College Football: Big Ten Must Admit They Have a Problem

Michael ShibleySenior Analyst IJune 20, 2008

One thing I love about college football is the great traditions: Running through the T, UGA VI, Roll Tide, Dotting the I, Touchdown Jesus, Hail to the Victors, Rocky Top, the list goes on and on.

Of course there are some traditions that need to go away.  One of them is the Big Ten's idea of "Power Football" which to the rest of the college football world means, SLOW.

Now for full disclosure I am a Tennessee fan, but I spent a good deal of time living in Ohio so I know plenty about Big Ten football.  It is not just Ohio State in the BCS Championship games the past two years, it is the conference as a whole compared to the SEC. 

Every time someone writes a column about how slow or behind the times Big Ten football is, all the fans do is rush to defend their conference and do not stop to look at the facts.

Since the start of the BCS era in 1998, the SEC has won four BCS Title games: Tennessee in 1998, Florida in 2006, and LSU in 2003 and 2007 (add to that Auburn could have had their shot in 2004).  Compare that to the lone Big Ten BCS Champion, Ohio State in 2002.

Overall, the SEC is 11-4 in all BCS games and the Big Ten is 8-9.  Want more?  The SEC won all four of its BCS games the past two years by a combined score of 161-62.  While the Big Ten lost all four BCS games the past two years by a combined score of 90-73.

Now, people can point out some Big Ten wins over SEC schools the past two years such as Michigan over Florida in the 2008 Capital One Bowl or Penn State over Tennessee in the 2007 Outback Bowl.  However, those are not the games people will remember.  Most fans only remember the games by the teams at the top.

Big Ten school, media, and fans need to admit they have a problem against schools in the SEC, Pac-10, and Big XII.  they need to get faster and stop believing in "Three yards and a cloud of dust." 

One weakness that the Big Ten has compared to the SEC is that their media is not as tough.  Look at what happens once a coach in the SEC starts to struggle, they are gone.  Look at Ed Orgeron at Ole Miss, after three dismal years he is gone and they go out and bring in Houston Nutt (who had a bad end at Arkansas). 

Now take a look at Kirk Ferentz at Iowa.  After the huge win over LSU in the 2005 Capital One Bowl, the next three years Iowa went 7-5, 6-7, and 6-6.  Do you think Kirk Ferentz would be the coach at Iowa right now if the Hawkeyes were in the SEC?  No way!  The fans and media would demand his head.

Once the Big Ten admits they have a problem, they can finally stop defending their "power football" and work to fix the problem and recruit all speed and not just one or two players, because all the other speed players are headed down south and the only time Big Ten teams will see that speed is when they are running by them in the BCS Championship Game.