Conference pride runs high in July. You'll hear it from key figures in every Power 5 league this month at the parade of media days, underway with Thursday's conclusion of the SEC festival.
These three weeks, in a way, mirror bowl season, when conferences tout their collective achievements. Last year, of course, the Big Ten fared well in the postseason. Underdogs in every game, it won six of 11, including two victories by Ohio State en route to the College Football Playoff crown.
And in the seven months since, the Big Ten narrative has shifted to talk of momentum and forecasts of more excitement.
So are the fans feeling it?
The short answer: Yes.
Vivid Seats, a prominent ticket reseller, released a list this week of the 25 most-in demand college football matchups for the 2015. It illustrates that the Big Ten is in demand -- not on par with the SEC or Notre Dame, but comfortably ahead of the other Power 5 conferences.
Among the top 25 games, the Big Ten has a stake in seven, including four matchups between league teams. The SEC has 12 games and seven in conference play. It's two and one for the Big 12; four games but no league play for the ACC; two and zero for the Pac-12.
Six Notre Dame games are among the top 25 -- headlined by Texas' Sept. 5 visit to South Bend and its highest-rated median resale price of $800. The second-highest figure is Notre Dame-USC at $520.
For the Big Ten, Michigan State-Ohio State ranks eighth overall at $325; Penn State-Ohio State is 10th at $312; Michigan-Utah is 12th at $310; Ohio State-Virginia Tech is 13th at $305; Ohio State-Michigan is 16th at $292; Alabama-Wisconsin is 17th at $278; and Michigan State-Michigan is 20th at $247.
Interesting that Oregon's Sept. 12 visit to Michigan State, arguably the most anticipated nonconference game nationally in 2015, was not listed. The Spartans, despite two straight top-five finishes and playoff aspirations this season, don't create the same buzz for tickets as the sport's traditional powers.
This list, in fact, primarily serves for the Big Ten to reinforce Ohio State's impact on the league's revived image. The Buckeyes made it four times, trailing only Notre Dame's six games and Alabama with eight appearances among the top 25.
Clearly, tradition sells. But so does success -- and hope. And the Big Ten is enjoying the rewards of both as the 2015 season approaches.