The secret is out!! The big 10 is in a slump, and I know I'm gonna get attacked for this post but just here me out before you give me your hatred. The Big 10 has 1 team every year that is the best in the nation according to ESPN then they turn out to be a product of the schedule just like all the other Big 10 teams. Granted they are not bad to the extent to Hawaii this year, but they beat up some cupcakes. Look at the schedules of the successful Big 10 teams last year. Each one of them plays 1 or 2 of the good teams in the Big 10. Which were last year OSU, Michigan, Illi, and maybe Wisconsin. And then after they got their two hard games they throw in 5 or 6 Big 10 cupcakes (or Basketball schools) and if your lucky they'll throw in 1 hard OOC opponent with their three D2 schools they have. In other words every good Big 10 school in the past 5 years has been a product of their schedule.
Also another big problem is they are trying to run old offenses. Against teams like LSU, Florida, UGA, and Auburn you have to run a messed up offense to keep them off balance. Look at the team LSU struggled against this year Florida, Kentucky, Arkansas, those are the teams LSU most struggled against, and guess what kind of O they ran... And your correct the Spread. It was a big step for the Big 10 when Michigan got Rich Rod, because that made Illinois not near as lonely as the only team that didn't run a prototypical offense in the Big 10. But Michigan is gonna struggle for a while because of the fact that they don't have a guy to run it. When the spread was introduced to LSU and Florida they had guys who could run it already in line. If your gonna run the spread you have to have a running QB and Michigan fans I know your getting that scrambling QB who is so good in your '09 class, but he's not gonna be good next year, and you can't expect a Freshman to run your offense. So you have roughly two year of being bad, and that will hurt your recruiting.
So with Michigan out of the picture and Illi aren't gonna be good next year OSU should be primed for another National championship run, but nope. Right before the series of pillow fights that make up the Buckeye's conference schedule, there's an actual adversity in OSU's regular season named USC. This game will spoil OSU's hopes of a national title and the A.D. will be fired for scheduling a hard opponent.
Also the teams in the bottom half of the Big 10 who are one floor below the cellar. Don't have very good attitudes about football it seems. They just bury their heads in the sand and say "Oh well... there's always Basketball". It isn't that way in the Pac 10, SEC, ACC, Big 12, or maybe even the Big East, everyone fights hard in all of their games regardless of record or rank.
Well I'm done ripping on your conference so go ahead and (try) to rip mine.