Fair or not, the Big Ten has earned a reputation for producing teams that have great regular seasons, but who simply cannot hack it when it comes time to hand out the hardware.
Part of this reputation stems from the fact that the Big Ten has captured just one BCS National Championship (Ohio State in 2002).
After going just 3-5 in last year's bowl games, the Big Ten has done nothing to improve the perception of its teams. However, there is reason for hope if you're a fan of the Big Ten.
In fact, as you will see, there are five reasons for Big Ten fans to be optimistic that the conference will be more competitive as a whole.