The Big Ten's inept showing in nonconference play got me wondering whether recruiting is the problem.
Using Rivals.com's rankings, I looked back at the past five recruiting classes, including this year's group of seniors, to see whether Top 100 recruits from the Big Ten's primary recruiting base have been slipping away to other conferences.
Alas, the results were not conclusive — 35 of the 55 Top 100 players in the region chose Big Ten schools — but they're interesting nevertheless.
What I found is something many of us already suspected or knew: ranking high school athletes is an inexact science at best.
Not counting this year's freshmen, just 15 of the 35 players from the classes of 2009, '10 and '11 cracked the starting lineup, though that number may be skewed by a particularly bad showing from the class of '09 (4 of 13 starters, zero possible-to-likely first round picks).
The next two classes have fared better, though just 11 of the 22 Top 100 players from '10 and '11 signed with Big Ten schools out of high school.
These things are cyclical, though, as seven of nine from last year are in the Big Ten, and seven of the 11 current high school seniors who have orally committed chose Big Ten schools.
Of course, 24 of the 35 chose either Ohio State or Michigan. Fifteen went with Ohio State followed by Michigan (9), Michigan State (4), Penn State (3) and Illinois, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Nebraska (1 each).
It's no surprise that Notre Dame has held its own with five. Here's a complete breakdown.
Note: Statistics do not include this week's games.
2009 (13 total Top 100 recruits)
10 to Big Ten, 4 starters, 4 transfers, 1 career-ending injury, 0 likely first-round picks
William Campbell, Detroit, Michigan, 26, DT
Three career starts, all this season.
Corey Brown, Monroeville, Pa., Ohio State, 31, DB
Redshirted as freshman, yet to crack starting lineup
Dorian Bell, Monroeville, Pa., Ohio State, 33, LB
Suspended in tattoo-parlor scandal, transferred to Duquesne
Justin Turner, Massillon, Ohio, Michigan, 35, DB
Transferred to West Virginia then supposedly Hawaii, but is not listed on roster