It's Time To Check the Big Ten into Rehab: A Seven-Step Program
Another year, another disappointing bowl season
Banged up and bruised, both physically and mentally, the Big Ten conference once again proved to the country that we should have our bowl privileges suspended, if not revoked.
Iowa posted our only bowl win this year; a lopsided 31-10 victory of South Carolina.
This is a very disturbing trend that needs to come to an end; but before we change things, we must first admit that we have a problem. That's why I came up with this idea...
I came up with a seven step program for Big Ten football. That's right folks, this is an intervention; it's time for this conference to check into REHAB!
Step 1. Admit that we need a conference championship game
39 days. One month + one week + two days
That's the number of days a Big Ten team will have to wait before they play a New Year Day bowl game.
Folks, the average football team loses a tenth of its edge, for every week they're not playing. So what do you think of a team that's been off for over five weeks? Yes, I agree; it might as well be the first game of the season.
It's time for us to select a team to join this conference, so that the NCAA will give us permission to establish a championship game. I have three scenarios to offer.
Each of these scenarios contains two crucial elements. One, the team we pick has to be decent; two, the team must have be a long time rival of a Big Ten team.
1. Iowa State/TCU
Negotiate with the Big 12 and Montain West into a deal that would send TCU to the Big 12 and we'll take in Iowa State. This move will save both teams money, in terms of travel expenses.
The MAC has 13 teams; I'm confident that they wouldn't mind letting Buffalo go to the Big East, so that we could get Pittsburgh. This move will give the Pitt/Penn State rivalry some spice.
3. Notre Dame
They're practically playing the Big Ten every year. It's like watching a couple that's been together for over 20 years, refusing to get married, out of fear of committment.
If you have a scenario of your own, feel free to post it. But it's very important that we shave one week off our down time; a conference championship will do just that.
Step 2. How to Properly Set a Non Conference Schedule
(above) "Want to get away...? Grab a Snickers!"
I don't know your views concerning the purpose of non conference scheduling, but here's mine.
The purpose of nonconference scheduling is to test your team's toughness before going into conference play. This ideology demands that you play at least one big nonconference game.
Here's some tips on how to set a major nonconference schedule.
1. Negotiate the big game first—Let's try USC. That's your third game. You want to give your team enough time to prepare for that big game, while making sure that you don't give the Trojans too much time to prepare.
2. Research USC's offensive and defensive schemes, then schedule your first two games like this...
Game One: A beatable team with the high defensive ranking. This will allow your offense to get hit in the mouth early. Use game two to make any final adjustments on offense.
In this case, game one goes to Troy.
Game Two: A beatable team with a high offensive ranking. You want your defense to get a real workout before the big game. A cold start for your offense, in a big game, is salvageable; but cold start on defense? Well, ask Joe Pa.
In this case, game two goes to Houston.
3. Finally game four. Should you beat USC, you might want make this a "cupcake" game. Pick a bad team and blow them up sky high! This is your "intimidation" game; your last chance to send a message to your conference foes. "We're coming, and hell's right behind us!"
So you're wondering why I'd chosen this picture for this step? Simple. Ohio State scheduling scheme was "bass ackwards." This is the order I would had recommended for their nonconference season.
4. Youngstown St
If they'd arranged their schedule like this; the USC game would had been a much different game and possibility a much different outcome.
The Big Ten is notorious for their inability to schedule their nonconference schedule properly. Fix that problem, please.
Step 3. Tell the NCAA officials that we want to host a MAJOR Bowl game
The Big Ten is only major conference that doesn't have a Jan 1 game in that region; that's bull.
I know the story about how the Big Ten led east teams, arrogantly challenged the best teams in the west, on their own turf and how it eventually led to the creation of the bowls.
Yes, I also know that in retrospect, that might not had been a good idea. But come on! GOD only punished Moses' people 40 years; folks, 106 years later and the Big Ten is still being punished for that?
Simple idea. One major bowl, that's all. The best non BCS Big Ten team vs the best non BCS team, according to the BCS poll.
Don't say that you wouldn't tune in to see Michigan State vs Boise State, while keeping up to what would had been a Capital One Bowl game between Iowa and Georgia? Food for thought.
Step 4. Michigan/Ohio State game moves to the first conference game for both teams
Common sense tells you that the Big Ten will NOT put Michigan and Ohio State in the same division, should they obtain a 12th team. By the same token, they're not going to risk a season going by without the most marketable matchup in this conference's history.
The solution is obvious; let them play first.
Both teams will be ready and regardless of the outcome, the losing team will still have a chance to force a rematch in the conference championship game.
This idea definitely sells.
Step 5. Defensive. Show Some Size, Strength and Conditioning, Please?!
It's the most frustrating problem within the entire Big Ten conference.
Big Ten Defensive Linemen-smart enough to blow by the offensive linemen, but not agile enough to wrap up a mobile quarterback.
Big Ten Linebackers-Smart enough to know where the running back is going, but not fast enough to catch up with him.
Big Ten secondaries-Smart enough and fast enough to hang with the receivers, but they are either one of two things...
a. Too small-The receivers just simply brush them aside.
b. Too short-The receivers jump over them for the ball.
This has got to stop!
Michigan, despite the horrible season, did manage to set the tone in hiring world renowned conditioning coach Mike Barwis. Now all RR has to do is to recruit for size.
Our recruiters and the strength and conditioning coaches, need to get together and establish a definitive plan for recruiting defensive players that are capable of defending high octane offenses.
The mission of winning a championship is not about putting points on the board; it's all about keeping points off the board. Our defenses currently cannot stop any great offense
Step 6. Offense. If it's not played in the NFL, don't play it in the Big Ten
What is that? I'll tell you what it is...Garbage!
Look, it's real simple on defense. You know the QB is going to run more often than he throws; so apply the same principle of defending the traditional option attack to the spread/option; except this time, use a nickle formation and expect more passes.
Mark my words; the spread/option is a fad that will fade away within a few years; and with it, goes every coach that utilizes it.
Jeez, every few years, some nutcake takes on an offensive scheme, then moves around a player or two; he wins a few games and boom!!! Everybody wants to use his offense.
Big Ten Fans, think about it. You're watching the NFL playoffs, right? Question...
How many teams, with fancy offenses, are still in the playoffs? Answer none. You know why? Because in the NFL, the greatest institution in football, DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS!
The man who'd said that psycho babbling quote about the "best defense is a good offense" apparently never faced a good defense.
Most NFL teams' front offices understood the futility of trying to out score each other; so the most part, they kept their offenses simple.
A variable offense involving one or two backs, two or three receivers and a guaranteed TE. The preferred QB is one who can pass, but is capable of running for the first down.
This NFL standard is what we need in the Big Ten; a smart, simple and effective offense. Not an offensive system that will confuse our players more than it will confuse the opposing defense.
Step 7. Demand a playoff
A playoff will be the greatest advantage for the Big Ten because a playoff, along with a conference championship game, evens up our "off time' with every other conference.
That, along with a guaranteed home field advantage for the Big Ten champion, will make for very interesting turn around of events.
All that needs to be done is to negotiate a financial agreement to NOT spread the wealth equally amongst all 120 schools. This is not a Big 10 issue, this is every conference's issue. No major conference wants to reward schools for simply fielding a team.
A solid financial bonus for the competing teams is a must! Once the "powerhouse" schools are convinced that they won't lose monies, from switching to a playoff system, they'll sign off on a playoff deal.
Conclusion: Get With The Program!
Wake up Big Ten Fans!
Our conference is going down the drain because we refuse to swallow our pride and get with the program.
1. We need a conference championship
2. We need a home field advantace in the bowl games/playoffs
3. We need to win on defense
4. We need a second chance opportunity to play for the national championship
My seven step program is not perfect; the Big Ten will not win national championships every year under my plan. However, when compared to what we have now, these changes are the best options to take.
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney needs to gather the ADs together and discuss this crisis. This conference has too much talent, in both coaches and players, to be playing like this. But it all starts with this one admission...
We have a problem.
That's my two cents; take it for what its worth.