This is my Second Annual Big Ten review strictly using stereotypes from an Ohio State fan’s point of view. Ohio State has more or less ruled the conference since Jim Tressel took over in 2002, winning nine of the 17 league titles in that span. Along the way, I have created some (mostly unfair) biases and stereotypes towards the other Big Ten institutions. Here are some of the baseless claims I have made over the years.
Not Even Part of the Big Ten:
Rutgers– It’s bad enough that they joined the league so recently. What makes it worse is that they stink at every sport and probably would go under .500 in the MAC.
Maryland- I’m pretty sure Maryland is actually decent, but their uniforms are the only thing I think of when I see their name on the schedule which doesn’t bode well for them.
Indiana- The only positive thing that comes to mind when I think about Indiana football is Tevin Coleman rushing for over 300 yards against Rutgers. Indiana still lost that game… to Rutgers.
Illinois- Illinois was average for a while, even upsetting the Buckeyes a time or two but the first thing to pop my head was that they had a QB named Juice who was very good but I never heard of him doing anything after college.
Purdue- For some reason, I always start to think that Purdue is decent but that’s because I always remember back to when they had Drew Brees…almost 20 years ago. The Boilermakers had a primetime game against the Buckeyes last season, but I don’t think anyone watched it and I don’t even remember what happened.
Northwestern- Much like Purdue, I think much higher of the Wildcats than they deserve. It might be because I played with them in NCAA football a lot when they had Tyrell Sutton. Also, the purple and black color scheme are pretty awesome.
Minnesota- Due to my respect for P.J. Fleck and his affinity for rowing boats, I have a feeling they will change my perception of the program this season but every memory I have is of them not being very good.
Iowa– Iowa is good for a huge upset win every so often and probably deserves more than an eh, but Kirk Ferentz and the boys are just so inconsistent from one season to the next. They look awesome one year, then are barely average the next.
Nebraska– The Cornhuskers have been average for a long time. When I was little, they were a national powerhouse but that was a long time ago. I do believe Scott Frost is going to make them relevant again though. I just refuse to put them with the contenders until they prove it a little.
Have Some Sort of Shot at a Conference Title:
Michigan- Michigan is actually pretty good for a baseball school. They are always just good enough to beat the Rutgers of the world but struggle with powerhouses like Ohio State and Appalachian State. All jokes aside, I truly believe that Harbaugh will keep them sort of relevant for years to come.
Michigan State- If I wasn’t an Ohio State fan, Michigan State would be my favorite Big Ten team in all sports (except gymnastics). They are so well-coached and somehow always surprise people. The Spartans and Buckeyes have had quite the battles over the past few seasons.
Penn State- I don’t really feel comfortable writing what first comes to mind when I think of Penn State football. Instead, I’ll just say that as a Browns fan I appreciate their simple uniforms and helmets.
Wisconsin- I’m a throwback kind of guy so I truly appreciate Wisconsin’s 1960’s style of play. It is effective for the most part. They also have perhaps the toughest road atmosphere in the Big Ten.
Teams that Will Win the Conference:
Ohio State- Buckeye fans have been spoiled over the last 100 or so years and I don’t see that streak ending anytime soon. Anyone concerned with the coaching change can be at ease. With Ryan Day at the helm last season, Ohio State dropped 77 on a power five conference team, beat a conference foe 52-3, beat TCU on the road, then dismantled Tulane. I think the boys in Scarlet and Gray are going to be alright.
East- Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Maryland, Indiana, Rutgers
West- Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois