It seems like Big Ten coaches spent more time talking about the SEC than their own programs last week at the conference’s Media Days. From Urban Meyer explaining Ohio State turning in his former school Florida on a recruiting violation, and defending the discipline of former Gator Aaron Hernandez to Nebraska coach Bo Pelini’s comments comparing the two leagues.
This is what Pelini answered when asked about how his conference “can bridge the gap” between the Big 10 and SEC.
“You talking about Alabama? I guarantee there are a lot of teams in the SEC that aren’t Alabama that wish they were Nebraska, wish they were Michigan, wish they were Ohio State. Don’t talk to me about the SEC.
“You know, the whole SEC isn’t Alabama, it isn’t LSU, it isn’t Georgia. Let’s talk about certain teams. … There are some teams in the SEC that are trying to bridge the gap to be us. Everybody wants to lump the whole SEC into one category. Let’s not go there.”
First, do you think anyone ever asked former legendary Husker coach Tom Osborne about another conference’s dominance? Nada. Pelini, the former LSU defensive coordinator, isn’t chopped liver guiding Nebraska to the Big 12 Championship in 2009 and 2010, and the Big 10 Championship in 2012. His squads lost those games and haven’t won BCS game, even though they have finished in the AP Top 25 each of the past four seasons with a high finish of 14 in 2009.
Still, he isn’t Osborne (The Hall of Famer never let anyone hang 70 on his team either), and that’s why he is forced to answer awkward questions about other conferences.
It’s a valid question, especially when no one cares to ask him about his team’s chances of winning a national title this year because the Huskers aren’t mentioned in that discussion.
But to answer his question. Yeah, there are some SEC teams that would swap with Nebraska if that means playing in the Big 10.Last year Nebraska beat a Bret Bielema-led Wisconsin club 30-27 at home in the conference opener. They lost at Ohio State (63-38), won at Northwestern (29-28), beat Michigan (23-9) at home, won at Michigan State (28-24), beat Penn State (32-23) and Minnesota (38-14) at home and escaped at Iowa (13-7).
The Huskers played one road game at a legit hostile environment — Ohio State and lost big.
Pat Fitzgerald deserves a lot of credit at Northwestern but Evanston, Ill is hardly imposing. Then squeakers at MSU and Iowa.
I think most of the SEC West teams would take their chances with that schedule as opposed to having to
play three Top 15 teams and two other teams who were bowl eligible. Hardly compares, and Pelini won’t admit it, but he wouldn’t take the job at LSU if it’s offered because of the loaded West.
The Big 10 featured six teams that were less than average. In the Legends Division Michigan State finished 7-6 but was only 3-5 in league play. Minnesota and Iowa both finished 2-6.
In the Leaders Division Purdue (3-5), Indiana (2-6) and Indiana 0-8 were at the bottom.
So, if an SEC team replaced Michigan or Nebraska, they would have to play one of those two, which isn’t easy, but by SEC standards Northwestern, Michigan State, Minnesota and Iowa are not imposing.
If a school replaced Ohio State, you’d have to deal with Penn State, who did very well considering the adversity of the Jerry Sandusky debacle, and Wisconsin, who seems on the downward tilt without Bielema, and also rans Purdue, Indiana and Illinois, Again, this trade is a no-brainer for an East or West Division squad. If Ohio State had made the switch last year, the Buckeyes wouldn’t have gone undefeated.
If you want more proof how good the SEC is, they are 7-2 against the Big 10 in bowl games since 2010 and 21-17 since 1998 when the BCS Era began.
I know north of the Mason Dixon line the SEC’s dominance is tiring and redundant, but it doesn’t matter if it its Bob Stoops comparing the Big 12 or Pelini and the Big 10, the SEC reigns supreme from top to bottom. Each school represents (even Vanderbilt now) and while there may be bad teams it’s still not always easy to go there on a Saturday night and get the ‘W.’