lately i have heard alot of sports journalists say something along these lines. "Sure, the recent success of Iowa and Wisconsin has been really nice, but in order for the Big Ten to really prosper, The Big Ten needs the big four, Ohio State, Nebraska, Penn State, and Michigan, to step it up in bowls and out of conference"
Is that really fair to Iowa and Wisconsin? you could really make an arguement that for the last ten years these two programs have been #2 and #3 in the big ten, but anyone could say something like that, so lets look at the stats since 2002 (the furthest ESPN goes back)
the Number of top 10 finishes since the 2002 season
Ohio State: 8, Iowa: 4, Michigan: 3, Penn State: 3, Wisconsin: 2, Nebraska: 0
And the Number of times ranked in the top 25
Ohio State: 9, Wisconsin: 6, Michigan: 5, Penn State: 5, Iowa: 5, Nebraska: 4
And for the hell of it, lets look at bowl Win Loss ratio's since the 2002 season as well
Ohio State: 6-3, Iowa 5-3, Penn State 4-3, Nebraska 4-3, Wisconsin 4-5, Michigan 2-5
its hard to argue with Stats. Ohio State dominate, Nebraska is the clear #6, and everyone else is in a giant cluster in the middle.
which means, if nothing else, that Iowa and Wisconsin have been at least at their level for the better part of the last decade, and still no one thinks they are at the same level as the other four on that list, but on some "sub elite" level with themselves and no one else despite having stats equal to or greater than 3 of the 4 "elite" schools?
it sounds like a glass ceiling to me, one that likely wont be passed until they both win a national title.
that wasnt a decade of the big 2 little 8, that was the decade of the
big 1 little 11 big 5 little 7 because nebraska doesn't really belong big 6 little 6. i think its time we all admitted that those two schools belong to the big ten's elite.