Mediocrity May Cost Big Ten Millions

By Will Wilson

It’s no secret that the strength of the Big Ten has taken a serious hit this season. The lack of production from teams with high expectations can be seen all over the conference and it doesn’t help that two major programs aren’t eligible for the postseason.

The season is coming close to an end, which leads us to bowl discussions and which team will be selected for the respective bowl venues. We all know we cannot discuss bowls without discussing one thing: MONEY. That’s something the Big Ten may not want to talk about at all.

The Big Ten has sent two teams to large payout BCS bowls every season since 2005 and 11 times in the 14 years of the system’s existence. That might be a little bit of a problem this year with the strength of the conference.

In 2011, the Big Ten earned $47 million from playing in 10 bowls. It adds out to around $2 million for each school. More than half of that revenue ($28.4 million) amounted from the BCS appearances (Wisconsin and Michigan). The Badgers earned $22.3 from the Rose Bowl and Michigan collected $6.1 million from the Sugar Bowl.

You don’t have to be a math wizard to figure out that with only one BCS team, the payout will be much smaller.

The Big Ten earned a total of $17.7 million from the non-BCS bowls in 2011, which won’t hurt terribly to not have two teams make it to cupcake bowls.

Only six teams from the league may be eligible to go bowling. Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern for sure, while Michigan State and Minnesota need one win to become eligible. Purdue, Indiana, Iowa and god awful Illinois don’t stand much of a chance.

Not only has the Big Ten’s reputation taken a huge hit, its pocket may be lighter too.

Will Wilson is a writer for Rant Sports covering College Football and the Big Ten Conference.

Follow Will on Twitter: @GoPackGo1

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