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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.
Comments

Since: Jul 2, 2008
Posted on: July 31, 2011 3:06 pm
 

Five things about the Big Ten

Completely Agree w/ You . Only someone with very limited knowledge would even CONSIDER the names of coaches from only two schools that were prodominate together for a short period compared to the long history of the conference. Didn't know one could get such a cushy job with only a high school education....
 



Since: Mar 26, 2011
Posted on: July 29, 2011 4:07 pm
 

Five things about the Big Ten

Sorry, SB45CHAMPS. I was just looking through my maize and blue glasses.  You're right about Iowa and Wisconsin, of course.  It's a great B1G matchup.  I just don't think geography should be the only consideration.  It's important to think about the traditional rivalries, too.  BTW, I remember well when Penn State came into the B1G.  Everyone thought PSU would dominate, and for a while, that did happen.  But, look at Penn State's place in the conference today.  I wonder if it will be the same for Nebraska.  Changing up the B1G is good for the conference, IMHO, but it also means that we will feel uneasy about it for a while. That's the nature of change--we don't know what the consequences will be, and we have to let it play out.  No matter what the names of the divisions were or how the teams were aligned, there would still be dabate because people look through different colored lenses.  



Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: July 29, 2011 2:35 pm
 

Five things about the Big Ten

Losers always use academics as an excuse for not winningLaughing



Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: July 29, 2011 2:33 pm
 

Five things about the Big Ten

That sounds like something my grandmother would write.Laughing Losers always use academics as an excuse for not winning.



Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: July 29, 2011 2:32 pm
 

Five things about the Big Ten

That sounds like something my grandmother would write.Laughing Losers always use academics as an excuse for not winning.



Since: Nov 17, 2007
Posted on: July 29, 2011 1:57 pm
 

Five things about the Big Ten

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.

Give it a rest already. They are just names, for goodness sakes. And to single out 2 B1G Ten schools for special recognition by using their storied coaches as division names insults the other 10 schools.



Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: July 29, 2011 12:37 pm
 

Five things about the Big Ten

I wonder how long it will take the cowards from CBS to block my last post?



Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: July 29, 2011 12:32 pm
 

Five things about the Big Ten

Dennis Dodd, you wrote:

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.

I refuse to believe that you, as a columnist for a national media outlet specializing in college football, could possibly be so ignorant of how the BCS works as to make such an elementary mistake.  Ohio State did not win a $20 million BCS bowl.  You know damn well that as an At-Large bid, Ohio State earned something more like $6 million.  Surely to God, you also know that the majority of that $6 million goes into the Big Ten's bowl cash pile to be split equally among all of the conference schools.  So unless you are colossally stupid, you are intentionally tossing out a misleading figure in order to smear Ohio State.  This is not the first time you have written this same crapola, and you have been called on it by many other posters.  Shame on you!!!

So on behalf of Buckeyes everywhere, let me close with this thought:

UP YOURS!!!




Since: Apr 20, 2009
Posted on: July 29, 2011 11:52 am
 

Five things about the Big Ten

Nebraska has a high chance of regaining it's AAU status with the future construction of a Reseach Campus.  Some 40 to 50 buildings are to be built over the next few years on, what was once the state fair grounds.  And if they don't regain such status, who cares. 



Since: Dec 10, 2008
Posted on: July 29, 2011 11:23 am
 

Five things about the Big Ten

dodd

do alittle research before writing a story or a post......look at how many people exposed your lack of research in the AAU n nebraska situation....

second michigan st??? really what happen to iowa when they won all those close games 2 years ago what happen this year...the ball never bounces right 2 years in a row.


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