I Couldn't agree more. I love Ohio State and I bleed Scarlet and Grey but we have as much to do with the downfall of the conference as anyone...I hate to say it but it is true. On the biggest stages in January 2006 and 2007 we laid an egg against the SEC giving away national championships. BOTH of those teams we played were not better than Ohio State but beat us rather easily. If we just compete in those games and keep it close, or win 1 of 2, this isn't so bad. Also, our record against the SEC is what it is...poor. And, the one time we did beat them in a bowl game, we beat Arkansas with what every SEC fan and media critic thought were key players who should've been ineligible. We saw that come to fruition when the sanctions stripped us of our wins thus striking our W from the record books completely.
Let us also not forget that these recruits likely primarily watch ESPN whose anti-buckeye sentiment and anti-Big Ten sentiment is glaring. Then there is the Maurice Clarett incident, the tattoo-gate scandal, the Jerry Sandusky (sicko) that destroyed Penn State and literally killed a living legend in Joe Paterno... all in the last 8-10 years. The parents of these kids remember this stuff...this conference has IMPLODED and not one school in the B1G is saying anything about it. We just put our heads in the sand and say "We just want to win the B1G this year"...well good for you...that means dick on the national landscape of college FB and only means marginally more now with a playoff system.
Recently, we win 24 straight games and lose the last 2 which just so happen to be the ones anyone outside of OSU care about. The end result is that 24-0 in the B1G means nothing. The reality of it is that if you are Ohio State, or Meatchicken, or Penn State or Nebraska--you carry the banner for this conference. We need to take care of our business and hope the others get themselves squared away too. Otherwise, this trend will continue, the BTN will die costing these teams serious $$$ and we will basically be no better than the Big East was...and FBS conference that really doesn't matter in the national picture (we are almost there now).
My only solution is this...the presidents of these schools and their athletic directors need to get the picture...whether you like it or not, kids decide to enroll in schools who have success in athletics. It effects enrollment and therefore it is permanently tied to academics. This is a proven fact. The presidents, board members and athletic directors need to make a plan...a proactive (or somewhat reactive at this point) campaign for this conference and its return to the top. The money is there as was discussed above, now they need to USE IT! I understand the argument that these are academic institutions first so if you can show me how an aggressive campaign for athletic dominance HURTS academics, I will concede. Check the SEC school enrollment numbers and see if they are suffering...I think not.