Monday, September 14, 2009

How Bad is the Big Ten?

No one, except the deluded and the dishonest, is claiming right now that Big Ten Football is the greatest in the land, for the simple reason that the evidence speaks otherwise.

Each of the eleven conference teams has played two games; a total of four losses have been recorded. Three of those were in home games. Ohio State played respectably against a very good USC team, but the other losses are a bit embarassing.

So are these facts: The "directional Michigan" teams (Western, Central, Eastern) went 1-2 against the Big Ten last week and were collectively outscored by only 5 points. And Western should have beaten Indiana. Wisconsin needed two overtimes to beat Fresno State at home. Iowa had to block two last-moment field goals at home to win its first game against Northern Iowa.

Here's a breakdown of the conference so far.

At the top: Penn State. Two solid games, won by wide margins. Against powderpuff teams? Well, yes. But unlike some of the conference brethren, they made their opponents look like powderpuff teams.

Near the top: Michigan. Notre Dame blew their chance to win at Michigan. Nevertheless, Michigan is 2-0 and is crawling into the ratings again.

Not as close to the top as they should be: Ohio State and Wisconsin. Ohio State nearly chokes up a big fourth-quarter lead to Navy, and then can't keep an opponent from driving the length of the field at the end of a game. Wisconsin has barely beaten two powderpuffs.

2-0 for only a limited time: Indiana, Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa.

If this keeps up, more embarrassments to come: Purdue, Illinois, Michigan State. I know MSU, in particular, has developed gut-wrenching losses into an art form. It appears they might be taking it to the next level.

Schools other than OSU should take note: It does not impress the rest of the college football universe when you do not schedule teams against worthy opponents. If Big Ten football is to show itself the greatest in the land, they have to play the rest of the land!

No comments: