Is the Big Ten Really Down?

To reiterate my point that the meat of the conference (the middle pack) is way more important to the public perception than the top schools of a league, lets break it down conference by conference. We'll focus on the biggies again...the Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Pac-10 and ACC. How well have each conference's top 2 teams and mid-level teams (3 thru 9) fared against out-of-conference opponents from the other major leagues (& ND) since 2003?

I based my rankings on record against said opponents since '03.

Big Ten (Top 2)
Ohio State: 8-3
Wisconsin: 6-3
Total: 14-6, .700

Big Ten (3 thru 9)
Illinois: 0-8
Iowa: 6-5
Michigan: 4-8
Michigan State: 3-5
Penn State: 5-4
Purdue: 6-5
Minnesota: 2-3
Total: 26-38, .406

Big 12 (Top 2)
Missouri: 7-2
Texas: 6-3
Total: 13-5, .722

Big 12 (3 thru 9)
Colorado: 2-10
Iowa State: 2-3
Kansas: 1-3
Nebraska: 5-3
Oklahoma: 5-4
Oklahoma State: 4-3
Texas A&M: 1-6
Total: 20-43, .317

SEC (Top 2)
Georgia: 9-0
LSU: 9-1
Total: 18-1, .947

SEC (3 thru 9)
Alabama: 3-3
Arkansas: 2-5
Auburn: 6-4
Florida: 8-5
Kentucky: 4-1
South Carolina: 4-5
Tennessee: 4-6
Total: 31-29, .516

Pac-10 (Top 2)
California: 7-3
USC: 16-1
Total: 23-4, .851

Pac-10 (3 thru 9)
Arizona: 0-4
Arizona St: 6-3
Oregon: 4-4
Oregon St: 3-2
UCLA: 5-4
Washington: 1-5
Washington St: 3-5
Total: 22-27, .448

ACC (Top 2)
Boston College: 6-0
Florida St: 6-6
Total: 12-6, .666

ACC (3 thru 9)
Clemson: 4-5
Georgia Tech: 3-6
Miami: 4-4
North Carolina St: 2-3
Wake Forest: 3-4
Virginia: 1-2
Virginia Tech: 1-6
Total: 18-30, .375

So as you can see, the Big Ten ranks #4 in top 2 and #3 in three thru nine.

The Big 12, given these numbers, is definitely over-rated. I don't see how the "experts" call this the 2nd best conference in the country? Their three thru nine teams are simply awful out-of-conference. They're worse overall than the ACC, and the ACC is pretty bad.

The Pac-10 gets a huge boost from USC. And their other teams do surprisingly well OOC...even though we do realize that Pac-10 teams only typically play 3 OOC games each, per year.

And of course, the SEC...which, even I have to admit is pretty frickin good. They rank #1 in both categories. And what makes it even more impressive is that they also have to beat up on each other all year...and then go OOC to beat up on other teams.

So I have to ask, is the Big Ten really down?

You could make the argument (and I will), that USC, LSU and Georgia are skewing the numbers. Those 3 teams make up for the bulk of OOC wins for their conferences. It's not even close. They have a combined record of 34-2 against quality OOC teams since 2003!

If anything, take away those 3 teams, and every conference is all pretty much the same. The Big Ten is not down. There is just 3 dominant teams, and a ton of parity.

It's time to get past this idea of just the top teams being important to the overall perception of a conference. If you want to cheer for tOSU this weekend to beat USC, go ahead. But will it really change the perception if Iowa blows another one to Iowa State, or if Purdue gets lit up by Oregon, or if Michigan stubs their toe against the Irish? This blogger doesn't think so.

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