The Big Ten has had it's share of on-field troubles in the early going of the 2012 college football season, but this should not have a negative impact on the conference's recruiting as a whole.
So far the conference has not looked as strong as we expected they would before the season.
The year started off with a national embarrassment when Michigan tried and failed to match up with the defending National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide, and many pointed to that game as yet another example of the SEC being the far superior conference.
The Big Ten has traditionally had a hard time matching up with the speed and athleticism of the SEC, and sadly, with a score of 41-14 ('Bama led 31-0 towards the end of the second quarter) it was hard for Big Ten supporters to argue.
Next came the fall of then No. 16 Nebraska to then No. 22 UCLA. The Cornhuskers traveled to the west coast and lost 36-30 to a Bruins team trying to regain respect in the Pac-12. Their win definitely gained them respect, while the loss hurt the strength of the Big Ten yet again.
Finally, as if two weeks in a row weren't enough, the 10th ranked Michigan State Spartans got dominated at home by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 20-3, and with that loss the program that many felt was the strongest in the Big Ten was exposed.
Sure, Ohio State is 3-0, but besides an unranked California team, they haven't played anybody of consequence yet. Then there's Northwestern and Minnesota who are 3-0, but are we ready to deem them as the powerhouses of the Big Ten?
I think not.
It's been a rough few weeks for the Big Ten.
Thankfully, the world of college football recruiting is far more about the future than it is the present, and that's what the Big Ten will have to hang their hats on for the time being.
This is a conference that boasts coaches with great recruiting reputations like Urban Meyer and Brady Hoke at OSU and Michigan respectively, and Mark Dantonio over at Michigan State has done a great job of turning the Spartans into a nationally relevant program.
Outside of the SEC, the Big Ten is arguably the other premier conference in college football. So what if they've had a couple of bad weeks against out-of-conference opponents?
Like I said, it's all about the future in recruiting, and the future of this conference is still extremely bright.
Michigan and Ohio State are back on the rise, Michigan State has an SEC-like defense and is building a sustainable program, and Wisconsin and Nebraska will always be college football draws.
There are plenty of great recruiting points coaches can use to bring elite prospects into the Big Ten, and a bad start won't make those points irrelevant.
When all is said and done, this rough start wont hurt a conference with as many national college football powerhouses and championship potential as the Big Ten.