There has been a lot of talk the past few years about the recent regression of the Big 10 conference in football.
After doing some research, I was left wondering why it has been thought of so highly in the past, especially the past 40 years.
While the 1990s were solid for the conference, the 2000s have been greater than both the 1970s and 2000s.
There were no national championships, according to the Associated Press poll, from 1969-1996. There have been two since then (1997 Michigan, 2002 Ohio State).
From 1969-1992 (before Penn State was added) only four times did teams finish in the top three in the country.
Since that time, there have been seven.
What slump? According to history, the conference has been much better the past 15 years than the previous 25.
Perhaps the problem has been the Big 10 has been greatly overrated over the years and not that it is just in a little funk.
While the Big 10 has won two AP titles since Ohio State won in 1968, the Pac 10 has won three, the Big 12/Big 8 has won 10, the SEC and Independents nine each, ACC three, Big East two, WAC one and SWC one.
Well, that isn't very good! The Big 12/Big 8 is only one championship short of top three finishes for the Big 10!
While the Pac 10 has been all USC, the Big 10 has been all about Ohio State and Michigan until Penn State's arrival.
There have been good teams here and there in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin, but the conference has been far from a powerhouse.
Looking back, it is hard to see how it has been thought of as such a powerhouse.
Sure, it once had Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes duking it out, but Schembechler had a lot of good teams that weren't good enough to win a title.
The Big 10 has gone 11-26 in Rose Bowl games since 1968, which shows its utter lack of dominance. It was 4-19 before the 1993 game.
Recent bowl success has been limited as well, especially against the SEC.
Looking at all of this, it gets even harder to believe in the great history that has led to such a depression now.
Compared to the 1990s? Sure, the Big 10 has dropped off a bit after a very impressive decade. But overall, not even close. It is still in better shape than it was at any time between 1969-1990.
While the conference is firmly planted behind the SEC and Big 12, it remains in a fight with the Pac 10 and ACC.
As long as that is the case, there should be no talk about a down decade or a down year.
Face it Big 10 fans, your conference has always been in the middle of the pack.
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