Saturday, January 2, 2010

Big Ten vs. SEC

The following excerpt is from the Wall Street Journal's Darren Everson on the biggest misconceptions on college football. Thank you Mr. Everson!!

"One of the great misunderstandings in college football is that the Big Ten's bowl troubles are all-encompassing, that all of its teams look out of their depth against the Southeastern Conference.

In fact, the Big Ten does just fine year after year—in the early New Year's Day bowls that no one remembers, save for the schools involved. (It's the big games that have been the embarrassment.) Over the past dozen seasons, the Big Ten is now 13-11 against the SEC in the Outback and Capital One bowls. That's a winning record over a significant timespan against upper-level SEC teams in SEC country.

This dynamic was on display again Friday, as Penn State defeated LSU in the Capital One. And even though Auburn outlasted Northwestern in an epic Outback Bowl, the Wildcats amassed 619 yards to Auburn's 425. Anyone who watched the two games would be forced to conclude that the supposedly superior level of play throughout the SEC is an illusion.

Of course, the Big Ten might've dropped both games if coach Les Miles's team were better at clock management. Down two, LSU got the ball back at its own 41 with just under a minute left, but again the offense was bizarrely inept at the two-minute drill, just as they were in a loss against Mississippi earlier this season. This is the sort of bugaboo that enrages fans—who are always inclined to second-guess coaches—and could one day imperil Mr. Miles's standing if it keeps up.

Another myth that needs to die: the belief that Big Ten teams are boring and stuck in the Stone Ages strategically. Northwestern put on arguably the most entertaining bowl performance since Boise State's classic Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma following the 2006 season. The Wildcats threw an outrageous 78 passes, tied the game on a trick-play two-point conversion that involved a reverse and a pass, and then tried to win the game on a fake field goal in overtime.

The Big Ten's year-by-year performance against the SEC in the Outback and Capital One games—which typically match the conferences' third- and fourth-best teams, since the top two often wind up in the Bowl Championship Series—suggests the depth and quality of play across the Midwest is equal to the sport's most-feared conference. If not better. The problem has been the lack of powerhouse teams at the top."


1 comment:

Marcus said...

Amen... Mikey I know you and I talk about it all the time, but I've really been tired of it as of late. And what happens after Ohio State wins, we win vs. top SEC team, NW puts up one hell of an effort, and MSU slightly loses to one of the Big 12's top teams? Not a word on Sportscenter or College Football Live in the days following. I'm still trying to track down a clip where the analysts admit that they are wrong. Ridiculous if you ask me.