With the BCS Era officially in the rearview mirror, what have we learned?
Well, we learned that national champions tend to come from the South, Texas and California. They tend not to come from the Big Ten. That’s no slight to Ohio State, which knocked off Miami for its BCS title, but the numbers add up and they don't add up in the Big Ten's favor. The SEC, in particular, held a chokehold on the crystal football during much of the BCS Era.
So, as we move into the next chapter of college football history with the College Football Playoff, will that continue to hold true?
Schools in the South, Texas and California have distinct advantages when it comes to recruiting, given their proximity to the nation’s top high school talent. So, how does the Big Ten make a dent in that recruiting dominance? By playing games in those areas.
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This season, one of the marquee non-conference games is the Week 1 Big Ten-SEC showdown between Wisconsin and LSU, a game that’ll be played in Houston. And while the Big Ten can’t snap its figurative fingers and erase the recent national-title deficit it has in a head-to-head comparison with the SEC, it can open the eyes of a ton of Texas and Southern recruits with a good showing from the Badgers.
Now, hard work from coaches can also help, as we’ve recently seen with Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and especially Penn State’s James Franklin, who’s making a ton of national recruiting noise despite being on the job just a few months. But those two have connections down South as former SEC head coaches.
It’s what makes Wisconsin’s game against LSU so important. Yeah, it could determine a spot (or lack thereof) in the College Football Playoff. Yeah, it’s extremely important for the outcome of the upcoming campaign. But perhaps most importantly it could alter the perception of Wisconsin and the Big Ten Conference as a whole for a whole ton of high school football players who live in Texas and the surrounding states.
And it’s that which could make the biggest difference in the Big Ten closing that championship deficit.