Why I Don’t Care About the Big Ten

Every year, I ask myself, “Am I a fan of the Big Ten Conference or simply just a fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes? It’s a question that I annually reflect on prior to the opening kickoff of the college football season – albeit for maybe 17 seconds. And every year I remind myself that all I really care about is Ohio State, and it’s such a refreshing revelation, over and over again.

Maybe it’s a byproduct of #FirstWorldProblems – otherwise known as #BuckeyeNationProblems – but in the last decade or so, Ohio State fans have been able to enjoy the luxury of not caring about the well-being of our conference counterparts. How important is conference prestige when our own team has proven that it has the talent, coaching, training and depth to be the best team in the country? Dating back to the 2001 season (and including the vacated 2010 season), the Buckeyes have amassed a 151-32 record – including a 12-2 mark against Michigan, won two national championships in four title game appearances, won seven Big Ten championships, and tallied the most BCS bowl appearances (tying USC for the most wins) of any school during the BCS era. And the Scarlet and Gray did it all on their own, without any other Big Ten football teams reaching their arms out and offering to help OSU achieve that success.

All that conference “rah-rah” stuff is for fans of schools who can’t achieve elite levels of success for themselves; those fans who need to ride the coattails of other programs in order to feel like their own team is relevant on the national stage. Take Michigan fans, for example. Show me a die-hard Michigan fan that truly, genuinely rooted for Ohio State to beat Alabama and Oregon to win the 2014 national championship, and I will show you a liar – or a fool. A Michigan fan might say, “The championship is good for the Big Ten.” But is it really? No, the championship is good for Ohio State, period. Five-star prospects didn’t suddenly gain more interest in middle-tier Big Ten teams because Urban Meyer and company got to hoist the shiny new trophy. Other teams aren’t receiving an abundance of national TV and radio exposure because the Buckeyes brought the title home to Columbus.

Ohio State has reached a point where neither the program nor its fans need to have any concern about the well-being of the other 13 schools in the conference. That shouldn’t be interpreted negatively – it’s a sign that we’ve reached an elite spot in college football and can take care of our own business without any help.  Sure, it’d be nice, from a recruiting perspective, to point out to prospects the highly touted competition they’d get to test themselves against every week. A more competitive Big Ten – and the improved strength of schedule that would come from it – would also provide a larger margin for error in the event of a late-season Ohio State loss. Think about LSU in 2007 – the Tigers lost twice during the regular season, but because it was evident that they were the most talented team in the country – from the most stacked conference – it was as if the BCS committee and NCAA made excuses so that LSU could still play for the title.

The bottom line is this: the Buckeyes are in the midst of an era where they have the talent, coaching, training and depth to beat every single team in America. We don’t need help from other Big Ten schools in order for us to look good or make our case for a playoff berth. Regardless of how the rest of the conference performs in non-conference play, Ohio State has its own standards to play up to – standards that the Buckeyes, themselves, have created through years of pursuing excellence. It’s simple – if Ohio State handles its own business and wins games, good things will continue to happen. That’s why I don’t care about the Big Ten.

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  1. […] thing! I know, at first glance, my argument may seem contradictory of my previous article about my general indifference towards the rest of the conference, but I really just want this to serve as comfort for all of my fellow OSU fans who like to share […]

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