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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, January 30, 2023
Grey Satterfield

Column: Big Ten is no longer a national football power

Your conference is bad, and you should feel bad.

It’s time to read the writing on the wall, people. The Big Ten conference is the laughingstock of college football.

It is bad. It is really bad.

Last week the Big Ten had five teams lose against teams from other conferences. That compared to zero in the ACC and SEC and one each in the Big 12 and Pac-12.

Guess what conference also had five non-conference losses Saturday. The Mountain West.

At halftime of the early games Saturday, Wisconsin was up by six to an FCS school, Illinois was down three to Western Kentucky, Nebraska had a touchdown lead on McNeese State and Penn State was up one score on Akron. Meanwhile, Purdue was getting tromp-stomped at home by Central Michigan.

The carnage wasn’t over. That afternoon Northern Illinois walked into Evanston to put a hurtin’ on Northwestern. Oregon took a dump on Michigan State’s 17-point lead. Virginia Tech bullied J.T. Barrett and took his lunch money on the way to a 35-21 win in Columbus, and oh right, Michigan didn’t score a point against Notre Dame. In fact, I think Everett Golson just threw another TD.

As fun as it is to burn the town down on Over Reaction Wednesday, these results are part of a larger trend.

In 2013, the Big Ten went 2-5 in bowl games. Add that to 16-28 since 2005.

Remember Jan. 1, 2011? The Big Ten went 0-5.

Since 2001, the Big Ten has won the Rose Bowl twice; Ohio State in 2010 and Michigan State last year.

Now in 2014, all of this matters a lot more than it used to. The way the College Football Playoff is designed, there are four spots for five conferences. The Big Ten did itself no favors last week.

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Hypothetically, let’s say Wisconsin held on to win against LSU. How is that team going to get any recognition from the selection committee if its marquee conference win is against Nebraska at home, the same team that needed a late touchdown to not become 2007 Michigan against Appalachian State all over again?

The Big Ten is not headed in the direction of the ACC, SEC or Pac-12. It’s headed in the direction of the Mountain West, Mid-American Conference and Conference USA.

Maybe it’s time the Big Ten looked itself in the mirror and added some strong MAC teams instead of bottom feeders from other power conferences.

To be fair, Rutgers and Maryland have held their own through two weeks, but the Terrapins will get a test Saturday from a West Virginia team that gave Alabama a stiff challenge.

The addition of Bowling Green and Northern Illinois would make sense geographically. NIU already beat a Big Ten team this year.

The state of football in the Big Ten is bleak and it isn’t going to get much better. This week’s games include West Virginia at Maryland, Minnesota at TCU, Illinois at Washington, and Purdue travels to Notre Dame which is sure to be a blood bath.

Things look bleak now, but hey, at least the Battle 4 Atlantis is in November.

Will the Big Ten ever regain its premier status? Email gsatterfield@wisc.edu to discuss.

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