Big Ten Conference Teams Hurt by Recent NCAA Sanctions

Barry LeonardAnalyst IIIAugust 10, 2012

Teams like Ohio State and Wisconsin will see their strength of schedule take a hit.
Teams like Ohio State and Wisconsin will see their strength of schedule take a hit.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When the NCAA hammered Penn State with sanctions, it indirectly hurt every team in the Big Ten.

The sanctions have basically killed the football program at Penn State for about the next decade. No postseason play and loss of scholarships for the next four years have critically hindered Bill O’Brien’s
ability to recruit new talent.

Undoubtedly, the day the sanctions were announced, some Big Ten fans celebrated. I’m sure some Michigan and Ohio State fans were not sad  the downfall of a rival. I have to admit, if my rival school was nailed like that, a part of me would be happy at first.

However, Penn State is not the only school effected by the harsh penalties.

The Big Ten Conference has had an issue in recent years with gaining the respect of college football experts, and rightly so. The conference is always considered the second- or even the third- or fourth-best conference in the nation. Big Ten teams have struggled recently in major games against the
other top conferences.  

In this day of BCS computer rankings, conference strength and quality wins are essential in gaining a good ranking in the polls. Playing a schedule loaded with bottom-feeding conference foes kills a team’s strength of schedule, an important factor in the BCS ranking system.

It is because of this that Ohio State, Michigan and other top Big Ten teams will be negatively effected by the sanctions levied against Penn State.

The Big Ten is already very weak at the bottom of the conference. Indiana, Purdue and Minnesota have been down for some time now. Penn State will most likely join them at the bottom of the conference for the next few years. Their talent level will probably rival a decent MAC team.

That’s not a good thing for the big dogs of the conference.

Beating Penn State was always considered a quality win, even in down years. Penn State had a rich tradition and was respected by all other members of the Big Ten. In the coming years, beating Penn State will be looked at as a minor win.

Conversely, losing to Penn State never hurt a team’s image too bad. Think about that in present times. If an undefeated Ohio State team were to lose to a two-win Penn State team, it would greatly hurt their chances in the BCS.

The day the sanctions were announced, every Big Ten team watched their schedule take a hit. Losing a quality team for the next few years will prove to be a big hindrance for the other teams in the conference.

Athletic directors are going to have to think about playing a tougher non-conference schedule to make up for the loss of a quality win.

In trying to send a message, the NCAA has struck a major blow to the credibility of the entire Big Ten Conference.