November 29th, 2011 is the day that college football changed forever. That now celebrated day is the day Urban Meyer was named head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes.
All of a sudden, the Big Ten, an already accomplished conference, had one of the greatest college football minds of all time. In one year, Urban Meyer led the Buckeyes to ending the 2012 season undefeated. Three years later he would eviscerate Oregon in the FBS national championship game, returning the MacArthur Trophy to Columbus.
However, Urban Meyer has not been alone in his success, the Big Ten has been in the AP's final Top 25 sixteen times since 2012. They have been represented by a diverse group of schools within their conference and have become an extremely difficult championship to decide each year. The SEC has been much more cut and dry. Regardless of how you feel about the conference, almost every year you can expect Alabama to win the conference. While this still leaves an open path for SEC teams to be represented in the college football playoffs the chances are diminished. On the other hand, in the Big Ten, their championship is something every school has an equal shot at year in and year out.
So yes, while there have been twenty-three instances of SEC teams being ranked in the same four-year span that the Big Ten presented sixteen teams, only one team (Alabama) and very rarely a second truly had a shot of representing the conference in the National Championship.
This year, the Big Ten has a serious case to make that its three-headed monster of Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State is the best top three out of any conference.
The SEC may be extremely well represented with eight teams in the most recent AP poll, but I have serious doubts in the staying power of Arkansas, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M. Each team has flaws, and Ole Miss does not even have a winning record.
The two top ranked Big Ten teams have the star power of Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh behind them. I have serious doubts about Hugh Freeze being able to coach his Rebels into a top five quality season this year especially with Chad Kelly under center.
This is why I believe 2016 will mark the year of the Big Ten. I would not be surprised if multiple Big Ten teams are represented in the College Football Playoff.
Photo Credit: B1G Ten Football via Twitter