The longstanding rivalry between the Michigan Wolverines and the Ohio State Buckeyes is a fact of life in college football. It’s a storyline that the Big Ten and various media outlets make a lot of money off of every football season.
If most Michigan fans, and to some degree fans of any other Big Ten school, were told that losing to Ohio State this season might actually be better for their school in the long run, most of them would scoff. However, it’s absolutely the truth.
The Buckeyes are the Big Ten’s best chance to get a BCS championship this season. The only way that Ohio State is getting into that title game is to run the table. If Ohio State falters, any chance of a crystal football being brought to a Big Ten institution in January evaporates.
How would the other 11 teams in the Big Ten benefit from a Ohio State BCS championship? They wouldn’t … this season. They’d just go down in the record books as another team that the Buckeyes beat along the way. The benefits are in the future. To get an idea of what those could be for the Big Ten, all you have to do is look at the past for the SEC.
Before the 2006 season, when the SEC’s run of championships began, the SEC had four teams ranked in the preseason AP Top 25. Since Florida won the title that year, the SEC has had no less than five ranked in the preseason poll each season, with eight being the apex in 2011. Also, the SEC has not had a losing bowl season in that span either. It’s been quite a while since the Big Ten has had a winning bowl season.
There are more benefits yet. In every season since 2006, the SEC has had at least three of the top 10 recruiting classes as ranked by Scouts, Inc. In every season since 2006, the SEC has had at least one player in the top three of the Heisman Trophy voting.
Certainly, there are many other variables that led to this run of success for the SEC that teams in the Big Ten may not be able to duplicate. Having a team in your conference win a BCS championship can’t hurt though. Instead of fighting the elevation that Urban Meyer brought to Big Ten football when he became Ohio State’s head man, the conference should embrace it.
What’s good for Ohio State can be good for the Big Ten as a whole.