NCAA Football Report (Week 4)

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The Big Ten conference has been making a huge comeback over the last few years as they are back into relevancy after being a forgotten piece of the NCAA puzzle.

They had always been a big part of the league with some of the biggest programs but for a while, throughout the BCS era, they seemed to fail to take those big programs to the title.

It has been a long road back but they are seeing their efforts pay off and their return to being a legitimate contender as a conference has roots in a unique place.

The Big Ten has always been able to find their way to some of the biggest names with a massive recruiting base.

They continued to struggle to find their way to the top of the rankings though as something was always missing.

It turned out that the piece that was missing from the big teams was on the sideline as the coaches changed everything.

The change for the entire conference came when big coaches began to take jobs at the big schools.

Urban Meyer took the job at Ohio State and turned the Buckeyes into a consistent contender in the playoff era.

He was quickly joined by Jim Harbaugh who left the NFL to take a job at his alma mater in Michigan.

Both new coaches have made a big impact on their teams but also on the conference altogether.

Michigan and Ohio State have been a big part of the Big Ten for a long time but now they are finally starting to be big on the national stage.

As they have helped their teams to get back to contention the Big Ten has grown and become a major player.

That has been the big reason for the increase but as good as Michigan and Ohio State has been, there has been a bigger story in the Big Ten that has gone relatively unnoticed.

The Penn State Nittany Lions have become a true top contender but it has been a bigger hill to climb for them than for the other major programs.

In 2011 the Penn State program was rocked by one of the worst scandals in NCAA history when it was revealed that defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky had sexually abused multiple children.

It was revealed even later that many in the school knew of allegations of this and that they had ignored the accusations.

That included longtime head coach Joe Paterno and with the entire school including the legendary head coach the program lost all of its credibility.

They also lost a number of scholarships and were banned from the postseason for five years, which was then reduced.

It left the program in shambles and short of the SMU program suspension was the worst set of sanctions ever put on a program, and rightfully so.

The challenge of rebuilding the program was given to Bill O’Brien who did a good job with less until he eventually left for the NFL.

Then came James Franklin who took over the program after O’Brien just as the Lions were gaining some of their privileges back.football-sidebar

Franklin had already made headlines as the head coach of Vanderbilt when he made a good program in a very tough division.

Although O’Brien laid the groundwork, Franklin has been the difference maker for the program that is now getting a lot more respect.

They took home the Big Ten title last year but that was as far as they would get because they couldn’t find their way to the playoff.

With Franklin at the helm, the Nittany Lions are moving up and have some big potential ahead of them.

They still have some big hurdles to get over but so far they are undefeated this year with some big performances from some big players.

Namely, Saquon Barkley who has been putting the team on his back all year with his ability to run and catch out of the backfield.

The Nittany Lions are square in the competition for the top four this year and are just another team to throw into the mix in the battle of conferences.

The Big Ten is one of the top conferences in the country right now and Penn State is leading the way so far this year.

They are following the pattern of the other great teams in the division putting together a strong team with a great coach.

Now it is all about finishing the job and all three teams will try to do just that as the season continues.

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