B1G Ten Ballin’: The Gridiron Squad

Volume 8: No Standards

Are we not supposed to be the conference that represents toughness, grit, and the epitome of power football? Well, based upon the first BCS standings, the answer is a definite no. For the first time in a long time, the Big Ten has no teams in the BCS Top 25. Ohio State would be in there, but because they are ineligible for postseason play this year, they are not. No team in the Big Ten would be a BCS at-large team, because, well, other conferences are better. That’s just the plain facts of the situation.

I do not believe that Big Ten teams have less talent than teams in other conferences; it is just that the talent that is in the Big Ten does not perform to its potential. For example, take Nathan Scheelhaase. As a freshman, he led Illinois to a win in the Texas Bowl and was heralded the next big thing. Well, at 2-5, Illinois has looked lost and Scheelhaase has been hurt. Last year, the offense disappeared and Scheelhaase was splitting time with Reilly O’Toole. He still has talent, but lack of execution has made Illinois a bad football team.

Traditionally, Nebraska has had a stellar defense, with the likes of Ndamukong Suh making the Cornhuskers a tough team to score on. Not this year, as they gave up 63 points and 500 yards of offense to Ohio State last week. In week two, they gave up 650 yards of offense to UCLA. Something just isn’t right there, and it’s why Nebraska is no longer a favorite to win the Legends division.

Now take a step backwards for a moment, and take a look at a bigger issue. Yes, the Big Ten is having a down year, one of the worst in a long time. Yet look at the schools in this conference, and you will see that most of them play by the rules and take academics amongst their athletes very seriously. Remember, these are supposed to be student athletes, not professionals playing at the college level. That my friends, is where my beef begins.

College athletics is supposed to be played by real student athletes, meaning kids who live the academic lives just like any other functioning college student. We don’t have a problem with that at Northwestern, or any school in the Big Ten for that matter. The problem lies within the SEC, or as I like to call it, the Seldom Educated Conference.

Look at the BCS standings, and you will see that they are littered with SEC teams. Alabama, Florida, LSU, South Carolina, Georgia, the list goes on and on. These are great football teams, but the programs themselves have no academic standards for their athletes. Down south, football is a huge source of revenue, and because of that, schools will do anything to make their football teams superior. For football players, the opportunity to play football and not have to go to class is a super enticing opportunity, one they will not pass up. I know for a fact, based on info from a former Auburn professor, that football players do not go to class and the athletic department demands that these professors pass their players in classes they did not attend. This is not right, and yet we are admiring these teams as the most superior in the land. Haven’t you figured out by now that the SEC is not a part of college football, but is rather a conference of schools with professional football teams. The SEC is ruining college football, plain and simple.

College football in this sense has lost its way, so when you look at a weak Big Ten don’t criticize these teams too much. At least they are upholding the standards of college athletics. Call me crazy or a conspiracy theorist or whatever, but I know that SEC teams do not play by the rules. If it was ever proven that their students do not go to class, I would demand that certain SEC football programs receive the death penalty. Being a college athlete means you are a college student, plain and simple. Nothing will be done and the SEC will continue to rule the football universe. I mean hey, if I was offered a chance to play football and not have to go to class, I would take it too!

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