Big Ten Football has been disappointing over the last few seasons. They havn’t won big games against elite teams in the SEC, Pac-10, or ACC. The offenses are boring and even the defenses are falling behind the other teams across the country. There are a lot of things plaguing the conference and we are going to point out a few ways how Big Ten football can be relevant again.
The last big game the conference won on a national stage was when Ohio State played Michigan as the #1 and #2 teams in the country back in 2006, so a Big Ten had to come out victorious. Since that game, USC has beaten Illinois, Michigan, and Penn State in consecutive Rose Bowls and have also beaten Ohio State twice. USC has owned the Big Ten and the Rose Bowl has turned into a sacrificial ritual of a “good” Big Ten team. It is only one of the things that has turned the public’s opinion of the conference upside-down.
They Must Successfully Recruit In The South – The SEC and Big-12 conference has a stranglehold on the most fertile area of high school talent in the nation. Texas and Florida produce elite talent on a yearly basis and schools in the region are at an advantage. It’s a lot to ask for the Big Ten to go down there and spend their recruiting dollars on the South when they believe that Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania are also a region with great talent. I can’t argue against that, the Midwest does produce some fine talent, but they need to expand their search. I know they do attempt to recruit down there, but it appears that a team like Ohio State is settling on the 4th best wide receiver in the state of Ohio, instead of the 7th best wide receiver in Texas, which would probably be better.
A Big Ten Championship Game Is Needed – I know that it is a tradition that Big Ten Football is finished by Thanksgiving, but college football has changed. You played a ten game season back then and now teams are playing twelves game seasons, other conferences are playing games two weeks after the Big Ten has finished. You can have a true winner of the conference and get one more elite game to help your conference winner’s BCS chances. It hurts them in the final polls and almost makes the conference forgettable.
Must Schedule More Elite Non-Conference Games – It may save teams money, but playing a handful of games against MAC teams isn’t going to get people paying attention to your conference. Ohio State have had a couple home-and-home series the last few years with USC and Texas, it was a step in the right direction. Even though Ohio State went 1-3 in those series, they were marquee games that made the nation take notice of the Big Ten. The Ohio State/Notre Dame series must be re-established. There was some great games between those teams and they are locally a rival. Wisconsin has done a decent job at scheduling tough opponents this season, Fresno State and California, other teams should take notice.
Persuade Notre Dame To Join The Big Ten – Now that Notre Dame looks to have re-gained a little big of their swagger, the Big Ten may have missed their chance to snatch Notre Dame up. The NBC television contract is probably the major obstacle in this, because the Big Ten has their own network now. The NBC deal would have to expire for the Big Ten to have a shot. It would add one more elite program to the mix. Ohio State has been the only constantly good team over the last six seasons. Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State, and even Purdue have all had their ups and downs. There needs to be at least three great teams in the conference for a number of years to earn the respectability the SEC and Big-12 have earned this decade.
More Imagination In Their Offenses – I remember when Joe Tiller took over as head coach at Purdue, you would have thought that he re-invented the wheel. He started throwing the ball all over the place with Drew Brees and they knocked the entire conference for a loop. The conference has prided itself on the power running game, but that offense is stale. They can take a few notes from nearby MAC teams and if the offenses that are taking place in that conference happened in the Big Ten with better players, there is no telling what kind of damage they could do in the BCS.