Is The Big Ten The Biggest Disappointment In College Football?

Many are questioning as to whether or not the Big Ten is the worst conference in America among the BCS conferences?

Perhaps the Big East is a tad worse since they are only an eight-team conference, but this is beyond sad for the Midwest die-hard fans that love nothing more than pigskin in the fall.

The only undefeated teams currently are the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Northwestern Wildcats. Northwestern of course only played Vanderbilt, Syracuse and Boston College.

Ohio State is obviously ineligible for the postseason or the Big Ten title, which brings up the question as to just how bad and how far the Big Ten has  fallen?

They truly have fallen flat on their faces with the likes of Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan and Michigan State looking like frauds thus far.

I will not even touch the Iowa Hawkeyes since they only had one offensive TD heading into their contest against Northern Iowa. The quarterbacks in the conference that were returning were more than respectable, but many of the Big Ten squads had several question marks at wide receiver and running back.

Wisconsin lost six coaches (now seven) heading into the season and the loss of Russell Wilson and Nick Toon are devastating, plus the offensive line drop in talent has been significant.

While they look like the favorites, Purdue honestly looks like the best (or co-best with Ohio State) team in the Big Ten these days.

They nearly upset a top-ten caliber Notre Dame squad on the road, and they get to host Wisconsin later in the season. While the Leaders Division looks the weakest (Indiana, Penn State struggling), the Legends looks stronger and more intriguing, if that is humanly possible.

Nebraska, Michigan, Michigan State and Iowa came into the year as the best. However, Northwestern is the only undefeated squad in the division whereas Minnesota’s best player in quarterback MarQueis Grey was carted off the field with a left leg injury (not serious, questionable next week).

The Spartans host Nebraska, but they do have to go to the Big House although so much can happen before the two meet on 10/20.

The offense numbers are proof in the pudding on just how putrid this typical powerhouse BCS conference is accustomed to seeing.

Iowa is 100th in scoring offense (17 PPG), Wisconsin is 113th (16.33 PPG) and Michigan State is 102nd (20.33 PPG). For those two of those three premier programs heading into the season most of us all thought they would rack up the points ala video game-like.

I personally had Iowa slated for a 9-4 type of season and they are barely looking like a 7-5 team these days.

The bottom line is that the Big Ten is not similar this season compared to the SEC, Big 12 or Pac-12 with their ability to reload stars on the offensive side of the ball (Ohio State, Nebraska, Michigan are just fine).

The issue with the Buckeyes, Wolverines and Cornhuskers ares their defenses have looked suspect at best. I had Ohio State becoming a top 10 defense, and they look like anything but that. They are just 36th, allowing 18 PPG and the Wolverines are 75th (26.33).

Meanwhile, Nebraska is somewhat hanging in there at No. 58 allowing 23 PPG.

The bottom line is they are failing miserably at fixing these parts together and it may be a season where people question in terms of the Big Ten even deserving one spot, let alone two in the BCS.

The Big Ten has however appeared in the most BCS bowls during the BCS era with 25 (SEC has 23), which counts all five of the prestigious bowls that have even been taken away due to sanctions or NCAA violations (Ohio State, Penn State).

While the future in recruiting looks bright with Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer, the rest of the league is still stuck behind the eight ball.

With so many players in the SEC, ACC, Pac-12 and Big 12 luring the top players around the country to come on board to their die-hard fan bases, life is not what we are accustomed to seeing and the struggles will not be going away over night.

Follow Dan Vasta on Twitter.

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  • Stix Symmonds

    Unfortunately Dan, I have to agree with you – at least for the most part. The potential was there for a tremendous season. Michigan State had some question marks, but nothing serious. Michigan could have been exceptionally powerful, but the defense hasn’t lived up to expectations.

    Let’s not even get started on Iowa.

    Nebraska would be excellent if their heralded defense would live up to the hype there as well. Wisconsin…I’m still having a hard time wrapping my mind around how disappointing their offensive line has been so far this year.

    Purdue is doing exceptionally well (don’t discount that win over Vanderbilt – who incidentally took South Carolina to the wire), but they can’t pick up the slack left by the “power teams” within the conference.

    The best example from the Big Ten right now is a team that’s banned from the post-season (Ohio State).

    It’s a tough year to be a Big Ten fan, but I’ll plod through. :)

    • Dan Vasta (Contributor)

      Agreed…….the offense has been a joke unfortunately and Nebraska/Michigan State in my eyes both had a chance to be in the top 10 and they look anything but that. The thing about college football among any sport is that there will be questions and adversity each team faces.

      Whether or not they live up to the expectations is one thing, but improving every week is something not many teams can accomplish. There were major questions about Sparty’s receivers and passing game replacing Kirk Cousins (Cunningham, Martin). Losing Russell Wilson and Nick Toon is devastating and so is nearly half a dozen early round NFL draft picks. The Badgers biggest issue is simply losing now seven coaches, there is zero rhythm or threats on the field these days.

      The five best teams on the planet right now (BAMA, LSU, FSU, UGA, ORE) all land the best players in America out of high school whereas they can reload with so much ease. The Big Ten looks solid int he future with Michigan and Ohio State, but the struggles should not come as a complete shock rather they were just lacking the elite talent on paper (and thus far on the field) this year.