You love college football. We love college football. But how can the sport be improved going forward?
Colleagues Gene Wojciechowski, Ivan Maisel and Mark Schlabach tackle that monumental question today. Each provides 10 things that could enhance the sport as it moves into the playoff era. One item that made multiple lists is having a Heisman Trophy winner with no baggage. Amen, brothers.
In terms of ideas impacting the Big Ten, both Maisel and Schlabach brought up Michigan and the Wolverines' struggles in recent seasons. It's not a coincidence that the Big Ten's downturn as a conference has coincided with Michigan, one of its flag-bearers, falling from the ranks of the nation's elite.
Maisel would like to see an end to the Curse of Bo:
From the day that Bo Schembechler died in 2006, on the eve of No. 2 Michigan's 42-39 loss at its archrival, No. 1 Ohio State, the Wolverines have a record of 50-41 (.549). That's an average of 7-6, pretty much the definition of mediocrity. And while Michigan State has arisen over that period of time (64-30, .681), there's no rule that says both programs may not succeed at the same time.
Schlabach adds that Michigan, and Florida, need to rebound to enhance the sport. He mentions how the annual Michigan-Ohio State matchup has lost meaning in recent years, which is true for those not deeply invested in the rivalry.
The argument that Michigan needs to be good for the Big Ten/college football to thrive causes quite a bit of angst among certain Big Ten fans, especially the ones wearing green and white. I go back and forth on the topic a lot. Have Michigan's struggles hurt the Big Ten's reputation? Without a doubt. But if other, nontraditional powers can elevate to nationally elite status, the Big Ten should be fine. For too long it's just been Ohio State in this league. Michigan State seems to be changing things but must prove it can sustain such a high level of play.
Wojchiechowski's Big Ten-related proposal is a familiar one: Notre Dame should join the league.
I've got nothing against the ACC, but who are we kidding? Nobody is counting the days until that 2015 Wake Forest-ND game. Nobody is getting goose bumps for that 2016 NC State game. If ever a program and a conference needed to kiss and make up, it's Notre Dame and the Big Ten.
Perhaps that's true, but most of the kissing needs to come from the Notre Dame side. The Big Ten twice tried to add Notre Dame and Notre Dame balked. The Big Ten would never give Notre Dame the deal it received in the ACC -- nor should it.
I think that chapter has closed, but you never know.
What changes would you like to see in college football? Send suggestions here.