Why now for the Big Ten?
The time is now. The need for an around-the-clock, unbiased, all-inclusive, all-Big Ten football website is more dire now than ever. SaturdayTradition.com will cover all of the stories, tweets, videos, polls and everything in between surrounding a conference on the rise.
Why is the time right?
The Big Ten has never been bigger or better than right now. In the 120-year history of the conference, no offseason has generated the hype quite like this year’s. Arguably the two biggest summer storylines came from the conference’s two most high-profile teams.
Everybody and their mother knows about the quarterback situation in Columbus and that khaki-wearing coach in Ann Arbor. The defending national champions will even have Big Ten Network follow them around during camp to produce a documentary series resembling HBO’s Hard Knocks. And based on the swarm of media day attention Harbaugh received, it’s obvious his every move is being documented, as well.
It’s about time the nation’s oldest Division I conference generated some buzz. But the buzz surrounding the Big Ten is greater than a quarterback battle or a splashy coaching hire.
For the first time in recent memory, the playing field is even. The Southeastern Conference won eight national championships a 10-year stretch while the Big Ten was shut out. Finally, it isn’t the SEC’s national title to lose.
I mean, even Paul Finebaum said the SEC may be overrated in 2015.
Meanwhile, the Big Ten had two teams finish in the Associated Press top five for the first time in a decade. Six bowl game victories, including a national championship, was arguably the best postseason in the conference’s history.
And who’s the only team to finish in the AP top five in each of the last two seasons? That’d be Michigan State, which is seeking its first College Football Playoff berth this year.
The Spartans’ Nov. 21 showdown in Columbus could prove to be the highest stakes regular season game in the history of the Big Ten. That could easily be a better fight than the conference championship.
But assuming anything in August is premature. Even assuming in early September is premature. Everybody remembers when the Big Ten was pronounced dead in Week 2 after Ohio State was upset at home by Virginia Tech and Michigan State was trucked by Marcus Mariota and the Oregon offense. The final three months of the season saw a complete turnaround, much like the conference that finally rose above mediocrity last year.
This isn’t some sweeping declaration that one season thwarted the Big Ten atop the college football conference power rankings. The SEC still has that title. Until a modern day dynasty like Alabama forms, the Big Ten won’t be able to make that claim.
The interest, however, should rival the south’s. Three new coaches will take over high-profile programs. Two of them — Nebraska’s Mike Riley and Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst — could represent the wild, wild West Division in the Big Ten Championship. And that’s only if they can fend off the Coach of the Year, Jerry Kill, and the Golden Gophers.
Sadly, the departure of Bo Pelini means that Faux Pelini will not provide Big Ten fans the never-ending supply of cat photos, Carl retweets and in-game commentary that we’ve all grown accustomed to.
Our timing was off there, but everywhere else, it was right on.
Saturday Tradition will be the one-stop shop for all the coverage Big Ten fans want to be informed and entertained. If the offseason was any indication, 2015 won’t lack storylines. Whether or not the Big Ten lands another national title remains to be seen. Either way, the intrigue is there and it isn’t going away anytime soon.
The time is now. Join us for a new tradition.