Will Lincoln Riley revolutionize how the Big Ten Conference plays football? It will be fascinating to see.
The Big Ten is a smashmouth league. If you have watched one Minnesota-Iowa or Michigan State-Wisconsin game, you’ve seen them all. This is not track-meet football or run-and-gun, video-game fare.
Ohio State does make football seem like a track meet, as shown last season against Michigan State and then in the Rose Bowl against Utah. Jaxon Smith-Njigba collected 347 receiving yards in the Granddaddy. One could therefore say that the Buckeyes have already changed the game in the conference.
Yet, Lincoln Riley is still a young coach (under 40 years old) who is beginning to make a mark in the college football world. He could be ready to unleash something special in the Big Ten. He could be a person who forces the rest of the competition to change how it goes about its business.
There once was a coach who changed the way the SEC played football in the early 1990s. The league loved its smashmouth identity under old-time coaches such as Pat Dye of Auburn, Vince Dooley of Georgia, and Gene Stallings at Alabama, the spiritual successor to Bear Bryant.
Steve Spurrier crashed through the old-boy network and taught SEC fans to love the forward pass.
Is Lincoln Riley going to make that kind of imprint on the Big Ten? We’ll have to wait a few years to find out, but we talked about the subject with Mark Rogers at The Voice of College Football: