The Big Ten has undergone a transformation over the past 25 years. The league's membership has changed, every head coach occupying the sidelines in 1991 is long gone and the conference has faced scrutiny as powers in the SEC and, to a lesser extent, the Pac-12 and Big 12 have emerged.
However, it is always fun to take a look back at what transpired over this large of a period of time, and Sean Merriman and Tom Dienhart of the Big Ten Network did just that on Monday. The pair of analysts released a listing of the top 25 Big Ten teams over the last 25 years and, to the surprise of no one, the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines grabbed the majority of attention.
This list will generate some debate at the top, as the 2002 Ohio State team led by Maurice Clarett and Jim Tressel ranks at number one, while the 1997 Michigan group featuring Charles Woodson and Lloyd Carr lands at number two. In total, the Buckeyes are represented with eight (yes, eight) of the top 25 teams, while the Wolverines trail behind with just four inclusions.
Elsewhere, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Penn State were noted with three inclusions each, and that five-some of institutions represents 21 of the 25 teams featured.
If this list is the barometer, it is Ohio State and everyone else, but with Jim Harbaugh on board, perhaps the crew from Ann Arbor can make a charge when this list extends to 30 and 35 years in the future. Stay tuned.
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