Football teams in the Big Ten Conference are similar to old movie rental places. They refuse to adapt and be progressive with the times (like live-streaming and the hurry-up offense). Only problem is, those stores are out of business, and the Big Ten is still around. Not sure which one I'd rather have stock in, but it sure as hell isn't a conference with the University of Iowa in it.
Maybe it's time to file bankruptcy (like Blockbuster did), and start over. Only thing is, the Big Ten can't do that. They added Rutgers and Maryland, the epitome of BOTTOM, to the conference last year; and that was only for television markets, better high-class hookers and cash.
Now the media has proclaimed the Big
Fourteen, I meant Eleven, I mean Ten as one of the sorriest of conference football leagues. It's been that way for a long time; they just didn't realize it until now.
While Jim Delaney and the Big Ten Network have been reaping in big television profits, they forgot to take care of the product on the field.
For the latter half of the 20th Century, the Big Ten reigned supreme amongst the big boys, and had the coaches' personalities to show for it.
But football society has shied away from longevity and the camaraderie of tradition, and turned into a What-Have-You-Done-For-Me-Lately culture.
While the SEC has been skull-fucking Big Ten opponents in January bowls, the Pac 12 and Big 12 have slowly moved up in the ranks.
It's not that I'm mad about it. I thoroughly enjoy seeing the Big Ten suffer.
So here are my Top Five Reasons as to why the Big Ten has fallen off the map faster than Family Video stores have gone out of Business.
Style of Offense
The Big Ten has always been known for smash mouth football. The days of the Power-I have turned into three- and four-wide receiver sets with a pass catching Tight End, as opposed to a blocking one. The time of the 4-3 defense has moved to a more hybrid attack with extra speed on the field, and using every inch of the field vertically, and horizontally.
Just think of all the tradition that your dad and grandfather talked about back in the day. Michigan was known for their superior offensive linemen, Penn State was Linebacker U, and Indiana, well, they had Lee Corso right? Haha not so fast my friend!
The 1970s, 80s and 90s were graced with some of the most legendary coaches in college football history. And they coached until they were older than dirt. Bo Schemblecher at Michigan, Woody Hayes at Ohio State (until punching an opposing player), Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin, Joe Paterno at Penn State, and oh yeah, that Hayden Fry guy at Iowa. Between those five coaches, they combined for 126 seasons on the sidelines!
Today with social media and outlandish expectations, the days of coaching consistency are gone. The average tenure for today's 14 Big Ten coaches is five years. Take out Ferentz's 15 seasons, and it drops to four. With change comes new systems, new styles and a three- to four-year rebuilding process. The only problem is, these fan bases compare every coach that comes in to their legendary predecessors. You can't build programs like you used to - there is more parity and recruiting is different, and it has caused the big donors and boosters on search committees to shoot themselves directly in the foot.
The Big Ten is like Major League Baseball. They sell themselves on tradition, history and as America's past time. Guess what, 17- and 18-year old recruits growing up in the age of Twitter and iPhones don't care about what happened in the Rose Bowl of 1985. They like flash, they like high scoring offenses, and they love SportsCenter highlights!
Baseball has lost the majority of its consumers due to the fact that, well, they are getting old. In order to appease a fan and recruiting base, you have to market a product for the next generation. The Big Ten sells themselves on history, and not the present product on the field. Quite frankly, you can blame the marketing department for that one.
P.S. Remember the God awful idea of Leaders and Legends divisions?
Yes, I said girth. Currently there are the Have's and Have Not's in the Big Ten. You have the studs that carry the load, (no pun intended), in Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan State. Nebraska is slowly getting there, and Michigan, well, they've fallen flat on their face and can't get up.
The rest of the conference smells worse than dog shit. Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern, Purdue, Rutgers, and Maryland are all horrible. Minnesota is very comparable to an ISU program, Iowa is decent, and Penn State is improving under a first-year coach. I haven't seen a conference this lopsided since Kansas won the Big 12 in basketball for the umpteenth time last year.
The Big Ten has long been known for offensive linemen, hard-nosed running backs, and defense. The best coaches have adapted to the times, and have moved into a new age of SPEED! In order to win in college football you have to be able to put up numbers offensively, and skill players are few and far between in the Big Ten. That is, unless your name is Urban Meyer. He will run the train on Big Ten opponents as long as his heart beats at a normal rate.
From 1991 to 2000, the Big Ten produced 21 Top-10 picks in the NFL draft; more than any other conference. Since then - they have had eleven in 14 years, and NONE in the last FIVE draft classes! Now it seems, the QBs have come out of the Pac-12, defensive players from the SEC, and skill players from the Big 12.
In my opinion, the most important reason for the demise of the Big Ten is their region and demographics. America was founded upon hard-working individuals who grew up laboring in the steel mills, packing plants and heavy industry in the Upper Midwest. That has all changed. Silicon Valley and the new technology age have imported Midwest transplants to the West Coast and South beaches.
The Midwest was once a Mecca for recruiting. As those families watched their kin leave for corporate jobs in urban areas, so went their genetic prowess. Midwest towns bred some of the best football players, which generated better high school competition and a multitude of college football talent. The rural community has dwindled with the times, population is decreasing, and Big Ten recruiting classes directly affected by it.
The best recruits come from Texas, California and Florida. They foster speed, athleticism, and put up points on the scoreboard. An 18-year old kid doesn't want to play in frigid Bloomington, Indiana. They would much rather play in a warm environment, where they don't have to worry about buying a winter coat.
Recruits and athletes care about the pimped-out locker rooms, the warm sunshine and high scoring offenses. And oh yeah, a program who has at least changed their jersey style in the last 50 years.
So Commissioner Jim Delaney - if I were your instructor I would mark down your grade on the football field as a big, fat F.
You should make some changes, just don't make the mistake of hiring Dan Beebe as a consultant.