PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



From Afterthought To Rising Power: The Case For The B1G

Ask any college football fan his or her opinion on the nation’s predominate powerhouse football conference, and the general consensus will sound the same: The SEC reigns supreme. Ask about his or her thoughts on the Big Ten, and you’re likely to get answers such as “afterthought” or “weak”.

Of course, there is plausible reasoning behind these beliefs. Crippling sanctions levied by the NCAA rendered Penn State bowl-ineligible for three seasons, while the infamous tattoo scandal kept Ohio State from competing for a National Championship in 2012. Add the recent struggles of Michigan’s football program, and you’re left with a once mighty conference now seemingly in decline, while the all-powerful SEC dominates every aspect of the college football landscape.

But after a remarkable postseason run, times are changing. Don’t count out the Big Ten just yet.

First, let’s examine how the conference fared in postseason play. Faced with daunting match-ups against teams like Auburn, Alabama, and Baylor, it was easy to write off the Big Ten. Most believed that the conference’s weaknesses would be exposed against top-level competition, and that Ohio State’s selection to the College Football Playoff over TCU would be seen as a mistake. What ensued was nothing short of remarkable.

Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon silenced critics by running rampant over Auburn’s stout defense in Wisconsin’s overtime victory in the Outback Bowl, proving that his record-setting season was no fluke. Michigan State erased a 20-point deficit to defeat Baylor in the Cotton Bowl, thanks to an incredible second half defensive showing, paired with some late game heroics from Connor Cook. Ohio State took down Alabama with the team’s third string quarterback at the helm, and now own the National Championship.

And it was Penn State’s victory over Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl that may have carried the most significance, however, as it signified the resurgence of one of the conference’s traditional powers, and the first postseason victory since the sanctions. The Nittany Lions made a statement to the nation with its dramatic overtime victory, signaling that a new era of Penn State football has emerged and that it may not be long until the Lions are back on top.

Next, look at the names of the coaches representing the Big Ten. Household names like Meyer, Dantonio, and Franklin have helped bolster the conference’s reputation, but it’s the most recent addition that could set it apart. New Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh gives the Big Ten one of the most recognizable names in all of football, while adding an exciting new dynamic to the conference’s outlook. Harbaugh’s arrival makes recruiting much more interesting, and gives the Big Ten another big time personality, a characteristic found in every power conference — think Nick Saban and Les Miles. The dynamic that Harbaugh brings is special and is the shot in the arm that the Big Ten needed. Top players want to play for high profile coaches, and the Big Ten’s reputable array will surely attract the country’s top talent in coming years.

College football is experiencing a changing of the guard, and the Big Ten is right at the forefront. It’s only a matter of time before the B1G returns to prominence.

About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected]


More by David

So Long, And Goodnight: David Abruzzese’s Senior Column

It’s been a hell of a ride, folks. Senior staffer David Abruzzese rides off into the sunset with his senior column.

Saquon Barkley Mum On NFL Future; Relishes Fiesta Bowl Opportunity

DOTD: Nittany Lion Catches Pass At Fiesta Bowl


Penn State Women’s Soccer Beats Duquesne 6-0

Emily Ogle, Frankie Tagliaferri, Kerry Abello, Rachel Wasserman, and Kim Dubs scored for the Nittany Lions in Sunday’s lopsided victory.

Shea Moyer Lifts Penn State Women’s Soccer Past West Virginia 1-0

Penn State Women’s Soccer Poised For Strong 2018 Season

Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Student Life

Lisa Salters To Serve As 2018 Homecoming Grand Marshal

The Grand Marshal will be present at many of Homecoming’s events throughout the week and will be featured in the parade Friday night.

Student Body President Cody Heaton Welcomes Class of 2022 At Convocation

Start The Semester Off Right With These Welcome Week Activities

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

Penn State Officially Welcomes Class Of 2022 At Convocation

The Class of 2022 joined the Penn State family Saturday evening at Convocation.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Assessing Penn State’s Front Seven Following Tuesday’s Medical Retirements

Penn State’s defensive line rotation will be shaken up following Ryan Buchholz’s medical retirement from football, while the coaching staff is letting the linebackers duel it out during camp.

Send this to a friend