Big Ten football is having a down year. Clearly. And its disappointing start has been a hot topic here in this region. Nationally, too, for that matter.
Just in case you missed some of the dialogue this week, we’ve accumulated a sampling of perspectives below.
Don’t forget to check out Lee Barfknecht’s take on the league — he wanted to offer a “cigarette and a blindfold,” but reluctantly passed along his latest team-by-team ratings instead.
What others are saying about Nebraska’s conference…
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said this to ESPN.com:
“The narrative is we’ve underperformed, and I can’t argue with that. We haven’t won big games. The narrative is about right. When you have big brands, expectations are high. I can’t discount the facts, and I can’t discount the critics.”
Former Purdue coach Joe Tiller, in that same ESPN.com article, compared the past and present, in terms of recruiting:
“Penn State, I don’t think, ever had to leave the state, and if they did, they went into (New) Jersey. I can remember when Bo (Schembechler) and Woody (Hayes) were slugging it out, and Bo would come down to Ohio and get half a dozen really good players, and they’d go up to Michigan and be stars right away. I just don’t know if that’s true anymore. … For a guy from the Midwest, it’s painful. It’s painfully obvious that they’re not up to speed. … It’s going to be a problem for a while. I don’t think this is something you turn around quickly. Perception is reality, really.”
Former Ohio State coach John Cooper spoke to The Columbus Dispatch and had this to say:
“I don’t see (the likes of) Charles Woodson, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and those guys in the Big Ten. The league doesn’t have as many good players. … You go back 10 years ago, and Alabama was awful. Florida State has gone through a down cycle and is now getting better. Most schools do that. They don’t stay on top all of the time. When I coached on the West Coast, we didn’t have to worry about Oregon. Don’t feel sorry for the Big Ten. They’ll be back.”
Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell, according to The Minneapolis Star Tribune, said this:
“There are good players in the Midwest, but there’s more good players in the Southeast. That’s just the facts. That will always be the case. Unless you go down there and get some of those guys to come up north on a more consistent basis, you’re going to struggle competing with the SEC.”
ESPN Radio host Colin Cowherd, about six minutes into his third hour Friday morning, brought up the conference to his listeners:
“Not going to bash the Big Ten, but it is as bad as I’ve ever seen it. No, OK. I’ll bash it. It’s horrible. It’s horrible. It’s just terrible … The Big Ten is not only bad, it is unwatchable.”
CBSSports.com columnist Dennis Dodd wrote about the Big Ten earlier this week:
“The Big Ten hasn’t won a national championship since 2002 or played for one since 2008. There are rational human beings asking a suddenly rational question: What conference is better, the Big Ten or the ACC? The league dropped out of any real championship consideration after Michigan State’s Week 3 loss to Notre Dame. That history, tradition and style may be changing before our eyes.”
The Sporting News’ Steve Greenberg tackled the topic as well (check out the article for some well-researched stats):
“… in 2012, things are especially bad. Historically bad, even. If you’ve watched two-time defending Big Ten champ Wisconsin play any of its four games, you might’ve suspected that already. If you took in Michigan’s debacles vs. Alabama and Notre Dame, you knew things weren’t peachy.”