It once looked so promising for the Big Ten. The addition of the conference’s own cable network, the Big Ten Network, was a true game-changer in terms of sports media coverage and it brought plenty of extra dollars to conference members. Ohio State was a perennial national title contender and Michigan was still a legitimate threat. The Big Ten was holding its own in bowl games and there was a time when all was good and peaceful in the great midwest.
The Big Ten isn’t in Kansas anymore. Well, of course they never were, although I still think it should be in Missouri instead of New Jersey or Maryland. The Big Ten is coming off a beating on the national stage in week two of the 2014 college football season, and it has apparently become open season on the conference. Many are writing off the conference’s chances of sending a team to the College Football Playoff, but that may be the flood of criticisms that are stockpiled in the offseason just for the right moment pouring down. The Big Ten did little to prevent this from happening.
Michigan was shutout at Notre Dame. Ohio State suffered a home loss to Virginia Tech, Urban Meyer’s first regular season home loss (Ohio State has now lost three of its last four games). Michigan State held its own against Oregon longer than some seemed to expect, but could not tie down a win in Eugene against the Ducks. This all coming a week after Wisconsin let one get away against LSU in Houston and on the same week a pair of MAC schools (Northern Illinois and Central Michigan) won on Big Ten fields (Northwestern, Purdue, respectively) and Nebraska needed a miracle to find a win at home against McNeese State. Yeah, it was a rough week.
Now comes the news that Penn State will now be eligible to play in a postseason game after the NCAA decided to lift the remaining two years on the university’s postseason ban. The NCAA is also restoring all scholarships next year. After a 2-0 start and with a Big Ten opener at Rutgers this Saturday night, are the Nittany Lions now a team the Big Ten can count on to help wave the Big Ten banner?
For a full breakdown of everything Big Ten this week I was joined by one of my most frequent guests and friend of the podcast, Andy Coppens. Coppens, now of Talking 10 (Twitter, Facebook) and Madtown Badgers (Twitter, Facebook) and I take a look around the week that was for the Big Ten, point out any bright spots we can find (it was difficult) and discuss how Penn State now moves into the Big Ten conversation from the spoiler role it was previously resigned to going into the 2014 season. You can listen to the full podcast below.