Rutgers shouldn't be compelled by B1G expansion concerns either, we're here to stay

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Don't blame Rutgers or Maryland for the Big Ten's reputation compared to the SEC.

Recently, writers have given their take on the real reason for the Big Ten's expansion, as well as what they think of the additions of Maryland and our very own Rutgers. I think it's fair to say that the reception for the two newbies has been less than stellar, to put it nicely.

Let's start with a comment from SB Nation's own Luke Zimmerman, founder of Land-Grant Holy Land:

"Ohio State fans in particular are sick of having to defend the league after winning 24 straight [2012 and '13] and still not getting the respect it deserves. This is not in their mind anything more than adding another Indiana or Purdue."

Win-loss record aside, I don't believe Indiana or Purdue are giving BTN millions more of subscribers, so that right there is a point of contention. The bigger issue, though, is the notion that Buckeye fans are "sick of having to defend the league." To be completely frank, why is that Rutgers' problem? Before Rutgers and Maryland even suit up for a game, the Big Ten's reputation for not winning national championships and laying eggs against the conference down south was already there. If I was looking to bolster the reputation of the league, I would start by winning championships before touting new additions to the conference.

The reason the SEC can tout dominance over all other conferences is because of the recent dynasty over the crystal football, not the additions of Texas A&M and Mizzou, despite the success they achieved in the last two seasons. Sure, it's a great thing that those two programs have elevated themselves in the new conference, but the SEC wouldn't be seen as great if they didn't have those seven straight national championships from 2006-2013 to go with it.

I'd even put it another way: if A&M and Mizzou struggled mightily in the SEC in the last two seasons (like going 1-7 in conference play), the college football world would still claim the SEC as the best conference in the land. That's what seven straight does for you. In fact, the reaction to the Aggies or Tigers losing in conference would probably be something like "they can't handle the SEC." So to those B1G fans who are tired of defending the conference, the solution is simple: start winning national championships. Don't worry about Rutgers, or Maryland, or Purdue, or Illinois. The overall competitive depth of the conference is moot when a team from the Big Ten is hoisting the championship trophy in January.

Winning cures all. In the case of the Big Ten and the 'reputation' problem, fans won't have to worry about that if the conference is the last one standing in the inaugural College Football Playoff. Whether it's the Buckeyes, the Badgers, the Spartans, or even - *gasp*, the Scarlet Knights! - doesn't matter. All that matters is winning, and when that happens, no defense of the conference is needed. Just point to the trophy case.

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