It's no secret that the Big Ten is typically a defense-oriented league, a theme that starts at the top and trickles down.
Penn State's sports information department took a look at defensive statistics from 2004 to 2009 and found that only two teams rank among the top 5 nationally in rushing defense, scoring defense and total defense (cumulative averages). The teams? Ohio State and Penn State, which have combined for seven Big Ten championships since 2004.
Both teams have boasted outstanding defensive players during the span, including national award winners like Paul Posluszny, James Laurinaitis, A.J. Hawk, Malcolm Jenkins and Dan Connor. Both teams also are always solid up front, no matter if they generate a lot of sacks or not.
The continuity of coordinators and position coaches like Tom Bradley (Penn State), Larry Johnson (Penn State) and Jim Heacock (Ohio State) also plays a major role.