CNNSI - Parity, not weakness in Big Ten

Submitted by maizevanblue on October 21st, 2009 at 8:46 PM

Interesting article on CNNSI today. I'm sure most of us has said exactly this same thing at some point, but this is one of the only times I've seen someone write about it.…

The point about margin of victory is an interesting one. I'm not sure enough games have been played to really determine a difference there.



October 21st, 2009 at 8:48 PM ^

Eh, people were saying similar things about the ACC last year. In reality, it was just crap football. Not that it necessarily applies to the Big Ten this year, but "parity" and "weakness" are often used as excuses for each other when they're not all that related.


October 21st, 2009 at 9:17 PM ^

...the margin of victory stuff is largely beside the point, however. Small margins of victory are consistent both with weakness and parity. The discussion should begin with the Big 10's record against BCS teams and ND, and move on from there. He did make one spot-on, accurate point, though, one that is far too rarely talked about:

"That public skepticism has spawned a double standard. If Purdue beats Ohio State, it's laughable. If, however, one-loss LSU fell to 2-5 Vanderbilt, it's reasonable to assume most would chalk it up to SEC depth."

For that, I give him a lot of credit. The consistent, knee-jerk assumption from most major sports writers and commentators (its almost like it comes from a script they all have or something) that close games in the SEC only demonstrate the strength and depth (and speed--never forget about the speed!) of the conference is inane. Virtually nobody talks about how the SEC performs against other BCS schools, the thing you would think would come up FIRST when comparing conferences.

I don't mean to suggest in this post that the Big 10 is underrated or that the SEC is overrated, only that the standard discourse is useless and borders on ridiculous.


October 21st, 2009 at 9:24 PM ^

The B10 is not very good. Not even close to the SEC or B12. The Pac10 is better too. We're the 4th best conference. But a lot of teams are pretty equal.


October 21st, 2009 at 10:36 PM ^

The Big 12 hasn't exactly inspired a lot of confidence. Only Kansas, Missouri and Texas have gone undefeated against non-conference competition (by playing absolute crap teams). Kansas just lost to Iowa State(!), Missouri's lost two in a row, and Texas' offense looks shaky, along with Colt McCoy. Meanwhile, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State were beaten by Houston, Oklahoma was beaten by BYU and Miami, and Nebraska was beaten by Virginia Tech, the only non-conference games Big 12 teams have against currently ranked teams.

Looking at the Big 12 this year, we've got the Big 12 North, which has regressed to it's usual uninspiring self since Tom Osbourne retired, while the Big 12 South has several good teams that have definite weaknesses (Texas and Oklahoma's offense, Texas Tech's defense, and questions all over the place for Oklahoma State).

I would say that the Big 12 has more depth than the Big Ten this year, but thus far, the top teams in the Big Ten, Iowa, PSU, and OSU have played at a level comparable to, if not better than the top teams in the Big 12.


October 21st, 2009 at 11:03 PM ^

Does anyone else think that the SEC is sort of bad this season? I think Alabama is the best team in the country, and Florida is very close, but LSU has looked totally lost at times this year and the rest of the conference is unranked outside of #23/24 South Carolina. Tennessee is meh, Georgia is in sort of a tailspin, Ole Miss was utterly overrated, Auburn is decent but not great, and Arkansas looks good on offense but has been destroyed by their schedule.

Florida might get the the SEC Championship by playing only one (one!) ranked team all season. This is a strange time for the SEC outside of the top 2. It seems that all of college football is kind of bad this season. Parity all around


October 22nd, 2009 at 12:21 AM ^

Yeah, both offenses are pretty bad, but those teams play nasty, nasty defense. I think that Alabama's defense is just a little better than Florida's at the moment, which is why I think they are a better team. I tend to think that great teams do not require great quarterbacks, which is why I think teams like Iowa and Alabama are good as long as their defenses hold up.

I'm sort of pissed that the lack of great teams could lead to "lost at Washington, lol" USC playing in the MNC game. I very much do not want that to happen


October 22nd, 2009 at 1:30 AM ^

close margins in the Big 10 means the conference sucks.

Big margins in the Big means the conference sucks.

Close margins in the SEC means the conference is the absolute toughest conference ever created by mankind, all 12 teams should be in a bowl game.

Big margins means the SEC teams so dominant they are destroying the greatest collection of teams ever assembled in one conference. They should just hand the crown the Champion now.

The SEC looks the same to me as it always does. 2 or 3 really solid teams who are fundamentally better than everyone else (this year just Florida and Bama). A bunch of other teams who have serious flaws but will get a tremendous amount of hype because of who they are and what conference they play in (South Carolina, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Auburn maybe Tennessee fit in that category this year.)........and the rest who are no better than any other conferences bottom teams, just no really awful team in the league like an Indiana.


October 22nd, 2009 at 7:15 AM ^

The Big Ten's performance in bowls is what gives the perception that the Big Ten sucks. We can complain about de facto road games and the seedings being skewed towad the SEC all we want, but the only way for the Big Ten to regain the respect it once had is to win like it once did.

The Big Ten, like any other conference, imitates the teams that have the most success. So far, the teams with the most success have been OSU and UM, who, until the hiring of RR, were both throwback teams. RR and UM are going to help the Big Ten evolve by forcing them to recruit speed. I would like to say that RR will help the Big Ten evolve by the presence of the spread option, but NW took his spread option years ago, and quite a few teams in the conference are using it now.

The biggest problem in the Big Ten is that there are many who still think that you have to recruit bulk if you want to win in November, when the ground gets cold and the footing becomes questionable. The "speed vs bulk (and therefore leverage)" argument has been around since the 1970's as far as I can remember, and probably even earlier than that.

As soon as UM runs the table in a cold November, the argument will have officially been put to bed, at least to anyone who is able to open their eyes. And as soon as the Big Ten puts its emphasis on speed, they will once again be able to compete evenly with the SEC, Big 12, and Pac Ten.

I really wish I could say the SEC is overrated, but I can't. I see too much SEC football down here, and most SEC fans tell me that they can't stand to watch Big Ten football because it "looks like it's going in slow motion." Eventually, I would like to respond by saying, "Michigan scores more points per game than anyone in the SEC; is that what you mean by 'slow motion?'"

The last problem is depth. Right now, the Big Ten has four teams that can match the SEC's top seven. They need three more teams, such as Wisky, Minny, and (gasp) MSU, to stop showing "potential" and start showing talent. Every conference needs its bottom-feeders, so NW, IU, Purdue, and Illinois can keep doing what they're doing, springing the occasional upset, but pretty much "holding up the rear."

Living in SEC country, I get as tired as anyone else of hearing that the Big Ten sucks compared to the SEC. Unfortunately, as of now, my "tormentors" are right. I truly look forward to the day when I can point at the Big Ten's record against the SEC and tell them that they are wrong. I'm guessing, though, that it will take another three to five years for this to happen, and a lot of things are going to have to go right for the Big Ten.