#HotTake: It's Time for Ohio State to Leave the Big Ten and Join the SEC

By D.J. Byrnes on June 20, 2014 at 1:35 pm

A result of steel sharpening steel.


By and large, tradition in college football is dead. As recently as 2005, had I told you one day Ohio State's football team would play conference games against 1950's Powerhouse Nebraska and Never Powerhouses like Maryland and Rutgers, you would've spit in my heretical face.

And rightfully so.

The only tradition respected by the gatekeepers of college football is the Almighty Dollar. Not that there's anything intrinsically wrong with that. America built the most robust economy in world history on that very principle, after all.

But it helps explain, among other things, why Rutgers and Maryland — two fellas nobody can remember inviting  — are joining the conference on July 1st. It has little to do with tradition.

A mere 153 years ago, South Carolina raised its Stars and Bars against the Union. After the bloodiest conflict in American history, and after Ohio sent some of its best sons into the fray, the Union was still intact. 

It's time for the State of Ohio to teach the South another lesson, and ironically enough, it starts with secession.

For too long, the Big Ten has been satisfied with mediocrity on the football field. Ohio State must leave the B1G and knock down the door of the SEC in search of greener fields. "To beat a monster, you must become a monster," as the old saying goes.

People will wail about "other sports" and "academics" as if other sports could fill the Horseshoe or leaving the Big Ten means Ohio State must compromise its ever-rising academic standards.

The last hill for these critics of B1G secession on which to die is, "What about Michigan?"

To which I say, "Well, what about them?"

If they're talking about The Game, I'd point them to Florida's 2014 schedule; its regular season ends with Florida State. There's no reason why Ohio State couldn't come to a similar arrangement with Michigan. (Unless, of course, Michigan elders would want out of their annual date with Ohio State. If that's the case, I'd understand completely, but Ohio State would deserve a better rival.)

The SEC won seven straight national titles... in the 2000s, not the 1920s. They're the best football conference, and it takes steel to sharpen steel.

Where is the perennial steel in the Big Ten? Where is Ohio State's equal in the Big Ten since 2001? Why would the mediocre schools change now? They get the same slice of the revenue pie as Ohio State without the overhead.

Don't get me wrong, I love Dino and respect Michigan State. At the end of the day, however, a Rose Bowl win over a two-loss Stanford team is Sparty's greatest moment since beating No. 1 Ohio State in 1996 1998. Plus, it's not like Dino will be around forever.

Alabama's willingness to sell their soul to the Devil in exchange for football jewels? That's going to be around until the Sun explodes and graciously puts Humanity out of its misery.

Two middling Big 12 teams waltzed into the SEC and immediately started raising Hell. They haven't looked back. Say what you will about Texas A&M and Missouri (or 1860 South Carolina), but they ain't no Ohio State.

And think — just think — about Alabama or LSU forced to come to the Horseshoe in late November. The late fall/winter weather in Ohio (which to southerners is anything under 60 degrees) would be a devastating home-field advantage against people who think two inches of snow is a lot.

And where would you rather travel in October and November? West Lafayette or StarkVegas? East Lansing or Athens? Lincoln or Baton Rouge? (If current demographic trends are any indicator, it's obvious.)

The Big Ten was founded in 1896. Look around you real quick... is there anything from 1896? Unless you're embalmed and reading this from a coffin, it's doubtful.

Death is a fact of life, this much is known. If change wasn't an equally inevitable part of life, we'd still mesmerized by a fire's shadows on a cave's wall. 

With the Power Five putting the NCAA in review, it's time for Ohio State to do the same with the Big Ten. Ohio State is not Rutgers. They do not need the few extra million dollars ginned by the BTN compared to the SEC's budding network.

Ohio State, originally a humble land-grant university, has grown into a worldwide, multi-billion dollar powerhouse. They've done it by being on the forefront of innovation and always putting Ohio State's best interests above everything else.

It won't be popular with most of us smallfolk, but the courageous decisions that shape history rarely are. 

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