Friday, November 14, 2008

An Idiot's View of the Big Ten Conference

While trying not to shamelessly plug our own website, I was looking through the "Big Ten News" section on the right side of F&BT today, when I noticed an absolutely ridiculous headline...

How To Overhaul Big Ten Football!

Over at the Bleacher Report, they have an article up today about what the Big Ten needs to do avoid becoming irrelevant in the world of college football. What?! First of all, this is a ridiculous idea to write about, as the Big Ten is about as far from irrelevant as it can get. Just because the rest of the country hates us, doesn't make us makes us hated. But as a fan of any team who has stayed on top too long will tell you, being hated makes you as relevant as ever.

For those of you who were too lazy to click on the link, I'll sum up the recommendations of this idiot writer:

1) Add Notre Dame to the Big Ten
2) Split into 2 divisions and have a title game
3) Re-invest profits from the Big Ten Network into high-school and junior high football programs throughout the Midwest, hold summer camps, and build up a talent base from the bottom up.

The first 2 are patently absurd to me. The 3rd one makes sense. For argument's sake, let's go through them one-by-one.

First, Notre Dame. This is an old argument from people who don't know jack about the history of the Big Ten. We tried. They didn't want to join. End of story. If anything, they would join the Big East, the conference in which all their other sports are affiliated. Also, Jim Delany has stated numerous times that adding a 12th team is not on the this whole argument is pretty stupid. The writer's idea was that since both ND and the BT were down, they could join forces and revive themselves. This is as ass-backwards an argument that I can think of, but that should be expected from someone who obviously doesn't know much about the Big Ten.

If that wasn't bad enough, this guy also wants to hold a Conference Championship game. Why? So we don't have as long of a layoff between our final game and the bowl game? To make more money? While both might make sense, the only realistic reason would be the money. But we have the BTN now, and that should be enough to tide us over for a while. The whole myth about too long of a layoff is a common excuse for the team that has pulled 2 straght Suck-Jobs in the NC game. Also, and this is key here, but why would we want to guarantee another loss for one of our top 2 teams in their last game? The Big Ten has put 2 teams into the BCS numerous times over the last 10 years, probably as often as any conference out there. Why would we change that? The payout from going to multiple BCS games will make up for the lost money from a Conference Championship game, so the money argument is gone.

Finally, the 3rd point actually makes sense, and it is the smartest thing that this guy said in the entire article. Investing in the youth of our country is never a bad thing, especially when it involves a great sport such as football that can teach kids life-long lessons. Cultivating the talent in the Midwest is one thing, but helping develop that talent from a young age is another thing. Clearly, the South and West Coast have figured this out. Granted, their climate lends itself to spring football (hard to play when it's snowing in March!), but the Midwest states can do more to create talent. I'm all for this part of the plan.

But when it comes down to it, the reason we all love the Big Ten is the vast amount of traditions and historic nature of the conference. Three yards and a cloud of dust. Football at its purest, slowly being assimilated by advanced idealogies. Football in the cold weather, football in the rain, football as it was meant to be played. This is what is great about the Big Ten. This is why I love it. And I firmly believe that the Big Ten will come back to dominate the college football landscape at some time, and hopefully sometime soon. As with everything in life, conference strength is cyclical, and the Big Ten happens to be in a down cycle. But the pieces to bring us back to the top are getting in place. A lot of the struggle can be attributed to coaching turnover. In the last 4 years, the following schools have gotten/will be getting new coaches: Illinois, Purdue, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Minnesota. That is 8 out of 11 teams in 4 years, and when there is that much turnover in a is bound to struggle. The good news is that a plethora of good recruiters/excellent coaches have entered the league, and within a few years, will be fielding excellent teams that are sound fundamentally and more athletic than we're used to seeing. And when it all comes to fruition, I'll watch with a sh_t-eating grin as the ESPN pundits say the SEC/Big12/Pac-10 need to rework their structure.

For now, I'll keep my Big Ten as it is. And if you don't like it, move to the South like all the other idiots.

No comments:

Post a Comment