How can one of the oldest conferences in existence need to provide reasons why they should be taken seriously? In college football, the Big Ten needs to do just that. This is the beginning of a look into how this once great and dominant conference plunged into the college football equivalent of Purgatory.
For starters, I feel the need to express that this isn’t going to be a series of articles detailing this conference’s plunge by talking at length about the negatives of conference expansion or Jim Delaney‘s time as commissioner of the conference. Both of those things have helped keep the conference from climbing out of purgatory, but they are not the most essential parts of this particular story.
This is about the conference’s fall mostly in terms of competition. They have simply become less than competitive against other major conferences. The Big Ten was once on a path that produced prosperity and recognition of excellence when it came to football. But somewhere along the way, the conference got in the wrong lane, and now are on a seemingly endless path that has reduced them to their current state as a pitiful giant in the college football world.
The lesson to be learned throughout this story is that if it can happen to this conference, it can happen to any conference. Currently, the Big East is showing that with their fall from grace in both college football and college basketball in recent years. The Big Ten’s fall from grace is more noteworthy because of how far back their lineage and history goes. It is the story of a once shining star that is slowly burning out, as this multi-part column will describe in detail.