SI Vault
 
Campaign Swings
LARS ANDERSON
October 15, 2012
America's ongoing population shift isn't just a factor in elections this fall—it's also playing a key role in the Big Ten's decline
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
October 15, 2012

Campaign Swings

America's ongoing population shift isn't just a factor in elections this fall—it's also playing a key role in the Big Ten's decline

View CoverRead All Articles

In the fall of 1972, as Richard Nixon and George McGovern were in the throes of a dark Presidential campaign, the polls that really mattered to college football fans were dominated by teams that are currently in the Big Ten. Nebraska was coming off back-to-back national titles, and Ohio State had captured the top spot in the final AP and UPI polls in '68. Since then a massive population migration from the Rust Belt and the Midwest has altered not only the electoral college map but also the landscape of recruiting, in which the golden rule says that states with the most people produce the most talent. This is one reason why the Big Ten has struggled in recent years and is especially floundering in 2012, compiling a combined 5--9 record in nonconference games against teams from BCS conferences and Notre Dame.

As the 2012 Presidential election approaches, here's a look at how the electoral map has changed in the last 40 years for the schools that ruled college football in the days of Nixon and where all those people have gone.

FOLLOW @LarsAndersonSI

1