With an entertaining opening weekend in the books, it’s now time for an absurdly premature hot take that will become either wrong or irrelevant in a couple weeks.
Out of conference games are always fun as teams travel cross country to play foreign opponents, coaching styles clash, fan bases are introduced to an unfamiliar squad, and, fairly or unfairly, the clamoring masses get an opportunity to gauge which conference will rule the land this season.
If you love rash declarations based on small sample sizes, you’re going to enjoy this.
The Big Ten is easily the cream of the College Football crop.
The conference only had two teams lose to out of conference opponents and even these losses were promising.
Rutgers, a New Jersey dumpster fire who finished 2-10 in 2016, went into halftime down three points to a team that made the CFB Playoff last season before fading only slightly in the second half.
The other loss comes courtesy of Purdue, another program in transition, who had a chance to tie the game in the final possession against the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.
These two losses were expected but each game was far closer than anyone anticipated. if you’re not interested in the floor of a conferences talent, let’s review what the ceiling teams of the Big Ten did on opening weekend.
Ohio State looked out of sorts against a riled up Indiana squad and still managed to easily cover the twenty point spread, Penn State ran roughshod against an over matched Akron club, Wisconsin scored fifty in the second half to erase Utah State’s upset bid, and maybe most impressive, a revamped Michigan side stifled and embarrassed the two time reigning SEC East division champs, the Florida Gators. Even Maryland went down to Texas and crashed Tom Herman’s debut.
Every other team in the Big Ten pulled out a W, some prettier than others (I’m looking at you Illinois) but a win’s a win.
The season has just started, and a bevy of other big time, out of conference match ups will help shed more light on which conference is the best of the best, but this was a strong start for a league that recently was considered too slow to keep up with most teams around the country.
If you’re looking for more evidence of the Big Ten’s domination, this upcoming weekend will continue to provide some clarity. Oklahoma plays Ohio State in Columbus, a game that can go a long way in determining the upside for each squad, Penn State plays Pitt in the battle for the Keystone State, and Nebraska travels to Oregon to take on the Ducks.
I don’t think anyone is expecting the conference to look as good as they did this past weekend, but if the bottom teams in the league continue to compete, and the elite Big Ten squads continue to win with ease, then the claim that the Big Ten is College Football’s best conference may be less of a hot take and more of a fact.