Reusse: Big Ten produces little football talent

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 2, 2013 - 11:57 AM

Few conference football players went high in the NFL draft. And it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

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Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson was drafted as a receiver

Photo: Tony Ding, Associated Press

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The Big Ten has been providing a second-rate football product for some time, which was reaffirmed in last week’s NFL draft. You can start with the fact the Big Ten came within one reach by the bumbling Jerry Jones of getting shut out in the first round for the time since 1953.

There were 12 teams in the NFL then. Bernie Flowers, an end from Purdue, was the first pick in the second round (14th overall).

There are now 32 teams. The Big Ten was 0-for-30, until Jones and the Cowboys went for Wisconsin center Travis Frederick. The SEC had 12 players taken in the first round.

Other facts that tell us Big Ten football in its current state is a fraud:

The 12-team conference had 22 players selected, the lowest since an 11-team conference had 21 selected in 1994. The Big Ten is now on a five-draft streak without having a player taken in the top 10.

There were 78 skill position players taken and five came from the Big Ten. This included Michigan’s Denard Robinson, who was drafted as a receiver, not as a quarterback.

The numbers that guarantee the Big Ten’s decline is not a short-term trend are the home states for the draft choices: California 28, Florida 27, Texas 25, Georgia 19, South Carolina 13, Louisiana and Ohio 11, Pennsylvania 9, Alabama 8 and New Jersey, Virginia and North Carolina with 7.

Two decades ago, when the Big Ten was admitting Penn State, Ohio and Pennsylvania still had reputations as elite states for producing football talent. Michigan and Illinois also were offering solid numbers of players.

Now it’s not only Florida producing many more recruits than the big states of the North and Midwest — it’s the rest of Dixie. South Carolina (1 in 363,000), Louisiana (1 in 418,000) and Georgia (1 in 522,000) are raising NFL draft choices at extremely high rates.

It’s culture. In the North, mom and dad are worried about concussions and pointing their boys toward soccer and lacrosse. In the South, the old man still is pounding on his boy’s shoulder pads and saying, “Get out there and smash ’em, son.”

All that heat and vitamin D from the sun are making the young males of the South stronger and faster, and dad is making them tougher.

The strongest, fastest and toughest of those sons of Dixie have two big dreams: to play in the NFL, and before that, to play in the second-best football league in the world … the SEC.

Commissioner Jim Delany and other Big Ten apologists can schmooze as they choose, by citing attendance figures and numbers of households for the Big Ten Network, but the huge competitive gap between his league and the SEC will only increase in the years ahead.

The SEC improved itself in football when it went to 14 teams by adding Texas A&M and Missouri a year ago. The Big Ten is lessening itself in football by going to 14 teams with Rutgers and Maryland a year from now.

Rutgers had seven players taken in last week’s draft. I’m sure Delany is giddy over that. Except those were recruits brought in by Gary Schiano, now with the Tampa Bay Bucs.

Schiano was replaced by an assistant, Kyle Flood. Does the name John Gutekunst ring a bell?

Rutgers will come winging into the Big Ten known more for the scandal of an abusive basketball coach than anything it offers as a football attraction.

The Scarlet Knights’ bowl history consists of appearances in the Garden State, Insight, Texas, International, PapaJohns.com, St. Petersburg, New Era Pinstripe and Russell Athletic bowls.

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Tampa 6 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
LA Clippers 96 FINAL
Chicago 86
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Houston 105
Golden State 41 2nd Qtr 2:35
Boston 59
Philadelphia 30 2nd Qtr 8:09
Indiana 38
Portland 44 2nd Qtr 5:07
Sacramento 41
Charlotte 35 2nd Qtr 3:44
Orlando 33
Oklahoma City 18 1st Qtr 5:30
LA Lakers 10
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Denver
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Tampa Bay 1 3rd Prd
Florida 3
Columbus 1 3rd Prd
Pittsburgh 4
Toronto 6:00 PM
Washington
Anaheim 7:00 PM
Dallas
St. Louis 8:30 PM
Vancouver
SMU 73 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Quinnipiac 65 FINAL
Manhattan 69
Fairfield 56 FINAL
Niagara 57
Marist 49 FINAL
Rider 59
Iona 60 FINAL
Saint Peters 68
Oregon State 56 FINAL
California 73
South Florida 55 FINAL
Houston 72
Marquette 66 FINAL
Providence 77
Michigan State 61 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
Siena 57 FINAL
Monmouth 63
Pittsburgh 15 1st Half 8:36
Wake Forest 21
Oregon 6:00 PM
Stanford
Purdue 6:30 PM
Ohio State
Arizona State 7:30 PM
Colorado
Washington St 8:30 PM
UCLA
Georgetown 66 FINAL
Providence 81
Binghamton 50 FINAL
UMBC 73
Elon 65 FINAL
Hofstra 58
Virginia Tech 47 FINAL
Boston College 49
(8) Louisville 59 FINAL
Virginia 75
Texas 69 FINAL
West Virginia 76
Creighton 53 FINAL
Villanova 61
Seton Hall 85 FINAL
Butler 76
UNC-Wilmington 76 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 65
(5) Maryland 69 FINAL
(25) Northwestern 48
Saint Josephs 67 FINAL
La Salle 55
Louisiana Tech 53 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 60
Rhode Island 70 FINAL
Massachusetts 78
Richmond 55 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 49
Davidson 46 FINAL
Fordham 54
St Bonaventure 43 FINAL
Duquesne 51
George Mason 45 FINAL
(22) George Washington 80
Indiana 60 FINAL
(20) Rutgers 71
(12) Texas A&M 63 FINAL
LSU 80
Ole Miss 47 FINAL
(11) Miss State 55
Clemson 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 61
Maine 47 FINAL
New Hampshire 61
Vermont 48 FINAL
Albany 76
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Monmouth 48
Saint Peters 47 FINAL
Siena 64
(4) Notre Dame 67 FINAL
NC State 60
Wisconsin 62 FINAL
Penn State 56
Stony Brook 49 FINAL
Hartford 56
Northeastern 47 FINAL
William & Mary 62
St Johns 61 FINAL
Xavier 74
James Madison 74 FINAL
Delaware 71
Towson 45 FINAL
Drexel 50
Illinois State 50 FINAL
Bradley 60
Southern Ill 74 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 70
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Wichita State 66
Minnesota 76 FINAL
(17) Iowa 92
(15) North Carolina 80 FINAL
(16) Duke 81
Alabama 73 FINAL
Auburn 80
(9) Florida State 69 FINAL
Miami-Florida 55
Arkansas 41 FINAL
Missouri 57
Georgia 52 FINAL
Florida 45
Dayton 95 FINAL
Saint Louis 68
Drake 57 FINAL
Missouri State 86
Colorado 46 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 59
(19) Stanford 55 FINAL
Oregon 62
Marquette 82 FINAL
DePaul 99
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 60
Vanderbilt 48 2nd Half 0:29
(6) Tennessee 79
(2) South Carolina 42 2nd Half 7:15
(13) Kentucky 53
Utah 41 FINAL
Arizona 64
Ohio State 78 FINAL
Nebraska 60
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