The Big Ten Problem

Jonnferrell's picture
October 21, 2013 at 11:14a

      It is the elephant in the room, and it’s not invisible.  It is pointed out by bloggers on the internet, and talking heads at ESPN.  The Ohio State University Buckeyes, in its current state of being undefeated for 19 games in a row, is almost relegated to undefeated Boise State/Utah status whenever a BCS National Championship game is mentioned so far this year.  The old “strength of schedule” is cited, even though teams in other conferences have similar non-conference opponents.  What is constantly implied in one way or another is that the Big Ten is “weak.”  OSU is begrudgingly given a partial pass because of its history, combined with the fact that we have Urban F. Meyer, and a supporting cast of coaches and players that any team or conference would take as their fantasy team—and the little fact that we win, and have been winning for years.  That doesn’t mean that the road hasn’t had some bumps here and there.  A BCS championship in 2002 put us in the elite, while dropping two later championship games to Florida, and LSU helped feed the elephant.  OSU has kept the elephant from totally taking over the room by winning other bowl games, most notably defeating Oregon in the Rose Bowl and smacking the Bertless Arkansas team in the mouth in the Sugar Bowl a few years back. 
     Other Big Ten teams have done more to feed the elephant—the hapless TTUN in the Alabama game last year was an embarrassment to the conference.  Other bowl wins by the Big Ten versus other major conferences have been few and far between—although the Wolverines did manage to dispatch an Urban Meyer coached Florida team, Northwestern defeats Vanderbilt, Iowa defeated Georgia Tech in 2010, and Michigan State beat Georgia and TCU the last two years, but the year before were demolished by Alabama 49-7.  Bert-led Wisconsin did nothing to help us in their sad Rose Bowl record of recent times.  Nebraska is an institution with quite a tradition, but they have lost their last three bowl games. 
     This year is one for the ages, as this is the final year of the BCS.  While it is an unlikely scenario, OSU may win out and they may still not get to play for the National Championship.  There is not a lot that can be done if the higher ranked teams go undefeated.  My main question is, what steps should the Big Ten take this year to be considered a truly elite conference once again?  What keeps it down, both in reality and in perception, and what can be done to move the conference back to level ground with the others?  As a side question, what is reality and what is fiction when considering the overall strength of the Big Ten versus the other major conferences?

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Hoody Wayes's picture

Meet your other and note: Mort Leith has a Gator avatar:
John Farrell • 13 hours ago
If Ohio St. actually played anybody, I would be impressed with Oscar Meyer's streak.
3  •Reply•Share ›
beezlebob  John Farrell • 2 hours ago
Who the hell is john farrell and why would anyone want to impress him
1 •Reply•Share ›
Dylan Macay  beezlebob • an hour ago
What the hell kind of name is beezlebob & why is he such a
•Reply•Share ›
Mort Leith • 9 hours ago
Well yea,, it sure helps when you go from the best conference in the country to one of the more CUSHY like the Big-10
•Reply•Share ›
BUCKEYEHYPEMAN  Mort Leith • 9 hours ago
1  •Reply•Share ›
This comment was deleted.
Mike  Mark Grudt • a day ago
No but they've won every single game.
11  1 •Reply•Share ›
122156  Mike • 15 hours ago
Great reply. Mark deserved every bit of that. Get cocky, and get a cocky answer right back.
1  •Reply•Share ›
Mort Leith  Mike • 9 hours ago
against schools of blind and deaf women....

Jonnferrell's picture

What's with that guy, giving my name a bad name?  LOL.  Luckily he spells his wrong.  I was so happy when Will Ferrell got famous, so I just tell people, "Like Will Ferrell."  

"I miss Brady Hoke."

cplunk's picture

Win on New Year's Day.
It's a big bowl day, still, and for the past several years the entire day from start to finish has been watching B1G teams get beat. That, much more than anything OSU has done, is why the B1G is considered weak sauce.

4thandinches's picture

CFB is cyclical. It's pretty obvious the SEC's dominance is in the rearview. It seems like the PAC12 is becoming the new big dog on the block with the ACC sniffing at the door. I say we will be fine, the BIG 10 will rise again.

I wasn't born a Buckeye but I became one as fast as I could. 

Jonnferrell's picture

I would say that the PAC12 is pretty much like the Big10--USC is down and has been down, Oregon and Stanford are doing reasonably well--Ohio State and Michigan State.  We know that Wisconsin is about the equal of Arizona State.  Is there that much difference between the two?  I agree that we will be fine.  We do have to win some bowls, and the Rose Bowl is one.  At least we have to look really, really good.  No blowouts.

"I miss Brady Hoke."

Phoenix824's picture

The BIG needs to do two things.   
1) Win every non-conference game before the BIG season starts.    Wisconsin needed to destroy Arizona State not lose.   They should not have even been in the situation where a bad referees decision cost them the game.   A team expected to complete for the confrence championship should not lose to a mid-leve PAC 12 team.    I don't care where they play.  TTUN, MSU, and Purdont needed to beat ND.   Penn State can't lose to UCF    And not I don't care what UCF is doing now and what their record is.    You can't lose to any team in the AAC or Big Least what ever that conferences name is.     You can never lose to a MAC/NONAQ team.   I don't care if they go on to play in a BCS game.
2) Win during bowl season.    Not play it close.   Win consistantly.    BIG goes like 2 - 7 during bowl season.  SEC goes 7-2.   Ok it is great that the second or third best team in the BIG wins or plays close to the third or fourth best team in the SEC.   But you can not couple it with losing to PAC 12 teams and ACC teams.
The ACC right now is perceived as good because Clemson beat LSU or whoever last year and beat Georgia and Miami beat Florida
You asked there it is.    Nothing OSU does matters unless the other teams pull their weight.   After they pull their weights then you can lose or win a close one to a BIG team you should not have on your field

Jonnferrell's picture

I think you hit the obvious nail right on the head, Phoenix.  We need a 7-2 bowl season, not a 2-7.  In the end it's the won/loss between the conferences that matter.  That's why it was good for UFM to shake them up a little bit about recruiting when he came to the Big 10.  Maybe we can just get Bert to go to the Pac 12 next and stink them up, too.

"I miss Brady Hoke."

ChazBuckeye's picture

One thing about tB1G, right now there's one unbeaten team obviously and let's look at the rest:
OSU 7-0
MSU 6-1
TTUN 6-1
Wiscy 5-2
PSU 4-2 off a bye
Minnesota 5-2
Not sure about you, but I'd say the media is spinning all the other conferences (Big 12) like the ACC and SEC real well at this point.  Just saying...
Bama 7-0
Mizzou 7-0...for now!
Auburn (who would have guessed) 6-1
TX A&M 5-2
LSU 5-2
South Carolina 5-2
And 3 teams with 3 loses that I'm sure will be back in the top 25 if they win this week to go to an eye popping 5-3 records.  Sorry folks....don't feed the machine called ESPIN the mighty SEC.
Not sure about the rest of you but these conferences seem even to me but what do I know...???  And I'm sure some of these teams will lose soon or eventually (Baylor, Mizzu, and TX Tech, FSU, and may be just may be Bama vs LSU).  

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

Phoenix824's picture

The problem is the BIG loses are to mid-level or lower non-BIG teams.   MSU to ND,  Wisky to Arizona State,   PSU to UCF.     The SEC loses are to other SEC teams or top 10 teams like Clemson.

Jeeves's picture

Heh, mighty Clemson who just got waxed and should have dropped out of the top 20 after that performance? 
It will be interesting to see if people next year pay much attention to the polls as this bcs system is thankfully dying. I wonder what the airheads at espn will talk about once their power to set the agenda and influence voters is rendered useless?

ChazBuckeye's picture

"PSU to UCF"

UCF did beat Louisville, who beat an SEC team in a bowl game and had the best winning streak besides OSU.  Just playing devil's advocate with you a bit.
However, I don't see it that same way as you do with the loses to mid-level or lower B1G teams.  I see it more as the way media is spinning it.  If what you're saying is true, then what about the ACC?  They have the most teams with winning records but look who they play (second only to the Big 12 and 5-2 as winning not 4-3).  Besides Clemson and GA, which is turning into a joke of a shoot out between two teams that look a bit overrated at this point.  
Really my point was about how media is spinning conferences strength of schedule as the original posters pointed out.  You should go check out the schedules as well as rankings that I linked above.  I think you'll be shocked or may be not.  All these 'tough conferences' have played weak OCC teams. To say this and that about how teams play other good teams, I don't see it that way. 

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

Jonnferrell's picture

Notre Dame is really no better than a middling Big 10 team this year.  Michigan State's arrested offensive development was a curse there.  

"I miss Brady Hoke."

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

The SEC loses are to other SEC teams

Huzzah for circular logic.

Jeeves's picture

Thank you for posting some sanity.

Jonnferrell's picture

We have Nebraska with one loss--but that loss was against UCLA.  They needed to win that game.  

"I miss Brady Hoke."

ChazBuckeye's picture

I forgot NEB at 6-1. Then again, may be I forgot on purpose bc they'll probably lose many more...but I hope not;-)

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

3cent's picture

Neb, MSU, and MICH should all be unbeaten right now. Funny thing is that all three would probably all still be ranked outside the top 10. NEB lost a game where it looked like they were on the verge of blowing out UCLA only to get blown out themselves. I remember watching that game and couldn't believe the turnaround that happened quickly. They went from being up 21-3 with the ball to getting smoked.
MSU had ND if it wasn't for the refs and all those damn pass int calls.
and we all remember TSUN vs PSU

weirdscience's picture

"Neb, MSU, and MICH should all be unbeaten right now."
scUM had their loss coming for a few weeks. They're lucky to be 6-1.  

Doc's picture

1.  Win out of conference
2.  Win bowl games
Just that simple.
I really don't think the B1G is all that bad.  Us, Wisky, PSU, MSU, are decent teams.  The second tier of Minny and IU, and the Nerds are trying to improve.  In conference there will be losses, but the upper tier teams can not lose to the Purdont's and AACC's of the conference.

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

BukFan's picture

Part of our "problem" is we keep scheduling team like freakin' Hawaii and Western Michigan (yes..Hawaii!!??)  in 2015, while PSU is "in talks" for a HOME & HOME series with LSU!! 

ChazBuckeye's picture

I agree...I wasn't happy with the 2015 scheduling!

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

Jonnferrell's picture

Yeah, I saw Hawaii and then they are not even going there.  Why schedule Hawaii and not go there?  Helping that strength of schedule. 

"I miss Brady Hoke."

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

2015 OOC schedules:
Ohio State - Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois, WMU, Hawaii
PSU - Temple, Buffalo, SDSU, TBA
PSU is discussing a neutral site game with LSU in 2020, not a home & home. Ohio State is scheduled to play at Oregon that year.
Any chance we can keep the hysterical hyperbole to a minimum?

warosu's picture

Have you notice that when the $ec the schedules a quality team it's at home or a neutral site rarely any home & home

mshaf's picture

We need to start the first game of the year with an SEC school. We also need to play these teams every year _ichigan,Nebraska,Penn State,Wisconsin,MSU.The B1G needs to have the top schools playing each other every year to get some respect.If one of these schools fall on hard times,then next school up !

lamplighter's picture

only if they do a home and away,  Georgia and Tenn would have, and LSU has in the past.  Florida - probably never, Bama - don't know, they did go to Happy Valley, didn't they?

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

So you're saying the B1G should do the exact opposite of what the SEC has done? SEC scheduling has traditionally been set up to ensure the top teams in the conference don't play each other so they can have more teams with 10+ wins at the end of the year.

Catch 5's picture

Not quite. LSU plays Florida every year. As does Ga-Auburn. Bama plays Tennessee, who admittedly had been down for some time but is historically one of the best teams from the East (you may recall they won the first BCS championship). Bama lost to USCe in 2010 and beat Florida in 2011 and Georgia in 2009.
Bama avoided the tougher teams from the east this year, yes - but with the increase to 14 teams and the hesitance to move to 9 conference games, you can't play enough teams from the other division to ensure a top opponent like the used to. This is due to the number of teams in the conference, not some conspiracy to inflate rankings.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

Qujo's picture

Maybe we need to help start changing to story line.
for instance, how do you know Ohio State couldn't hang or beat Alabama? They have won all their contests and Urban has suggested they are trying to win, not generate style points. Sec teams are beating Sec teams, Big teams are beating Big teams. And OSU recruiting ranks with the best of them. So you have a program run by a two time NC coach who is recruiting all the same talent as anyone in the SEC and so far has beat everyone that has been put in front of them. 
So when the talking heads say OSU is not deserving because they play in the B1G, take the conversation away from the B1G. OSU talented enough to play with anyone.

Our arch rivals.... 11 National Championships, 10 before 1949 - eight of eleven shared. Trying to respect them... trying.... Ugh!

WC Buckeye's picture

Yep. What's interesting, though, is that if you take a look at the composition of the current roster, Meyer and JT are almost dead even on the percentage of out-of-state players they've recruited.
I wonder what is going on? I never have been a believer in the whole SEC speed advantage, but somehow I feel as though UFM's teams (last year and this year) could play with most (if not all) of the SEC teams pretty consistently, whereas (Arkansas notwithstanding), I didn't feel like we gave the SEC our best shots when we had them under JT.
                   JT         UM        Tot
In                29         47         76
Out              14         23         37
                   43         70        113
Interested to hear what the rest of my 11W brethren think wrt recruiting in/out of state talent, and the comparative abilities to recruit the highest caliber athletes. I personally love that we're at least "in" on a lot of the conversations with marquee athletes nowadays.
Edit: I think that the rest of the B1G teams need to recruit the highest caliber talent as well nationally as we do. That was the case I was trying to make. :)

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

sbentz4's picture

I think we just need to build 4 or 5 really strong programs and take care of everyone else in the conference.  There is too much jockeying between the top and mid level B1G schools, outside of OSU.  How to build up these mediocre B1G schools into national contenders: recruiting and coaching.  I think PSU and Wiscy are on their way, scUM and MSU are close.  MSU needs better recruiting and scUM needs better coaching.  Nebraska needs a top coach to come in and take over because Pelini is running that program into the ground.  Look at the recruiting rankings, no not ESPN, and you can see part of the picture of the B1G: Big 2, Little 8 for the next 4 years.

TennesseeBuckeye's picture

adding Rutgers and Maryland and having them on schedule doesn't help either. And now talk of UNC and Virginia, we had an SEC scheduled and they chickened out

I may not be able to outsmart too many people, but I can outwork 'em.
Woody Hayes

jenks's picture

Rutgers beat Arkansas, not that that means anything now.
And Maryland was 4-0!

CC's picture

4 Words - Win a National Championship - Suddenly the conference as a whole will be better.  You watch next year how the whole conference is better because OSU won the big game.

warosu's picture

B1G 1 and little 11 just win the big one, shut everyone the F@&k up period!!!!!!!

jbuckeyes's picture

the problem with the big ten is:
Ohio state hasn't beaten a top 10 ranked team in almost two years. Now that is not all ohio state fault. The big ten has been weak the last couple of years.  Didn't play in a bowl game last year.
The big ten non conference schedule has been a joke, and the games that are marquee we have lost
The big ten has lost 3 straight rose bowls.  Our bowl record has been terrible recently
The big ten with the exception of michigan and ohio state recruiting efforts are not good at all
Ole Miss wins 7 games and a bowl game last year and they have a top 5 recruiting class. Wisconsin can't crack the top 15 even after going to 3 straight rose bowls.

CC's picture

Our bowl record has been terrible recently

It has?  How many schools have a better bowl record over the last 10 years?  Hell the last 3 bowl games were an ugly Gator Bowl, and 2 BCS wins.
I'd say that's pretty good considering there are probably only 10 to 15 teams with 2 BCS bowl wins total.

Maffro's picture

To put it simply, here's what the Big Ten can do:
1. Hire and retain better coaches (both head and assistant) and actually hold them accountable for the state of the program.
2. Win out-of-conference games.
To be fair, people sure seem to love to jump all over the fact that the Big Ten loses games to REALLY good teams. The jabs at Wisconsin's Rose Bowl record, in particular, strike me as odd; they lost one-possession games to an undefeated TCU, two-loss Oregon, and two-loss Stanford. The latter two each had a loss to a national championship participant, and Wisconsin certainly played Stanford well considering they had five losses and were only in that game because Ohio State was on probation.
It's rather amusing to me that Big Ten wins are dismissed when they happen (Ohio State cheated, or Arkansas was the worst SEC bowl team, or Michigan just beat a terrible Virginia Tech team, or blah blah blah), but no one ever seems to question Florida or LSU's titles even though they were against Ohio State.

Jonnferrell's picture

Well, we would give Wisconsin a cheer for giving a decent game in those Rose Bowls, but that's not doing anything for the Big Ten.  If they are a strong major conference then they win more bowls than they lose--at least.  If Wisconsin can't beat TCU in the Rose Bowl, then they suck and so does the Big Ten that sent them there as their champion--that is the perception.  

"I miss Brady Hoke."

Haybucks's picture

I'll give UW a cheer for replacing Bert's sorry ass with a real coach.  I'll give the B1G a Bronx cheer for putting Wiscy in the championship game last year after finishing in 3rd place in their division.

If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later. -  Mark Twain


Haybucks's picture

It seems the moment the Big Ten announced in 2010 that it would name its divisions “Leaders” and “Legends,” there was an outcry from people who found names are pretentious, arrogant and just downright confusing.

I don't take umbrage to negative reaction. I don't necessarily change when I hear it. I think on the other hand, we said we would test-market it, and we have for a couple of years. 
-- Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany

Perception is difficult to overcome.  When the conference is steadfast in maintaining it's failed position it's even more difficult.   Thankfully, the newest realignment made it easier for the conference gurus to accept a name change.

If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later. -  Mark Twain


BuckeyeJosh's picture

If only Nebraska had beat UCLA and Wisconsin had beat ASU...

teddyballgame's picture

I find it astonishing how many threads there are here, other forums, and general media discussion hating on the SEC and questioning the SEC. yet, after all the upsets this year they are still widely considered the best conference.
Want to stop this whole discussion? Win. Win a BCS title, win your bowl games against other conferences, win your OOC games, dominate. Do what the SEC has done for the past 7 years and you'll be considered the best and you'll get benefit of the doubt like the SEC deservedly gets.

WildBear Buckeye's picture

I would augment this slightly to "win marquee matchups". First and foremost, win BCS bowl games, or whatever will become of them now. The SEC is 17-8 in BCS games, B1G is 12-14. That's pretty much all you need to know. A distant second is win second-tier bowl games like the Capital One and maybe the Gator/Outback. The rest don't matter at all.
Many people here complain that the SEC is nothing special, it's just their top one or two teams in any given year, which has really rotated among 4 (more like 3 and 1/2) teams over their whole run. But those complaining fail to realize that the consistently-top 3 to 4 teams in a conference are the conference, just like OSU and Michigan were during the Big 2 and little 10. So when the B1G's top teams routinely go on to either 1) get blown out by top teams from other major conferences, or 2) lose to upstarts like TCU in BCS games, "Big Ten sucks" isn't media bias. It's a fact.
After looking back over BCS results from the last few years, I would augment it even further: win matchups against top 10 teams. Not all BCS games are made equal. Wins like:

2006: #3 Penn St. 26, #22 Florida St. 23 (3 OT)
2012: #13 Michigan 23, #11 Virginia Tech 20 (OT)
and even
2010: #10 Iowa 24, #9 Georgia Tech 14

don't help you nearly as much as these hurt you:

2007: #5 USC 32, #3 Michigan 18
2008: #7 USC 49, #13 Illinois 17
2009: #5 USC 38, #8 Penn State 24
2011: #3 TCU 21, #5 Wisconsin 19

and, in the interest of fairness:

#2 Florida 41, #1 Ohio State 14
#2 LSU 38, #1 Ohio State 24

Ugh, that's some depressing research.

Kurt's picture

That is painful.  But there's no dispute that we've been second fiddle to the SEC over the past 7-8 years or so.  But The talk right now would have you think that we're below the AAC (RIP Big East).  How does the Pac-12 or B12 stack up in BCS bowls over the same period, and where does the B1G stand in that mix?  My guess is not nearly as poorly as the perception.

WildBear Buckeye's picture

PAC-12 is 13-7 (thanks USC vs B1G sad-sack!), B12 is 9-11 (thanks plateaued OU!).
I think B1G (and, by extension, OSU) has two problems that PAC-12 and B12 do not:
1) Placing teams in more BCS games, losing more of them. It's not surprising people feel like they're constantly watching B1G teams lose - they are watching it more often.
2) Competitive balance at the top. PAC-12 had USC-Oregon for a good while, then Stanford-Oregon for the last 3 years. (Stanford has been to 3 straight BCS games. Who knew?) B12, has had OU/Texas/OKSt, plus Mizzou, Kansas, and KState for a year or two each. Come to think of it, B12 has put more teams in the top 5 than the SEC has.
Compare that to B1G: what team, aside from OSU, has sniffed the top 5 in the last 5 years? What team has deserved it?

Kurt's picture

Yea, that's been a long-standing problem for the conference: lack of depth at the top.  Wisconsin in 2010 was probably a pretty legit top-5 team.  Otherwise you have nothing.

BuckeyeB9B82501's picture

The B10 just plain and simple has to do 2 things. 1) WIN and 2) the only way to win is Recruit. We have done both here at TOSU. But the rest of the B10 has to step up and start recruiting better. When that happens then you will win. So it starts with recruiting and WIN.  Simple right?  GO BUCKS !!!! 

Buckeye Dynasty starts in 2014 baby !!!!!! GO BUCKS !!!!!!!! O - H - I - O

Maceyko's picture

Get a fair bowl match up and then win.

cinserious's picture

Big-10 needs to put up the money for asst coaching staffs to be able to compete with other major conferences.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.