Last night’s Sugar Bowl left me torn between two extremes: Cheering for whoever plays against Ohio State (my usual position) and cheering for the Big Ten (very unpalatable when our representative is the Buckeyes). After watching the game into the third quarter, however, I decided the question was moot. There is no more mighty Big Ten to cheer for anymore, only a group of teams that tolerate cold weather and husky cheerleaders for the sure chance to head to a warm climate for a bowl game, where they invariably get mown down like a Dick Cheney quail.
What an absolutely crappy game Ohio State played. And what an absolutely predictable outcome. Any national ranking given to a Big Ten team now has the authentic ring of the valentines passed around school to every kid b/c no one should have their feelings hurt. Michigan starts out the season at #5, then loses to App State and Oregon? Illinois suffers a week of jet lag before laying down to USC? Ohio State violently chokes on two chances at the national championship? Pathetic.
The conference is the laughingstock of college football now. What was the conference’s bowl record? 3 and 6? Nine of eleven teams make it to bowl season? And finish with this record? We are the Gerry Cooneys of the college football world. How can any SEC or Pac-10 team even get excited about showing up for these things? No wonder the warm-weather conferences are pushing for a playoff system–they get tired of beating up the Big 10 and would prefer a challenge once in a while at the end of the season.
I don’t even know enough about football to make a decent argument or a useful insight here. I only know what I see during Christmas break, when I get the chance to watch a game or two. And I would suggest the conference disband and spend a few years in the wilderness, searching their souls like disgraced samurai, before they even think of showing up in the post-season again. It’s just too humiliating for alumni to watch.