to shut up the pundits is for the B1G to win. Yes we usually place two teams in the BCS making tougher match ups for the other 7 bowl games. To change opinions, we need to go 3-0 or at worst 2-1 against the SEC and win the damn Rose Bowl.

RedStorm45's picture

Re: Sparty - they haven't beaten anybody besides Nebraska (sans Taylor Magic) and a hapless Michigan team.
 
Coaches (and AP voters...and computers) are dumb.  They still have Louisville well ahead of a one-loss UCF team that beat them at their place.  It makes no sense.
 
Re: Wisconsin.  It's stupid.  Voters didn't penalize them in week 5 (or whenever it was) immediately after the ASU fiasco, leaving the Sun Devils and Badgers just one spot apart.  Wisky then adds a "really not bad at all" loss at #3 Ohio State.  Yet, they've been stuck between 17-20 ever since.

darkhorse3d's picture

Herbstreit is a fake ass buckeye. 

NitroBuck's picture

Naw, Herbstreit is simply toting the company line.  ESPN is financially in bed with the SEC and ACC, and hates being cut out of 3rd tier rights by the BTN.  That makes the B1G their competition, and they are doing all they can to influence pollsters to vote in favor of their profit centers.

Ferio, tego

camodog's picture

this is not mentioned nearly enough.

xrox's picture

The NCAA is supposed to be concerned with schools not having an unfair advantage over another school, right? I don't like how ESPN has so much tied into the SEC.
The B1G, PAC-12, and Longhorn Networks...whatever. Obviously they'll be biased toward the schools they cover.
The biggest sports network in America having so much sway over a system that's based on perception is an unfair advantage at least as far as bowls and recruiting go. Something like this should be dealt with by the NCAA, but we all know that will never happen.

Aesculus.'s picture

Compared to Urban stealing our NC in 2006, Herbie looks like a saint.  

11/8/2014 @Michigan State aka Payback

NitroBuck's picture

Nice avatar!

Ferio, tego

Aesculus.'s picture

It's too much, I'm changing mine.

11/8/2014 @Michigan State aka Payback

NitroBuck's picture

Just so you know, darkhorse, I up-voted you even though I disagree.

Ferio, tego

darkhorse3d's picture

The fake ass buckeye quote was just a tongue in cheek T2P reference. It was not intended to state my actual views on anything. It was a joke. I appreciate the down votes. Carry on. 

camodog's picture

Current Bowl projections from ESPN and (my opinions)
Rose- TOSU vs Oregon adv (B1G)
Cap 1 - Mich St vs South Carolina adv (B1G)
Outback- Wisky vs Mizzou adv (B1G)
Gator- TTUN vs Ole Miss adv (SEC)
 
 
 

Buckeye in Illini country's picture

But the top three SEC teams are not involved (Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M).  So even if the B1G goes 3-1 (in those games), they still suck compared to the SEC.

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!

NitroBuck's picture

Yup, that will be the narrative.

Ferio, tego

GoBucksOSU's picture

And I have no idea why the media is not giving MSU more love. They have won their last 2 bowl games and one was the SEC East winner.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Because they're in the BigTen.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

buck8813's picture

Maybe, just maybe it is because they haven't beaten anyone in the top 25. You think that could be it?

DisplacedBuckeye's picture

Clemson, Missouri and Oklahoma State haven't beaten anyone in the top 25 either, yet all are in the top 10 with one loss. Nope, I don't think that's it. The consensus of those that have watched Michigan State play is they are underrated. I'd have to agree. They have the type of defense that can win games against anyone. 

jenks's picture

What sucks about a good showing in the bowls is that it's too late to help this year at that point.

NitroBuck's picture

Good point.  A lot of this is carry over from last year's poor bowl showing.  Of course, nobody in the media (or SEC) is willing to acknowledge that Post season bans for the B1G's two best teams last year meant that the rest of the B1G played a couple of rungs higher in the bowl pecking order than they should have.

Ferio, tego

Michael Citro's picture

The other thing about Stanford's win over Oregon: Marcus Mariota's injured knee prevented him from being a run threat, which is what makes him (and the Oregon offense) so dangerous. Or in Jesse Palmer terms: they weren't playing Oregon football.

Sparty also lost on the road. A&M lost at home to both Bama and Auburn.

 

RedStorm45's picture

And Bama and Auburn are far and away better than any team Spart has played.

Michael Citro's picture

I don't disagree, but a road loss is more logical than a home loss (or two home losses).

I don't think MSU had even settled on a QB yet when they lost that game.

RedStorm45's picture

You can only go by results, not "what ifs."
 
Sparty's big "wins" - Nebraska and I guess Michigan?  ATM - Miss State and I guess Ole Miss?

ATM puts up 41+ every game but can't stop anyone outside of UTEP and SMU.  Sparty has a stout defense and (until recently) had trouble scoring.  Voters are going to lean towards the flashy offense, and take those two wins to top 10 teams over MSU's clunker against the Irish.

ElGato69's picture

I was at the UT-Auburn game in Knoxville the weekend before last.  Sure, Auburn totally outclassed Tennessee, but what I saw was a heavily one-dimensional team, leaning a lot on the run game.  If Sparty's defense can key in on shutting down that one dimension, I'd like them in a close game, assuming Walrusball can see fit to score a few points.  If Auburn shows something different in the Iron Bowl, maybe I'll change my tune.

topher3003's picture

A not-so-hard look at the facts reveals Texas A&M is the only squad (potentially) worthy of being placed above MSU. Their two losses came at the hands of #1 Alabama and a surging #7 Auburn. Those are high-quality L's. But, how South Carolina and Stanford are ranked above the Spartans is another mystery altogether, and certainly one worth delving into.

 
I disagree with this entire paragraph. Losses should be the last thing that are factored in when talking about rankings, quality wins are much more important imho. Texas A&M has played 2 good opponents this year and lost to both of them, why on earth should they be rewarded that?

NitroBuck's picture

You are not using pro-SEC logic, Topher.  To them (and their media supporters) a good loss is more important than good wins.  Bama getting the nod over Oklahoma St in 2011 is a perfect example.  Bama lost to #1 LSU at home.  The Pokes lost to unranked Iowa St on the road.  The Cowboys had more good wins over ranked opponents and a much stronger SOS.  Even with the bad loss, the BCS computer averages favored Oklahoma St.  Unfortunately for them, the media (led by CBS and ESPN who both have a vested interest in SEC success) helped Bama win the political contest for pollster votes.

Ferio, tego

FitzBuck's picture

The part that will really suck is they will put BIG teams as dogs in all of the games and if they win it was a let down game and the other team didn't play well.  If they lose its I told you so.  We can't win.  

Fitzbuck

Toledo - Ohio's right armpit 

"A troll by any other name is still a troll". 

 

mc22's picture

More Big Ten teams must step up and pay for better Coaches/Facilities/and beat tougher non conf. opponents. in season and in bowl season.
This is the Only way this noise will stop. Captain obvious statement.
10-15 years ago most of todays top teams were not that relevant on a national level.
Look at Oregon 10-15 years ago - not that relevant
A & M - not that relevant
Bama - not really that relevant they posted a 3–8 record in 2000  to a 7–5 record in 2001 and a 10–3 record in 2002. 
Baylor - not that relevant
Florida St.  - not that great
2001 Florida State 8–4 W Gator 15 15
2002 Florida State 9–5  L Sugar† 23 21
2003 Florida State 10–3 L Orange† 10 11
2004 Florida State 9–3  W Gator 14 15
2005 Florida State 8–5  L Orange† 23 22
2006 Florida State 7–6 w Emerald 
2007 Florida State 7–6 L Music City
Look now. They all are winning the arms race - new or upgraded stadiums/better head coaches escalating asst. coach salaries/better recruiting..etc.
Fortunately for us OSU has stepped up as well.  Others in the conference need to soon.

NitroBuck's picture

The goofy thing is TTUN has put money into facilities and assistant coach salaries, yet they are still floundering.

Ferio, tego

Buckeye Chuck's picture

Hoke does look a little like Flounder, now that you mention it.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

NitroBuck's picture

Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

Ferio, tego

Seattle Linga's picture

Auto Upvote = Animal House reference

OSUBias's picture

FLOUNDERing, ha. I see what you did there.

Slider...you stink

NitroBuck's picture

Herbstreit's comment would have more merit if Duke was not winning its Division over Miami and VT, or if Mizzou was not leading the SEC East over Florida, Georgia and S Carolina, or if Auburn had not muscled aTm and LSU aside after being last year's doormat in the SEC West.

Ferio, tego

Aesculus.'s picture

It's interesting how much bullshit there is in a sport where the comparison of teams is easily judged by actually playing each other.  Rather than letting common sense prevail we rely on media pundits rhetorical drivel which rivals 3rd grade bathroom talk.  He said this, she said that.  Fuck it.  There is already a definitive measure that defines ranking and bragging rights.  It's called playing a football game.  
 

11/8/2014 @Michigan State aka Payback

Buckeye Chuck's picture

See how easy this is, Kirk?

How you can watch teams like Fla, Ga, and Tenn, teams that are suppose to be bell cows w/ Bama, & think the SEC is a tough conf is beyond me!!

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

Jeff Beck's picture

This is perfect and should be posted in reply to his tweet.

Whoa Nellie's picture

How about Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Mississippi State?

“Don’t fear criticism. The stands are full of critics. They play no ball. They fight no fights. They make no mistakes because they attempt nothing. Down on the field are the doers, they make mistakes because they attempt many things.”

Adambob's picture

Wag the dog.
i think ESPN has been saying the Big Ten has been bad and the SEC has been good for so long it has brainwashed an entire generation.
If you keep saying a whole conference is terrible why would a recruit want to play in it?  So the SEC keeps getting the recruits and the B1G keeps missing elite talent. After awhile  it shows on the field, perpetuating the problem.

Bruce's picture

Might want to check for typos, is ND 7-3 or 7-4, both are mentioned.

From the 2007 HBO special ---->http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI7x_DDPcLo

Jeff Beck's picture

Corrected. Thanks for the catch.

Bubba 81's picture

The best thing for the BIG10 is to kick in the teeth of whoever they play in the bowl games. Wisconsin, MSU, and our beloved Bucks need to take care of business this January. And if FSU plays Alabama... it needs to destroy them like 55 - 14. 
The headlines will read SEC loses all of its bowl games and the BIG10 wins all of its bowl games and Jameis Winston is charged for stupidity and go to prison forever. And the media ( espn )and FSU have to live with the fact that they let a criminal play in the NCG while holding the Hesiman-- ok maybe i am kidding a bit about Winston. 

Seth4Bucks's picture

In the last two weeks, MSU and Wiscy have each climbed 5+ spots in the AP, Coaches, and Harris poll. Wiscy's climbed up five spots and MSU has climbed four spots in the BCS rankings. The longer the season goes on, the fewer excuses the national media has to not move MSU and Wiscy up. They're not where they're supposed to be just yet, but they're getting there. I still think they'll finish ranked lower than they deserve, but at least it won't be the egregious error it's been most of the season.

Blue Eyed Buckeye's picture

The best news is that we never have to worry about this crap ever again. Best conference, bowl game records, who beat who, it's all over.  The big-10 can lose every bowl game from here to infinity and we'll be just fine to be in the top-4 playoff system every year so long as we go undefeated.