Winning the Big Ten Championship Doesn't Resonate Like It Once Did - And That's a Shame

By Chris Lauderback on December 6, 2017 at 4:15 pm
Urban Meyer led Ohio State to its 37th Big Ten championship (2010 counts, I saw it).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports

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Urban Meyer met with the media on Sunday afternoon, fresh off learning his squad fell just outside the College Football Playoff field, as the committee discounted Ohio State's higher highs including a Big Ten championship, instead focusing on its lower lows, allowing Alabama to claim the fourth and final slot. 

As you'd expect, everyone wanted to know what Meyer thought about his team's exclusion from the playoff, and more specifically the reasoning behind it, while also jumping ahead to Meyer's thoughts on playing USC in the Cotton Bowl. 

I get it. The playoff snub was huge news and as for playing USC, that's what's next so jumping straight to those questions in this day and age is hardly shocking. 

A sign of the times, it wasn't until the eighth of ninth question of the session that Meyer was asked specifically about winning a Big Ten championship roughly 15 hours earlier. 

To his credit, Meyer gave a thoughtful answer highlighting the meaning of winning the Big Ten, something too many fans fail to enjoy and celebrate these days: 

Q. Last year at this time you were in but you didn't experience what you got to experience last night. This year you've had the conference championship. Could you speak of the value of that, even though you guys are devastated, how much value do you put in what you guys experienced to win the conference title?
COACH MEYER: I thought you were going to ask me about the birth of my grandson when you say experience. Remember, that's when he was born on selection Sunday a year ago.

Okay. I lost track of the question. What was it again?

Q. The value of a conference title, experiencing what you guys experienced last night?
COACH MEYER: That's it right there. And you can never take that out of there. And that's -- I'm going to make sure -- some of you maybe don't get an opportunity, but around this facility I'm kind of bizarre about this. I want to make sure guys like Worley when he brings back little Worley some day, and I want him to see pictures on the wall of what those guys have done.

And so there will be a wall for this team. This is going to be -- this is a special group. And Big Ten Championship, that will never change. Look at 1916, it was the first one. And that's always going to be -- how do you measure a team's success? Sure, national titles.

So often that's out of our control, which you saw. And get to Indianapolis and find a way to win the Big Ten Championship.

Some of you probably initially scoffed at "giving a wall" to this team inside the WHAC considering one could logically argue the squad underachieved due to inconsistency down the stretch at quarterback and episodes of spotty play at linebacker, receiver and special teams. 

Despite failing to be perfect, the Buckeyes managed to do something pretty special - beat Michigan again and win an outright Big Ten title. 

HISTORICAL BREAKDOWN OF BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
PROGRAM TOTAL B1G TITLES OUTRIGHT TITLES SHARED TITLES LAST 25 YEARS LAST 10 YEARS MOST RECENT
MICHIGAN 42 16 26 5 0 2004
OHIO STATE 37 20 17 12 5 2017
MINNESOTA 18 7 11 0 0 1967
ILLINOIS 15 8 7 1 0 2001
WISCONSIN 14 8 6 6 3 2012
FREAKING IOWA 11 4 7 2 0 2004
MICHIGAN STATE 9 5 4 3 3 2015
NORHTWESTERN 8 2 6 3 0 2000
PURDUE 8 1 7 1 0 2000
PENN STATE 4 2 2 4 2 2016
INDIANA 2 1 1 0 0 1967

I won't boo-hoo for a team (or coach) becoming the victim of its own success but I do think it's worth giving the numbers above a chance to breathe especially in the face of a reality that says Ohio State isn't going to win the national title every year. 

Running through the conference slate with an 8-1 mark featuring wins over No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 9 Penn State and No. 18 Michigan State isn't an easy thing to do. It's just feels that way because we're spoiled. 

So spoiled in fact that Ohio State owns 12 of the last 25 Big Ten titles, and now has 20 outright crowns and most of us probably don't even realize it. (No asterisk needed - 2010 happened, I saw it.)

Hey, I get it. I want to watch the Buckeyes win the national title every year too.

But that doesn't mean we can't offer a meaningful tip of the cap to a squad that even if not good enough to win Ohio State's ninth national title in well over 100 years of playing football was still good enough to earn another Big Ten title for the trophy case. 

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