The most die hard Big Ten loyalist IMO can no longer deny that the Big Ten is at best the third best conference (very doubtful), and arguably just above the ACC as the worst. IMO the rank is fourth best, just above The Big East and ACC. Additionally, the gap appears large between The SEC and Big 12 at top, the Pac 10 next, and the rest of the major conferences. Although matchups are a factor, I think head to head play in the Bowls is a strong indicator of conference talent, and there the results are rather conclusive, with the PAC 10 at 5-0, the SEC and Big 12 with one loss, and the Big Ten at 1-5.
These results have replicated themselves over time recently. Please don't talk to me about us beating Florida last year, and other Capital One successes. The preponderance of the evidence backs up the consensus opinion. While on any given day a Big 10 team can beat the SEC and Big 12, on balance there is a large gap.
Why is this? Can it be blamed entirely on recruiting and the usual H.S. talent hotbeds being mostly southern? Discuss.