Why No Big Ten Love?
It's funny that I wrote a piece talking about four FBS conferences that I thought were searching for respect on a national level, and most of the comments address one conference that I didn't discuss:
The somewhat lamentable Big Ten.
Was it oversight on my part?
I think the Big Ten gets a proper amount of respect given the current state of the conference:
- Wisconsin is trending down
- Michigan hit rock bottom last season and has to prove that they are on the road back
- Michigan State lost some senior leadership and needs to prove that last year was not a fluke
- Ditto Northwestern
- Illinois has some work to do, although Juice Williams and Rejus Benn have the potential to be a dynamic pitch-and-catch duo.
- Purdue and Indiana are afterthoughts at this point
- I personally don't trust Minnesota and Iowa to be consistent at this point
Which leaves us with Ohio State and Penn State.
The lasting image for Penn State right now is Mark Sanchez and the Trojans running roughshod over the Nittany Lions. Couple that with one of the weakest non-conference schedules I've ever seen, and I feel like the Penn State season basically comes down to the Ohio State game.
Ohio State's task is tougher: They have to beat USC. No excuses. The game is in the Horseshoe, and USC's quarterback (if it's Matt Barkley or Aaron Corp) will be starting his first road game ever.
That is the game that can help raise the Big Ten's image; it rests on the backs of the Buckeyes to bring honor to the clan.
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