The fall of the Big 10 is now complete. The once power conference, who had a run throughout much of college football history where you argue their supremacy over other conferences, has reached rock bottom. Once a threat to compete for the #1 final ranking year in and year out, the Big 10 is now no more than an afterthought.
The conference started winning national titles in the early 1900's and continued to churn out champs every few years until this recent stretch. The last title was the 2002 Ohio State team, and before them Michigan and Penn State claimed trophies in the 90's. We started to see the decline when mid-2000's Buckeye teams were manhandled by the likes of Florida and LSU in BCS Title games. The downward slide in quality of teams became more apparent the last couple of years with only 2 Rose Bowl wins since 2000. Michigan has been in decline for some time now, and the addition of former power Nebraska has done about as much to boost the conferences depth as Miami has in the ACC.
But after yesterday, we can comfortably say the league is nationally insignificant. Sure, Penn State-Ohio State and Nebraska-Wisconsin will have some meaning in the mid-west, but not much interest anywhere else. For those that missed it, a quick run-down of the Big 10's results from yesterday by category of disaster.
Group 1 - The "Top Tier" teams
1) Michigan State played well in Eugene and looked ready to make a statement, but Oregon outscored MSU 28-3 in the 2nd half and routed the Spartans.
2) Michigan failed to compete against Notre Dame, failing to score (after putting up 41 last year) and being humiliated by the Irish 31-0.
3) Pre-Season favorite Ohio State followed up their sluggish performance against Navy by getting rolled by Virginia Tech at home, 35-21.
4) Northwestern, a team thought to be on the rise, fell to 0-2 after losing at home to Northern Illinois.
5) Wisconsin rolled over FCS Western Illinois, but their collapse against LSU in Week 1 was magnified by the above results in week 2. The league really needed that win to point to after yesterdays results.
Group 2 - The "They've been good, maybe they are better this year" teams (spoiler alert: They aren't)
1) Nebraska needed a 58 yard TD with 20 seconds left to hold off FCS McNeese State.
2) Iowa scored with a minute to play to take their 1st lead of the game and beat Ball State 17-13
3) More MAC problems for Purdue, who were blitzed by Central Michigan 38-17
4) Maryland turned the ball over 6 times against USF (who beat FCS Western Carolina 36-31 in week 1) but came back to win 24-17.
Group 3 - The "there's no way they are that bad" teams
1) Rutgers followed up a decent win over Wazzu last week with an ugly 38-25 win over FCS Howard, who were beaten by Akron 41-0 in week 1.
2) Minnesota looks OK from the outside at 2-0, but an 11 point win over MTSU when your QB completes 6 passes (1 to the Blue Raiders) for 67 yards is certainly alarming.
Group 4 - The "Please God let them keep winning so we can have a team in the top 25" tea
1) Penn State is 2-0 with a quality win over UCF.
There's your good news, Big 10 fans...you are counting on Penn State.
There was a time when the Big 10 was a league of big, tough, fast studs that could go head to head with anybody, anywhere. But that time has come and gone.