Few Glory Days For The Big 10

Bobby Curran
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Friday - January 12, 2011
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Don’t blame Big 10 fans for referring to New Year’s Day 2011 as Black Saturday. The conference lost all five bowl games it played, three of them to SEC teams, and two of these weren’t even competitive. Especially embarrassing was Michigan State’s 49-7 whipping by Alabama and Mississippi State’s 52-14 shellacking of Michigan.

ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, a former Ohio State QB, described it as ‘the darkest day in Big 10 football history.” Only recently, Ohio State president Gordon Gee dismissed smaller schools from lesser conferences as “the little sisters of the poor,” and conference commissioner Jim Delaney is a huge opponent of a college football playoff. What was evident is that the Big 10 schools appeared to lack speed in relation to their SEC counterparts. Even the Ohio State’s 31-26 Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas required an uncommon number of mistakes by the Razorbacks, and the Buckeyes may have addressed the speed issue better than their Big 10 colleagues. But that was OSU head coach Jim Tressel’s first win over an SEC team in 10 tries!

The Big 10 features great tradition and wonderful pageantry, but it is starting to appear to be a triumph of style over substance. Yes, the Big 10 makes the most money, but they don’t play the best football.

* There was a time when Michigan was considered one of the great jobs in college football, but it doesn’t seem like the big names are lining up to take over. By the time you read this, Michigan may have made its hire, and it may end up being a name that is relatively unfamiliar. Former Michigan QB Jim Harbaugh of Stanford, thought to be the favorite, sidestepped his alma mater and last Friday signed on with the 49ers.

So the Michigan search continues.

* The news that the Tennessee Titans will part company with QB Vince Young may give pause to other NFL teams considering making Auburn’s Cam Newton their building block for the future. It just does-n’t seem that an NFL QB can make a long-term living running the football. This also means the Titans internal battle between head coach Jeff Fisher and Vince Young has been settled in favor of the coach. Young was forced on Fisher and then offensive coordinator Norm Chow by owner Bud Adams, and it’s a decision that has set the Titans back by five years.

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