Monday, January 01, 2007

Why the Big 10 is Still Overrated

I'm sure the Big 10 camp will be out in full force on Tuesday after two nice wins for the conference over the SEC with Penn State beating UT 20-10, and Wisconsin beating Arkansas by 3. But here's why the Big 10 is still very overrated.

For starters, the best thing about football is that on any given Sunday or Saturday one team can beat another. Teams can dominate the line of scrimmage and do whatever they want, and still lose, conversely a team can steal one every now and then. One big play vs another can turn the tide to one team or another. So keep that in mind.

Now, why the Big 10 is overrated:

Wisconsin loses to Arkansas 8 times if they play 10 games against each other. Wisconsin averaged giving up 240 yards of total offense per game this year and averaged almost 400 yards of total offense (387) for themselves. Today, against Arkansas, they gave up 360 and only 201 of their own. They on average this year rushed for 175 ypg and gave up 105 ypg on the ground. Today, -5 rushing for themselves, 232 for the opposition. Did they win the game? Yes. Do they deserve the win? Sure, they scored more points than the opposition.

But is this win any indication of how the Big 10 compares to other conferences? Absolutely not. With Michigan getting destroyed by USC (a 2 loss team in the Pac-10) today, the Big 10 could wind up with 2 wins total in this bowl season.

I'd take a 6 game sample size (Big 10 couldn't fill all of their available bowl slots this year either, for the record) over a 1 game sample size any day of the week.

I know you'll all want to point out Penn State vs UT as well. But that again, came down to 1 big play being made by Penn State. They don't return that fumble, they lose. Great win for them, but hardly anything more than a fluke.


Ron said...

Every year I see college football commentators such as Kirk Herbstreet and Lou Holtz repeatedly share their love for the Big Ten conference (Ohio State and Michigan) and Notre Dame. Once a great football conference, I have watched the level of play decline with no such acknowledgement by the delusional commentators. I personally have been impressed with Forcier speed at Michigan, and the talent of Clausen at Notre Dame. But it takes a team to win. Though I am a big VaTech (ACC) fan, I feel confident that the SEC and Big12 are likely the best college football conferences but see great improvements in the ACC. Also, I have seen schools in the WAC and MWC get my attention that shows evidence of improvement of these conferences as well. Perhaps the one incident that started my distrust of Big Ten football was when Michigan was scheduled to play Hawaii in 2007 but cancelled to play a more winnable game against Appalachian State only to lose. This combined with the Big Tens lack of a conference championship game (due to their only having 11 teams in the conference) has resulted in my conclusion that, Yes, the Big Ten is over-rated yearly. What would make me rethink this is if the 11 team conference expanded to 12 and started playing a conference championship like many of the other powerhouse conferences. Until that day, my mind remains unchanged.

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