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The Big Ten and academics

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I was listening to talk radio yesterday and the host said that one reason the Big Ten struggles in bowl games and national championship games is that it has higher academic standards than other football conferences, and until that changes, the Big Ten will continue to struggle.

    This was far from an apologist-type radio program, so I decided to check it out. I think it's true that the Big Ten schools, overall, have an outstanding academic reputation. But so does Cal, Texas, and Georgia Tech, and all of them have embarrassing graduation rates in football.

    Anyway, this site is the closest I could find to anything authoritative on the matter in a quick Google search:


    Here's my quick math on median graduation rates in the BCS conferences and schools:

    Notre Dame: 96 percent
    ACC: 72 percent
    Big East: 71.5 percent
    Big Ten: 67 percent
    TCU: 65 percent
    Big 12: 64 percent
    SEC: 60 percent
    Pac 10: 58.5 percent
    Boise State: 58 percent
    Utah: 57 percent

    I suppose it is at least interesting that the three best graduation rate conferences are the least successful on the field in recent years.

    I always just thought the Big East and Big Ten's issues were more about geography than anything else. Less talent in those states.
  2. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I would agree that academically, the Big 10 is the strongest of the major conferences. I don't even think it's close. The Pac-10 is probably second.

    I don't think that's why the Big 10 went 0-5 on Jan. 1. They went 0-5 because the third place team in the SEC West is 42 points better than the Big 10 Co-champs.

    Ohio State may be the worst academically of the 12 schools, so what's its excuse for losing the big game? I would argue that Stanford is the best school in any of the BCS conferences and the Cardinal just won the Orange Bowl.
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Right, but I don't think you can pluck out individual examples to prove or disprove a larger point. Stanford had a perfect storm thing going with the right coach and the right quarterback at the right time. I would be intellectually dishonest, however, if I didn't acknowledge that they did it without last year's Heisman runner-up.

    I know Ohio State stunk in two national title games, but they also beat Miami in the national title game in '02, and hung it on Oregon last year in the Rose Bowl. Lloyd Carr's last Michigan team beat Florida in a bowl game. But I think the overall trend is that the Big Ten is probably considerably weaker than the SEC and the Pac-10 at this point.

    You say that the reason the Big Ten went 0-5 was not because of academics, but because the SEC's third-place team was better than the Big Ten's first-place team. However, there are reasons why that is the case. Are academic standards part of it? I don't know the answer. I'm just asking the question.
  4. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Big Ten alums always want to assign their overall academic reputations to the athletic program, which is rubbish, especially in football. That series the Ann Arbor paper did a few years ago, after Harbaugh's comments, showed it in glorious detail. Ohio State is actually the one school that isn't hypocritical in this regard -- but that's only because their standards for regular students are shit too.

    Among public schools, it's a close race between Michigan and Cal as to which university has the biggest discrepancy between the academic profile of its student body and that of its football team. (For private schools, it's USC in a runaway.)
  5. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I think Cal wins that race to the bottom, but UCLA, Texas and Virginia wonder why they don't get a mention. It is, by the way, absolutely embarrassing to hear alums of those schools rationalize that b.s.

    You're right on the private schools. USC lapped Miami quite a while back.
  6. rtse11

    rtse11 Member

    Um, not even close. From U.S. News and World Reports:
    College Name and Location U.S. News Rank
    1 Northwestern UniversityEvanston, IL 12
    2 University of Michigan–Ann ArborAnn Arbor, MI 27
    3 University of Illinois–Urbana-ChampaignChampaign, IL 39
    4 University of Wisconsin–MadisonMadison, WI 39
    5 Pennsylvania State University–University ParkUniversity Park, PA 47
    6 Ohio State University–ColumbusColumbus, OH 53
    7 Purdue University–West LafayetteWest Lafayette, IN 61
    8 University of Minnesota–Twin CitiesMinneapolis, MN 61
    9 Indiana University–BloomingtonBloomington, IN 71
    10 Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing, MI 71
    11 University of IowaIowa City, IA 71
  7. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I'm shocked that Purdue isn't higher. Does it have anything to do with not having a medical school or law school? Or is that just undergraduate rankings?
  8. franticscribe

    franticscribe Well-Known Member

    Actually, it would be Florida:

  9. franticscribe

    franticscribe Well-Known Member

    The ACC would beg to differ.
  10. franticscribe

    franticscribe Well-Known Member

    Those are just undergrad rankings. Not having those professional schools may have some peripheral effect on the reputation portion of the ranking, which is a significant chunk, but there's no direct correlation to rankings and presence of professional schools.

    Princeton, the No. 2 school in US News national university rankings, has no med, law or business school.
  11. MacDaddy

    MacDaddy Active Member

    If you go by graduation rates, according to the link Dick Whitman provided, the biggest difference is at UCLA.
  12. Captain_Kirk

    Captain_Kirk Well-Known Member

    Academics? I always thought it was due to having too many slow, corn fed, caucasian farmboys on the field.
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