Sun, 08/29/2010 - 19:08
All summer long I've managed to not talk about the Big Ten and Nebraska. Now that football season is looming and I'm doing some research, memories are flooding. Memories from when Penn State joined the Big Ten and the entire conference was against it. "It's too far away", "they're going to take over football", "they're basketball program isn't up to par", and "I just don't like them", were common things to hear during that time from the other schools. Fast forward twenty years and here comes Nebraska. Except this time the conference is holding hands and asking each other over for tea. You know who is not happy about this? Me. Why? After some MapQuesting to solidify my thoughts, I see that Lincoln, Nebraska is approximately 1075 miles from University Park, Pennsylvania. More than 100 miles from any other Big Ten school (Minnesota is 970). How is the joust team going to afford to travel all that way? Or the chess team for that fact? You could take a bus, but the calculations show it's over an 18 hour bus ride. That's a lot of school missed.
Penn State itself, has supported the decision, and I believe the fans have as well. The common complaint is the distance, but where are the naysayers now? Why are the Nittany Lions the only ones who had to take the ridicule? Since joining the conference, Penn State teams (all sports) have won 38 National Championships (most in the conference) and 51 BigTen Championships. Considering that all the other schools have at least a 40 year jump on us, I would have to say we've fared fairly well for ourselves. So why are we still the 11th wheel? I have a prime example of this. My 'friend' goes to the University of Illinois. He had some friends in town and we were all out to dinner. Someone makes the comment, oh we're all from the Big Ten here. From there it turned into a guessing game as to where I went to school. I am not kidding you that all 10 schools were named, and then everyone was stumped. Until the other girl of the group says, 'Oh! Oh! The school with the old guy for their football coach!!" That's what we're known as to other Big Ten'rs? Really? The school with the old guy? I assume by old guy she meant Joe Paterno, the winningest coach of all time? The group I was with, I promise you, was not a group of idiots as one might believe. I believe we were out watching either hockey or basketball and everyone was quite knowledgeable. But to them, Penn State just doesn't count. What was it they called us? Coasties? Easterners? Something like that.
So here comes Nebraska, the perfect marriage for 10 of the schools and there sits Penn State, the 12th wheel, 1100 miles away. You know what? I don't care. They keep ignoring the Nittany Lions, and the Nittany Lions keep winning. Is that why PSU gets ignored by the conference? In hopes that they'll go away?
While I'm on this little Big Ten rant, if I have to endure one more season of the "experts" saying the Big Ten stinks, I'm going to kick, scream, and fight. If the conference is so horrible the STOP RANKING US! Five Big Ten schools are ranked in every single poll. If we're so bad, then why do it. Don't even get me started on this whole Big Ten vs SEC drama. Ohio State is one of the most overrated (in my opinion) programs in college football history and because of them it's a misconception that the SEC is dominant. So here's some statistics for you*. Over the last 4 years this conference rivalary is dead locked at 4-4. Over the past 10 years, the Big Ten leads 11-10. Throughout history, the Big Ten leads 92-91-6. Last but not least, Penn State is 18-18 against the conference while the Ohio State Buckeyes stand proud at 3-11 against the SEC. So I would have to guess that overall there is no dominance.
Time to calm down and thank God that the season is starting this week. I will warn you though if Penn State happens to pull off this game against Alabama in 12 days, I PROMISE you, you will here from me again. Fight on State.
*All stats were compiled at the amazing site http://football.stassen.com/records/confres.html