It has been quite an interesting last two weekends for the Big Ten conference. And by interesting I mean losing big out of conference games and lowering its standing in the so-called “Power 5” conferences.
Let us count the ways…
Last weekend the B1G’s three brand-name schools Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State all lost BIG (no pun intended). The Spartans ran out of gas and therefore got run out of town in the second half in Oregon. Michigan was shut out in what may be the last regular season meeting vs. Notre Dame. And in what was the biggest shocker of all, Ohio State lost by two touchdowns to Virginia Tech – at home.
The B1G went 3-5 in seven non-conference games, the only three wins being Ohio State’s demolition of Kent State, Michigan getting by Miami (Ohio), and Nebraska’s curb-stomping Fresno State. Minnesota and Illinois were blown out. Purdue fought hard but was ultimately over-matched. A shootout slipped away from Maryland. It’s probably best not to mention what happened to Iowa at all.
And after Saturday the Big Ten finds itself with a 1-10 record against Power 5 opponents. Hell, the B1G also lost three games against Mid American Conference schools this season (Indiana losing to Bowling Green, Central Michigan curb-stomping Purdue, Northwestern losing to No. Illinois).
The B1G has nobody else it can blame for the lack of respect nationally when it keeps coming up short in its biggest opportunities to earn it around the nation. There may still be a College Football Playoff contender or two at the top of the league, but if there’s a logjam for the third and fourth spots in December, the B1G’s best may look back at September games it wasn’t even involved in as the reason it gets left out of the playoff field.
Hell you know it’s bad if fans of the conference of my youth, the Atlantic Coast Conference, are clowning another conference’s perceived weak “little brother” standing among the other “Power 5” conferences.
Now the B1G could correct this problem next weekend by simply doing the following: win all of its non-conference games. Nebraska needs to beat Miami at home, Maryland needs to win at Syracuse, Iowa needs to win at Pitt, Indiana needs to a Missouri, and Michigan needs to beat Utah at home. It’s daunting, but doable.
Otherwise the Mid American Cnference will be looking to pile on the B1G misery. #MACtion indeed…