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The Big Ten Is No Longer Elite

The winner of the “Living with Sportz” Fan of the Day for January 4th is Rita Russell Elmore. Rita is a lifelong Dallas Cowboy and Texas Rangers fan. Rita has supported Living with Sportz and myself from the very beginning. Rita is definitely “Living with Sportz.” Congrats Rita!!!

DO NOT MISS—Living with Sportz Radio is TONIGHT. The Radio Show will be on at 8ET/ 7CT/ 6MT/ 5PT every Tuesday. What a great radio show I have planned for tonight. Special Guest for tonight will be, Lindsay McCormick. Lindsay graduated from Auburn and now will do the pre-game for the Oregon Ducks. This should be very interesting. She also was an intern at ESPN and will share stories from her career. We will also have our weekly visit from Cool Mike. I will have my opinions on the NFL and College Football Seasons and all of the coaching moves. There may be a surprise or two along the way.

Coryell Factor-Coryell won three straight division titles (1979, 1980, 1981) with the Chargers, reaching the playoffs four consecutive times.
Don Coryell, Hall of Fame 2011


This Bowl Season, I will be picking each and every Bowl game against the spread and rating them with a 1-5 star. The 5 star picks will be my best plays. I will post those plays on the days of the games. I will keep a running total of games throughout the Bowl season. If a 4* wins it will be scored a +4. Lets have a GREAT Bowl Season.

5*–Take it to the Bank
4*–Extremely Strong Play
3*–Bet it with confidence
2*–I like it but be careful
1*–You are an action junkie

Season Record 67-52
11-3 in Top Picks this season


COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL PICKS Jan 4th (Against the Spread)



ARKANSAS +3 1/2 against Ohio State

Good Luck

Today’s Article:

Sports have been a major part of my life since the beginning. I grew up in Wisconsin and whenever anyone asks me where I am from, I proudly boast, Wisconsin. I admit today that I have always been a Big Ten fan. It is time to come clean and admit that the Big Ten has been over-rated in the world of sports for some time. This doesn’t diminish my love for the conference but it is time to realize the facts. Although the Big Ten is a competitive conference, it is no longer an elite conference.

My opinions on this did not change because of the results from Saturday’s bowl games, it only solidified them. It will take years to rebound from the embarrassment suffered on Saturday. So many future recruits could not ignore the fact that the Big Ten got shellacked on New Years Day. More importantly, the parents of those future recruits saw each and every team go down like dominoes.

The only team that even showed up was the Wisconsin Badgers. The media seemed to pile on Wisconsin for losing this game but they lost to an undefeated team that was favored by 3 points. This was truly an instant classic and we will be hearing about that game for some time. It was terrific for college football although maybe not so sweet for the thousands of Badger fans that traveled to Pasadena. Saturday, Jan 1st, 2011 will be known as Black Saturday in the Big Ten for many years to come. I believe you will see the ramifications from this day for years to come. This has been in the works for years though, it didn’t suddenly happen on Saturday.

I want each of you reading this to imagine that you are a premier athlete. You can basically pick any school to attend in either basketball or football. What is your criteria? I cannot speak for you but I am going to take a shot at this. Is the Big Ten even on your radar unless you grew up as a passionate, loyal, fanatical Big Ten fan. Look at these wonderful cities that you get to play in. Sorry for the sarcasm but I have been in every one of these cities and they really do not compare to Austin, TX, Athens, GA or Knoxville, TN. Do not get me wrong, I love Madison, Wisconsin but would never live there again. They have two seasons in Wisconsin, July and winter. Madison is the greatest city to be from in the USA but nowhere to spend 12 months a year when you have other choices.

Big Ten Cities

Iowa City, IA
Lincoln, NE
Minneapolis, MN
Evanston, IL
Madison, WI
Champagne, IL
Ann Arbor, MI
Lansing, MI
W Lafayette, IN
Bloomington, IN
Columbus, OH
University Park, PA

Not exactly cities that speak of fun and good weather for a recruit. I know that cities like Starkville and Oxford, Mississippi, do not get you fired up either but at least it is warm. I have learned over the years that athletes do not enjoy the cold.

Lets face it, the world we live in today is much different than the old days of the 60’s. Every game is on television and today’s top athletes want to be seen. They watch ESPN and want to be one of the Top 10 plays each weekend they take the field. Today, it is more about the athlete individually and less about the team. The premier athletes want to go to a college where they can show off their athletic ability. The “3 yards and a cloud of dust” mentality of the Big Ten does nothing to bring in the best athletes. They want to throw it around and create highlights that everyone can point at themselves and say, “Look at Me.” They also want to win championships and get drafted. Watching the SEC play football and the Big East play basketball, there is no comparison with the Big Ten.

Every parent and every athlete knows that the SEC is where to play football and the Big East is where to play basketball. I am a Big Ten fan and have come to this realization over the last few years. The Big Ten can do nothing about it but attempt to find the best coaches and recruiters. Good Luck with that. Even the best recruiters cannot get rid of snow with a snap of their fingers. Typical January day in Gainesville, FL is 75 degrees whereas in Madison, WI it is 10 degrees. I wonder where that premier athlete wants to spend his new year? Going to the beach to see bikinis or checking to see if his car will start? It is so obvious. Big Ten fans like myself need to understand that we can enjoy our conference but we need to stop the arguments against other conferences. Bottom line is, we lose the argument and if the Big Ten ever wins another championship in football or basketball, it will be an upset.

The SEC is going after their 5th straight BCS Championship next Tuesday night. If not for a mystery pass interference call in 2002, the Big Ten would have zero championships since the beginning of the BCS in 1998. I do not know if the Big Ten can ever come back to the elite status, but I do know that Saturday did not help. Today, I am pulling my head out of the sand and realizing that the Big Ten is not a premier conference in anything but dollars. Dollars only buy you championships in professional sports. It is going to take more than dollars to make the Big Ten cities appealing to the premier athletes of today.


About livingwithsportz

I was a professional baseball umpire for 11 seasons from 1979-1989. I follow all sports and read and study everything to do with all aspects of sport. I am now a 50 yr old man who feels the need for a new career and am hoping to get into the sports information age. I love starting discussions about controversial sports and life subjects. I am originally from Wisconsin. I am a diehard cheesehead and have been a lifelong Packer and Badger fan. I have lived all over the country and hope to give an interesting perspective to sports.


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