Blog Entry

Five things about the Big Ten

Posted on: July 27, 2011 8:04 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 8:12 pm
With the Big 12 media days kicking off Thursday here are five key issues to consider: 

1. The 800-pound Buckeye in the room: The world is waiting to see how the second-richest athletic department comes out of possibly its most disgraceful period in school history. Following a Watergate-like cover up, the head coach "retired" but not before allowing five players to compete while ineligible. No big deal. All it meant was that Ohio State won its sixth straight conference title and a $20 million BCS bowl. There are enough leftovers in this mess to be the subject of lectures in finance, history, ethics and sports law classes for years. While the NCAA weighs the football program's penalties, this year's Buckeyes will be the slow-down-and-look wreck on the highway. Everyone will be gawking. It is rookie coach Luke Fickell's job to unite Buckeye Nation and what is still a talented roster. Don't be surprised if Ohio State wins the Leaders Division and the Big Ten. Call it Jim Tressel's going-away present.

2. Quick, name the members of the Leaders and Legends divisions: No, really. I'm serious. All those corporate goofs talk about branding and synergy. In this case, the Big Ten paid some consultant or another six figures to confuse the public. Commissioner Jim Delany was looking for competitive balance so North-South or East-West were probably out. I get that. What I don't get is why the words "Schembechler" "Hayes" or "Grange" couldn't have been worked in there somewhere. This is a conference that is about to profit off the grainy images of old Joe Paterno coaching shows from the 1960s (on the Big Ten Network). Instead, the corporate goofs have succeeded in making the Big Ten (really 12) teams anonymous. Why is Ohio State a Leader given its current rep? Why isn't Penn State a Legend given that it is coached by one. An enterprising reporter could embarrass some coaches at the media days by asking them to name the members of each division. For now, the easiest way to remember is this: All the Ms (Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State) and the Ns (Nebraska and Northwestern), plus Iowa, are in the Legends. The Ps (Penn State, Purdue) and the remaining Is (Indiana, Illinois) are in the Leaders. That leaves Ohio State and Wisconsin to memorize on your own. A nursery rhyme, it ain't.

3. Nebraska assimilation: A tight-knit family hasn't been this charged up for a big move since the Clampetts figured California is the place they oughta be. In this case it's the Big Red loading up the U-Haul and moving to the Big Ten. Nebraska can't wait, per the wishes of Tom Osborne who had enough of Texas. Football-wise not much has changed. Some of the road trips are daunting. The Huskers move from one 12-team conference to another. They still haven't won a conference title since 1999. They still aren't "back". The Big Ten won't change those story lines. Talent-wise, Nebraska will compete just fine. It could make the Big Ten's title game in its first season. Other than that, Nebraska feels a lot better about itself having already inheriting some of that Big Ten arrogance on its way out the door from the Big 12. One thing, though: If the Big Ten is such a respected academic league why is Nebraska the only school not a member of the Association of American Universities. Expansion was not just about football. Yeah, right.

4. The rise of Sparty: In 2010, Michigan State won its first Big Ten title since 1990. (Tying with Wisconsin and Ohio State.) Next stop: The Rose Bowl. It's been 22 years since the Spartans got to Pasadena. After four seasons of steady improvement, Mark Dantonio has a chance to do it. To some, Michigan State is more than the trendy pick to win it all in the Big Ten. Kirk Cousins is one of the best pocket passers in a country in love with the spread offense. Edwin Baker (1,201 yards, 13 tds) may be the conference's best running back. A strong linebacking group must be rebuilt, although the schedule breaks Michigan State's way. It gets Ohio State in Columbus in the last game of the player suspensions. Michigan and Wisconsin come to East Lansing. Dantonio won't wow you with quotes but this is as solid a program as there is right now in the Big Ten. When the coach survives a heart attack and the team still wins 11 games something is going right. If it comes together, who knows Michigan State could get revenge on Alabama in a BCS bowl? (Bama trounced the Spartans 49-7 in the Capital One Bowl.)

5. The traditional mob boss: And I mean that in the best possible way about Delany. He is simply -- with the possible exception of SEC counterpart Mike Slive -- the most powerful man in college sports. Delany doesn't speak often publicly but when he does, he is usually provocative. Look for more of the same when Delany speaks Thursday during his annual state of the conference address at the media days. This is the guy who deftly tried to lure Notre Dame to the Big Ten (remember the rumblings about breaking up the Big East?), then ended up with a hell of a consolation prize -- Nebraska. This is the guy who slapped down the non-BCS conferences with impunity during a December forum in New York. "The problem is," Delany told the BCS wannabes, "your big stage takes away opportunities for teams to play on the stage they created in 1902." This is the guy who created the model for the conference network. Remember, there is still no guarantee the Pac-12, Longhorn and all these other networks will succeed. Ask Delany. It was a long slog to get to this point. With all the issues in play -- Ohio State, NCAA reform, conference realignment -- expect Delany to make his opinion known this week.

Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: July 29, 2011 9:29 am

Five things about the Big Ten

reading all the silly, self righteous, naive big 10 fanboy comments on here makes me think SEC fans are reasonable in comparision...and thats hard to do

Since: Dec 5, 2007
Posted on: July 29, 2011 8:05 am

Five things about the Big Ten

Five things about the B1G Conference
1. Saturday and eveyday tradition that has and will continue set the standard in all college sports!
2. Every team in college football eventually recruits a dirt bag.  The B1G conference has the fewest.  I wonder which conference has the most?
3. Tough, hard nosed, smash your face in football that wears you down!  That will never change!
4. We actually go to college for a degree!
5. You will see the standard on and off the field this season...respect for one another and integrity.

Since: Oct 12, 2010
Posted on: July 29, 2011 3:03 am

Five things about the Big Ten

So Jim Delaney thinks that non-AQ schools should not be given the same opportunities as schools that started the BCS or college football?  Does Delaney still think slavery is okay?  How much income did the Big-10 make last year that they kept and did not pay taxes on?

Since: Dec 21, 2010
Posted on: July 29, 2011 1:53 am

Five things about the Big Ten

Dodd, before you try to write about a conference, have a clue as to what it’s about. Your tweets from media day were utter nonsensical and meaningless.
The 5 things about the Big Ten were vacuous, meaningless, and rambling, showing you know nothing about the conference despite your assertions otherwise.
What, exactly, were your readers supposed to glean from any of this garbage?
Get a real job.

Since: Dec 13, 2009
Posted on: July 29, 2011 12:34 am

Five things about the Big Ten

So dumb they didn't draw a line with the 6 teams East of the In/IL border in one and the 6 teams west in the other.  It is competitive and geographic.  I'm excited to see Nebraska in the conference and hope Kiel can get Indiana on the map.

Since: Mar 18, 2009
Posted on: July 28, 2011 10:32 pm

Five things about the Big Ten

How the mighty have fallen and how the heartland has suffered.  Nothing, any writer, commentator, or blogger could say would come close to balancing out the incredibly egotisitical and entitled attitude of many of you Buckeye fans.  Like spoiled children suddenly faced with not having first choice in the cereal aisle.  Perfection must not be all that.  And you had the chance to set things right for the rest of the country, but only succeeded in amping the whine level for the entire kindergarten we call NCAA, BCS football programs.  Thanks for nothing.

Since: Mar 18, 2009
Posted on: July 28, 2011 10:24 pm

Five things about the Big Ten

please refer to mirror.  it is us fans who are pathetically sad.  we feed this beast, not the media, not the sponsors, not the players and coaches.  you're talking about us.  we should be ashamed and embarassed, but we are too egotistically stupid to do anything about it except complain about the next guy.

Since: Nov 12, 2007
Posted on: July 28, 2011 5:38 pm

Five things about the Big Ten

i can't believe how badly you hate the Buckeyes!!! dennis, you need to be medicated...please, quit writing anything about anyone in the big 10 because you just can't be objective!! you really are sad.....SAD!!!

Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: July 28, 2011 4:35 pm

Five things about the Big Ten

1. How do we become relevant?
2. Is there a way to form our own national title game since we can't beat the SEC?
3. We're good enough, big enough, and smart enough and dog gone it, people like us.
4. How do we convince recruits not to leave the midwest and move south?
5. How can we convince our coed's to wear shorts and t-shirts in January when the recrtuits are on campus? 

Since: Nov 6, 2008
Posted on: July 28, 2011 1:45 pm

Five things about the Big Ten

dodd, do us all a favor and stop writing about the B1G. a) it's either negative garbage or b) it's not insightful because you refuse to see any positives about this conference. if it's not dirt, you're not talking about it... nice try sparky, nice try...

ohhhh, quick, name the divisions! great item to choose for a top 5. first off, they haven't even happened yet! wow, no one knows them, what a revelation! #1 oHIo state? really? this is how you justify all the 10x wrongdoings that go on in the sec? by pointing out that osu had a dirtbag on their team? and if you never know tressel was a weasel before he left youngstown state, then you truly are an idiot...  3) slamming nebraska on not being AAU, that's like saying the air pressure is low in your tires on your new corvette so it must suck. dude, really, don't go away mad, just go away... 4) make sure you get in how an sec team on probation TROUNCED a big ten team and then 5) you talk about how mike slime is suddenly the most powerful man in sports? never has been, isn't now but because you claim it true, it must be! again, seriously, go back to mississippi and georgia and alabama and see if you can help some "athletes" say their abc's...

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