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Big Ten Football 2011: Power Ranking the Best School Traditions

Joe PetruloCorrespondent IIIDecember 23, 2016

Big Ten Football 2011: Power Ranking the Best School Traditions

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    The Big Ten is one of the most historically significant conferences in college football.

    Many schools in the conference possess traditions that date back to more than a century ago.

    Some schools have better traditions that most would expect. Others have not had success until recent years.

    Let's power rank the best football traditions in the Big Ten.

12. Indiana Hoosiers

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    Claimed National Titles:  0

    Conference Titles:  2

    Heisman Winners:  0

    Consensus All-Americans:  6

    The Indiana Hoosiers football program began in 1887. In over 100 years, they have not been able to accumulate more than two conference titles.

    The Hoosiers have been known as a basketball-first school for years.

    Clearly, this has not helped them attract football recruits. 

    This school has only competed in 9 bowl games, most recently in the 2007 Insight Bowl. Indiana's record in these games is 3-6.

    Indiana will always be a basketball school, which leaves a small window to push for football tradition.

11. Purdue Boilermakers

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    Claimed National Titles:  0

    Conference Titles:  8

    Heisman Winners:  0

    Consensus All-Americans:  19

    Purdue has never been known as a power football school.

    This is probably because of their lack of recent success.

    The Boilermakers were impressive from the early 1900s through the 1960s.

    Their success has fallen off the tracks a bit, despite a magical year in 2000 when they went to the Rose Bowl.

    Purdue has never been and may never be a power football school. Their tradition does not match up in the Big Ten.

10. Northwestern Wildcats

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    Claimed National Titles:  0

    Conference Titles:  8

    Heisman Winners:  0

    All-Americans:  37

    Northwestern has one of the most vague, confusing traditions in the Big Ten.

    They have been involved in some of the most exciting games in the conference, earning the "Cardiac Cats" nickname. Unfortunately, this also involves losing to Michigan State after giving away a 38-3 second half lead.

    The Wildcats had not own a conference championship since 1936 before winning one in 1995. 

    They have proven to be very inconsistent, but their early success gives them an interesting tradition to learn about.

9. Wisconsin Badgers

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    Claimed National Titles:  0

    Conference Titles:  12

    Heisman Winners:  2

    Consensus All-Americans:  22

    Wisconsin has turned into a national power in the college football spotlight.

    Over the past 20 years, they have been a force, consistently making bowl games and winning them.

    Still, their deep history is not overly filled with success.

    It may be surprising to younger fans, but the Badgers are still in the process of developing tradition.

8. Iowa Hawkeyes

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    Claimed National Titles:  1

    Conference Titles:  11

    Heisman Winners:  1

    Consensus All-Americans:  20

    The Iowa Hawkeyes football program has found recent success, but the deep history of the team is not overly impressive.

    The team's first season was in 1889. From this time to about the 1950s, they were relevant in only a few seasons.

    Then, from the early 1980s to now, they have been a dominant force in the college football game.

    Despite the lack of deep tradition, the Hawkeyes are on their way to producing one of the better traditions in the Big Ten down the road.

7. Penn State Nittany Lions

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    Claimed National Titles:  2

    Conference Titles:  3

    Heisman Winners:  1

    Consensus All-Americans:  39

    Everything about Penn State screams tradition. The jerseys, their coach, and recent success makes them seem like one of the most historically significant teams in the Big Ten.

    The real story is that they have been significant, but not great in the past.

    The Nittany Lions did not win a conference title until Joe Paterno came along.

    Joe Pa himself seems to add to the lore that creates a mythical deep tradition around the program as he enters his 46th season.

6. Michigan State Spartans

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    Claimed National Titles:  6

    Conference Titles:  7

    Heisman Winners:  0

    Consensus All-Americans:  28

    Michigan State and Minnesota are very similar in their football traditions.

    They both had stretches of dominance in the mid-1900s.

    Minnesota had a little more success in the earlier years, but the Spartans have proven superior in today's game.

    Michigan State won all six of their national titles between 1951 and 1966.

    That is a short stretch of dominance, which leads to an inconsistent history and sketchy tradition.

5. Illinois Fighting Illini

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    Claimed National Titles:  5

    Conference Titles:  15

    Heisman Winners:  0

    Consensus All-Americans:  24

    Illinois has a surprisingly successful track record in college football.

    They have won five titles, albeit accumulating them all before 1952. 

    The Illini have amassed 15 Big Ten titles, but have failed to meet expectations in recent years.

    A Rose Bowl visit a couple of years ago was overshadowed by the actual game, in which they were buried by USC.

    Illinois has better tradition than most think, but they are struggling to continue it consistently.

4. Minnesota Golden Gophers

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    Claimed National Titles:  6

    Conference Titles:  18

    Heisman Winners:  1

    Consensus All-Americans:  33

    Minnesota's tradition surprises everyone that knows how porous they have been in the past few years.

    The Golden Gophers have been bouncing around the middle of the Big Ten for years now.

    In the mid-1900s, they were actually a force to be reckon with. 

    Their six national titles all came within a 26 year stretch.

    The Gophers may be struggling today, but at least fans can point to the glory years of the past.

3. Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    Claimed National Titles:  5

    Conference Titles:  43

    Heisman Winners:  3

    Consensus All-Americans:  53

    Nebraska enters its first season in the Big Ten in 2011.

    The Huskers enter as one of the most dominant teams in college football over the past 40 years.

    Their tradition is hard to compare to teams that have been in the Big Ten for years.

    Still, the Huskers are nothing to scoff at. With Bo Pelini at the helm, they appear primed to make an impact in the midwest as they begin a new tradition in a new conference. 

2. Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Claimed National Titles:  7

    Conference Titles:  35

    Heisman Winners:  7

    Consensus All-Americans:  78

    Ohio State has been one of the most consistently dominant programs in the Big Ten since its inception.

    They have undefeated seasons dating all the way back from 1899 to 2002.

    Despite the recent controversy surrounding Terrelle Pryor and Jim Tressel, the deep history of Ohio State's program maintains their elite tradition.

1. Michigan Wolverines

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    Claimed National Titles:  11

    Conference Titles:  42

    Heisman Winners:  3

    Consensus All-Americans:  77

    The Michigan Wolverines have won 42 conference titles.

    Wow.

    If that doesn't scream dominance within a conference than nothing does.

    The Wolverines have won national titles from 1901 to 1997, but they have fallen upon hard times recently.

    The program appears to be back on track with the departure of Rich Rodriguez.

    New head coach Brady Hoke will look to restore some of the lost tradition from the Rodriguez era. 

    Despite Rodriguez' terrible tenure, Michigan remains at the top of the Big Ten in the tradition debate.

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