Thanks a lot Buckeyes.
You are the Big Ten’s poster boy for football success with 32 conference titles and eight titles from 1972-1981 and five straight from 2005-2009.
But you did you more than just smear your school after accepting an array of gifts which, was eventually covered up by your coach.
You muddied the Big Ten.
Whether people like it or not, Ohio State is the flagship football school in the conference. And it’s all because of money. For the 2009-10 school year, the Buckeyes spent over $45,000 per player, which is over $5.2 million when all 115 players are added in.
This year it’s a different story. After coach Jim Tressel was forced out, and is subsequently biding his time as a replay consultant for the Colts until he gets to wear the coaching whistle again. Also gone is dynamic quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who the Buckeyes sorely miss this year.
Ohio State was picked by many this summer to not only compete for a Big Ten title but also be in the mix for a national title. A year after going 9-1 against BCS teams from automatic qualifying conferences, the Buckeyes are 2-3 this year and are on life support to even make it to a bowl. It would mark the first time Ohio State has missed a bowl game since 1999.
And all that dreadfulness has severely hurt the Big Ten’s ‘Q’ rating. The respect is gone as is the conference’s strength of schedule.
There aren’t any undefeated teams left in the conference but since the Buckeyes look more like the Bobcats, their Mid-American Conference in-state neighbor to the south, there’s no way any other Big Ten teams will sniff a BCS bowl this year.
It’s expected that Minnesota and Indiana are going to be pathetic each year. But the Big Ten needs Ohio State to be strong. The Buckeyes go out and schedule a great nonconference slate and if another team beats a good Ohio State team, then that team should get national title whispers.
Beat the Buckeyes now and the only whispers you’ll hear is people asking why you didn’t win by more?
This isn’t easy to digest but Ohio State is Big Ten’s Notre Dame. The school is easily the most polarizing school in the conference. It has a strong brand of NFL players, with an astounding 105 picks since 1994.
The Buckeyes don’t have to get better to appease a hungry fan base with a demanding athletic director.
But the rest of the Big Ten needs these guys too. As much as it might pain other teams to hate to see Ohio State be successful, the better Ohio State is, the better the Big Ten is which in turn will lead to bigger and better bowls.