Is The Big Ten Really That Bad?

Eric BennettContributor IJanuary 6, 2009


The Big Ten finished the bowl season with a 1-6 record, but did Ohio State's performance against the No. 3 Texas Longhorns say more about the quality of the Big 10, or more about Jim Tressel's recruiting class?

The Big 10's lone victory came against the SEC, when Iowa took care of South Carolina 31-10. Other close games included: Northwestern losing in overtime to Chase Daniel and the Missouri Tigers, and Georgia beat Michigan State 24-12 after the Bulldog's Matthew Stafford threw three touchdown passes in the last 15 minutes.

Ohio State gave up a 26-yard touchdown pass in the final seconds of the Fiesta Bowl on Monday night and ultimately lost 24-21 to the Longhorns.

I honestly thought the Buckeyes were going to get routed for the third straight BCS bowl in a row.

I am a fan of the Pac-10, Notre Dame, and every time I see the Buckeyes go to a BCS game I question whether they should be there or not. I question whether they would win as many games if they played in the SEC or Big 12.

But Ohio State, with the exception of the third quarter, looked like they belonged in this BCS matchup against a very good Longhorns team led by deadly accurate Colt McCoy.

The game came down to a 4th-and-3 play, and it came down to inches. The Longhorns were able to gain just enough inches with about 40 seconds left in the game to continue their scoring drive.

Ohio State has made strides in becoming a more dangerous team. For the first time in three years they did not get manhandled in the postseason. They came within inches of winning a BCS bowl game with a freshman quarterback. That's impressive, and the Buckeyes' defense didn't look too bad either.

Beanie Wells looked great before he suffered a concussion. The Big 10 features three of the nation's top running backs in Michigan State's Javon Ringer, Iowa's Shonn Greene, and Wells.

All three of these running backs were in the Big 10 bowl games that were relatively close or won.

Great recruits are always going to go to Ohio State—and probably Michigan as well—but going into the Fiesta Bowl, I believed the Big 10 was baloney.

I think McCoy deserved the Heisman and I believed Texas deserved to play Florida in the BCS championship.

Now I think Ohio State is a real quality team. I can't imagine what will become of Terrelle Pryor in the future.

I still believe there are a slew of conferences that are above the Big 10, but because of their terrible bowl record this season, and Michigan's worst season ever, it seems like the Big 10 is at its all-time worst.

But is the Big 10 really that bad? Is Ohio State legit? Or is OSU and three running backs from the Big 10 the only legitimate forces?

I'd like to hear what people have to say and I will leave these questions up for others to decide.