Preview 2008 -
Part Eight - Is The Big Ten Really
CFN is honored to once again get the thoughts and opinions on some of the hot
topics from some of the most talented, influential insiders in the
college football media, while getting to know a little bit more about
from CFN in the
discussion are ...
- Charles Davis, NFL Network/FOX Sports
- Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com
- College Football Columnist
- Bruce Feldman,
College Football Columnist
- Steve Greenberg, The
Sporting News -
College Football Columnist
- Teddy "Mr. Media" Greenstein, Chicago Tribune - College
Football Columnist, Media Columnist
- Stewart Mandel, SI.com -
College Football Columnist
1 What aspect of
college football should you care about, but really don't?
- Part 2 Should a
two loss LSU team really have won the national title?
- Part 3 How should
college football be more like the NFL?
- Part 4
Your college football
- Part 5 How/why did you get into covering college football?
- Part 6 How/why is the BCS better than a playoff?
- Part 7 I'm not buying into ...
- Part 8
Just how bad is the Big Ten?
- Part 9 Do you have any problems with Tim Tebow winning two
- Part 10 Give the 2010 Rankings for: Florida State, Miami,
Michigan, Nebraska & Notre Dame
- Part 11
How much do you care about non-BCS teams?
- Part 12 When
Should Players Be Eligible for the Draft?
- Part 13 The Next Really Big Superpower Will Be ...
- Part 14 The Best & Worst Interviews
You've Ever Done
- Part 15 Quick Hitters, Part 1: Greatest Players & Greatest Games
- Part 16 Quick Hitters, Part 2: The National Champion & Heisman
2007 Roundtable Discussion
- Part One
The BCS, tweaks, and
college football's biggest problem
- Part Two
off-field changes, steroids and cheating
- Part Three
Overrated, underrated, 10 years from now, & what fans don't understand
8. Is the Big Ten really that
bad, sub-question, do you mentally groan if Ohio State faces an SEC team
in the 2009 BCS Championship?
There's no question the
Big Ten is in the throes of a down period. I was just looking at some
numbers the other day -- 14-22 in bowl games over the past five years.
Wow. It's not surprising when you think about it. The middle of that
conference -- Penn State, Illinois, Iowa, Purdue, etc. -- simply aren't
that good. However, I'm not one to automatically pin Ohio State with
these blanket generalizations everyone likes to make about the Big Ten.
Ohio State has as much talent top to bottom as any team in the country.
They'll probably have more players drafted next spring than even USC.
But their conference definitely hurts them -- they don't get tested on a
I feel like
we're in a very similar era to the '70s, when Woody and Bo's teams would
beat up on the rest of the conference, then go to the Rose Bowl and get
smoked by USC or UCLA. The good news this year is we'll get a very good
read on Ohio State pretty early when they face USC. If they win that,
nobody will be able to say they don't belong in the national title game,
should they go 11-1 again.
Bruce Feldman: I don’t think the Big Ten is that bad. In fact, I
think Ohio State has as good a chance as anyone to play for the national
title. As for the rest, I think Illinois, Wisconsin and Penn State are
all solid teams unfortunately I’m not sure anyone believes any of them
are top 10 caliber right now while Michigan, which I think will be great
again in about two years, is in rebuild mode.
Charles Davis: No, no, no on the Big 10 question. Yes, Ohio
State’s last two National Title losses have hurt the luster of the
conference, and elevated the SEC, but upon closer examination, in the
last 20 to 25 SEC/Big 10 match-ups, I believe that the record is awfully
close to even. If the SEC is so superior, how did Michigan beat Florida
in the Capitol One Bowl last season? Wisconsin in back to back years
over Auburn and Arkansas? Penn State over Tennessee all time in bowl
match ups? Didn’t Ohio State beat Miami for the National Title not that
long ago (I understand that controversial call, but OSU also converted a
4th and 17 to keep the drive alive), and at that time Miami
was better than any SEC team. I played in the SEC and believe it is the
best conference in the nation, but the hype exceeds the reality in my
humble opinion. That being said, if Ohio State does make it back to the
BCS National Championship game and plays an SEC team, could you imagine
the pressure on the Bucks?
Dennis Dodd: The Big Ten is definitely in a down period. Tom
Lemming was right when he touched off a firestorm with that quote in the
Chicago Sun-Times. Recruiting is definitely sliding. Pesky programs like
Purdue, Michigan State and Iowa have fallen off. Michigan certainly
isn't going to be a factor this season. Rich Rod is going to get it
going but it's a square-peg, round-hole thing in 2008.
Ohio State is on the cusp of a dynasty. Three national championship
games in seven years ain't too shabby. Jim Tressel has proved himself
one of the best coaches in the country and by the time it's all over
maybe the best ever at Ohio State. The program has pumped out scores of
have been victims of a bad matchup in the last two BCS title games. That
those games were against SEC teams only proved what all of us believe
anyway: The SEC is best.
line in all this is that these past two seasons mean the Big Ten is dead
set against expansion now more than ever. Why put an Ohio State out
there against a sub-standard opponent and lose a shot at the national
if I see Ohio State play against another SEC team for the national
championship game I'm going to tear out what little hair I still have.
possible to mentally groan? The Big Ten was down last year, no question.
Just ask Appalachian State. Or Western Michigan, which busted a
seemingly bowl-bound Iowa. Then there was the Rose Bowl, in which
Illinois looked completely overmatched to a USC team that dominated the
I'd actually love to
see Ohio State-Georgia for the national title. The disparity at the top
of the leagues is not as great as the chicken-fried-steak crowd thinks
The Big Ten
sure as heck isn’t overrated anymore; I can’t remember the last time I
heard someone other than a conference coach or the commish say nice
things about it. But it’s definitely right there with any other league
after the SEC and, I suppose, the Pac-10. I’m tired of watching Ohio
State in the title game, but the Buckeyes have earned all the good
things they’ve gotten.
Just because the Big Ten can’t stack up with the SEC doesn’t mean
it’s a “bad” conference. Overrated and over hyped, especially this
season, yes. After Ohio State, there isn’t a ton of beef capable of
contending for a national title, but the league is no worse off than the
Pac-10, ACC, or Big East. If there are mental groans over another
Buckeye championship appearance, it won’t be coming from my direction.
For the same reason it was so delicious watching the Buffalo Bills get
four straight shots at redemption in the 1990s, Ohio State vs. Georgia,
for instance, would be flush with great storylines and sub plots.
That’s a match up you root to see.
Compared to what? Compared to the SEC, of course. Compared to the Big
12, this year, yeah. Compared to everyone else, I’d still take my
chances with the Big Ten from top to bottom. The league isn’t nearly as
bad as it’s being made out to be, but it does need to come through with
some splashy wins to change the skeptical public’s mind. Ohio State has
to beat USC. Michigan has to get through a difficult early part of the
season. Wisconsin can’t screw up at Fresno State. There also can’t be
any total embarrassments like the Appalachian State incident at Michigan
or Duke beating Northwestern.
No, I have no problems with Ohio State going to another national title
game. By OSU’s own admission, it didn’t get on the bus for the Florida
debacle, and it showed. It’s not like that Buckeye team was the first to
think that it could just show up and win a national title (ask 2000
Florida State or 1986 Miami). LSU was the better team than Ohio State
last year; the Buckeyes were supposed to lose. I think this year’s team
can play with, and beat, anyone.