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This past Saturday for the B1G was like a 12-hour Nickelback concert.
(Feel free to projectile vomit at the thought. It was that bad.)
It’s hard to really recall a more disasterous individual weekend for any conference, especially this early in the season, when most teams are fiddlesticking around with easy wins and maybe an occasional game to catch the eye.
The B1G scheduled hard … but walked into a party with two kegs, both filled with O’Douls.
The great Satan in scheduling difficult early-season games is that you open up the chance to be exposed, and in this hyper-sensitive conference bragging rights world, that is a risk.
You don’t necessarily need to be good at math to understand that there are four CFB Playoff spots and five power conferences. That means at minimum, one’s getting left out.
Truthfully, college football is cyclical, and the B1G is in a sordid cycle right now. There was a time when we didn’t take the SEC all that seriously, or the Pac-12, for that matter. Now, the cycle shows those conferences lapping the rest from top to bottom.
How has it happened? It’s hard to say, but yesterday might have been the nadir. The B1G started the early campaign with most of its western teams scuffling with lesser opponents. Nebraska needed hero ball from Ameer Abdullah at the witching hour after nearly losing a fumble that could have lost it the game to McNeese State.
Purdue got taken out back and licked by Central Michigan. Wisconsin looked hideously hungover in slogging out to an uninspiring 2-0 lead deep into the second quarter over Western Illinois.
When the money games started, the B1G went even more broke. I have no idea what’s going on with Northwestern, but the Wildcats look completely DOA. Iowa again needed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, this time to Ball State, after droves of Hawkeye fans had enough and left with about five minutes left, down 10.
Michigan State was the lone representative that showed the conference well, and even it lost, but after blowing a halftime lead to Oregon in one of the more difficult environments to enter. Michigan never got off the bus against Notre Dame, and to finish it out, Ohio State lost its first non-conference home game against an unranked opponent since Ronald Reagan was in office (1982).
I’m not sure why the national media gets such a kick out of the failures of the B1G, but on social media at least, it feels like there’s this giant sigh of relief when B1G teams lose. I could be wrong about that, but it’s the feeling one can get.
What ends up happening is that the narrative gets almost impossible to change, because from here on out because of this weekend, it’s been determined and signed in blood that the B1G teams beating other B1G teams are meaningless because of week two. This is how these things go, it seems.
Some will contend that the B1G can’t compete in this landscape, but why? It’s not as though the conference’s programs are all recruiting with Stanford’s academic restrictions. Moreover, it’s not as though “the talent” doesn’t want to go there. The league’s big-name teams continue to recruit well, and look no further than B1G basketball to prove that as long as there’s success there, elite athletes want to look at playing for B1G schools.
There will be a time when this turns around, whether you believe it or not. The B1G will rattle its way back and the Pac-12 and SEC will experience down time. The ACC was being kicked around not so long ago, and now it has the reigning college football champions and went unbeaten out of the conference yesterday.
On the upside, Sparty went into a place where maybe outside of Florida State … and even then, you’d pick the Noles with high trepidation … are you taking anyone else to spring a road win in that venue? They were a double-digit dog. Michigan was unranked, and while the performance was utterly pathetic, the Wolverines were an underdog, too, going into a ranked team’s stadium. Ohio State? A month ago its quarterback figured he’d be learning on the sidelines whilst a Heisman candidate senior named Braxton Miller showed him the ropes on the field.
Look, I’m working with what I can here. Not doing it for you?
Well, look at it this way … the start of basketball season is only two months away.