Posted by: Nathan | January 8, 2008

Big Ten Feels the Need…

On the heels of another disappointing second place finish in the BCS Title Game* for Ohio State (38-24), it’s time for the Big Ten to face the truth: Big Ten football is too slow. For much of the year, this isn’t obvious because the Big Ten teams play each other, and they’re all slow. It’s the out-of-conference games that make this so obvious. Remember Michigan losing to Appalachian State? (Oh man, that was a great day!) App State ran past them. And now we see it for the second consecutive year from the Buckeyes in the title game; they just can’t keep up.

Colin Cowherd argues that the reason the Big Ten is so slow is that all the best recruits want to play in warm weather states. This is true to a point, but I posit that the players desire to play in warmer climates because of the style of football played not the weather. The SEC, ACC, and PAC-10 play very different football than does our beloved midwestern conference. The Big Ten is up-the-gut, pound-it-out, play-action-when-necessary football. This isn’t wrong and doesn’t make for poor football, but it isn’t enough to be great anymore; worse, it won’t attract any recruits. If you’re a speedy receiver, are you going to Iowa, where you’ll catch maybe two balls a game, or will you choose Florida, where you may get ten catches some days and plenty of deep balls? It’s an easy choice.

The Big Ten needs to change its style of play. The teams need to start…yes, I’m going to say it…passing the football! And not just on third down! Spread it out and throw the ball. Don’t lose the running game—that’s always needed—but put some air under the pigskin. And blitz on defense! Try some risky stuff; make it fun. Only then will we see the best recruits heading to the midwest. Otherwise, Big Ten, stay the way you are and continue sinking slowly into mediocrity.

*I don’t even know if this was the title game. The two-loss champion beat the team that lost to Illinois? The BCS is worse every year.

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Responses

  1. Not sure I understand what you are getting at. Michigan is employing a spread offense, Ohio State had a spread offense with Troy Smith, Purdue runs an attack similar to Texas Tech’s, Minnesota has a spread now, Northwestern has ran the spread for a while now, Indiana has a spread offense, and of course there’s Illinois.

    The three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust days have been declining for quite some time. People usually enjoy ripping on the Big 10 because it’s been “hyped” somehow. ESPN has been kissing the SEC’s butt for the last few years (not that there’s anything wrong with that, they sure as hell deserve it).

  2. At least your team is somewhat decent on occasion. The Gophers are abysmal. Every year. Without fail. Perhaps the suggestion to the Gophers is “stop sucking.”

  3. Yeah, I think you’ve got me there, Eric. I haven’t been paying as close attention as you have. Perhaps the better weather is the attraction, though I still think one thinks of other conferences first when it comes to passing the ball.

    As for the Gophers, PK, how could anyone with such ugly team colors be successful? Maroon and yellow? No, thank you.

  4. I think the weather is more influential than many people realize. One is forced to structure a team differently when they will be playing outdoors in OH, MI, and IA in November. I don’t think it makes the Big Ten slower. I do think it could influence the types of speed Big Ten players have. Maybe faster straight but missing some on the cutting since that may be impossible to do anyways.

    I still contend, however, that OSU was in that game. Pat Forde, Stewart Mandel, and the other blowhards who have spouted off about a blowout watched a different game than the one that Fox showed here (badly at that. How many shots do we need of the bands?) I have many more thoughts on this thanks to having to defend the team I love and conference I support in the heart of SEC country. For a great article comparing the SEC and Big Ten
    google Michael Rosenberg’s article in the Detroit Free Press from last week. I found it on Buckeyextra.com under the football tab.

    Also, thanks for the REI gift card. I never have a problem finding something I want there. I hope you and J had a nice time in IA and MN. I hope we can all catch up this summer.


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