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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Big Ten is NOT weak

Thanks to another subpar performance by Ohio State in the BCS Champsionship Game, all we will hear for the entire offseason is how weak/slow/unathletic the Big Ten Conference is. Ohio State at least showed up in this year's game, unlike the embarrassment that was last year's BCS Title Game, but in the end the Buckeyes were done in by mistakes and a great LSU team took advantage. LSU was obviously the best team Ohio State had played all year, but the Buckeyes were not as overmatched as some are making it sound. The game basically came down to turnovers, a blocked field goal, and a roughing the punter penalty on OSU in the 3rd quarter. With that being said, hats off to LSU. The Tigers took advantage of every Buckeye mistake and made OSU's nation-best defense look average. LSU was the best team on the field last night, and the SEC was the better overall conference this season. But the SEC vs Big Ten debate is not as one-sided as the media makes it seem. Let's take a look at recent bowl results between the two conferences to show how even both conference actually are.

This year the SEC finished with a 2-1 record against the Big Ten in bowl games. LSU defeated Ohio State 38-24 last night, Tennessee beat Wisconsin 21-17 in the Outback Bowl, and Michigan won the Capital One bowl over Florida 41-35. Last season the Big Ten won 2 of 3 from the SEC with Ohio State's loss to Florida being the SEC's only bowl victory over the Big Ten.

Every year Big Ten and SEC teams face off in two Florida bowl games, the Outback and the Capital One Bowls. The Outback Bowl puts the 3rd pick from the Big Ten against the 3rd or 4th pick from the SEC each year. Since 2002, the Big Ten has won 3 Outback Bowls and the SEC has won 3 including Tennessee's win this year.

2002: Michigan 38 Florida 30
2003: Iowa 37 Florida 17
2004: Georgia 24 Wisconsin 21
2005: Florida 31 Iowa 24
2006: Penn State 20 Tennessee 10
2007: Tennessee 21 Wisconsin 17

The Capital One Bowl gets the best team from each conference that is not invited to a BCS Bowl. The Big Ten has recently dominated the Capital One Bowl winning four straight.

2002: Auburn 13 Penn State 9
2003: Georgia 34 Purdue 27 (OT)
2004: Iowa 30 LSU 25
2005: Wisconsin 24 Auburn 10
2006: Wisconsin 17 Arkansas 14
2007: Michigan 41 Florida 35

After looking at those results, it's hard to see why so many have this preconceived notion that the SEC is the dominate conference in college football and how the Big Ten is annually looked at as a "weak" conference. The SEC has had the best team in the nation the past two years, that much is proven, but as a whole the Big Ten Conference has also proved that it is in fact one of the elite conferences in college football.

Comments on "The Big Ten is NOT weak"

 

Anonymous Hawkeye Sports News said ... (January 8, 2008 at 12:45 PM) : 

I have also grown tired of constantly hearing that on ESPN and a few other places. Other than Herbstriet pretty much everyone at ESPN drules over the SEC. Yes, they are fast, but the Big Ten also has some speed and as you have proven here more than holds their own when facing SEC apponents.

 

Blogger Purdue Matt said ... (January 9, 2008 at 11:12 AM) : 

I want to point out that when Purdue lost to Georgia in the Cap1, Purdue was the #3 Big Ten team and Georgia was the #2 SEC team.

 

Blogger Brad said ... (January 9, 2008 at 11:28 AM) : 

Good point Matt. I didn't look that in depth, but it would be interesting to compare where both teams finished in their conf in each of those years.

 

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