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Posted on Tue, Aug 4, 2009 : 2:10 p.m.

Kirk Ferentz chimes in on the Big Ten-SEC debate

By Dave Birkett

Iowa was the lone bright spot in a pitiful postseason for the Big Ten last year, drubbing South Carolina in the Outback Bowl, 31-10.

While the league's showing as a whole (1-6) has added to the perception that the SEC is a far superior conference to the Big Ten, Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz said that school of thought is "exaggerated."

"I was at Iowa for nine years back in the 80s," Ferentz said. "I think there was a marked difference at that time. I think there were a lot of gaps regionally around the country, and I think things have changed in the nine years I was out of Division I football.

"Our teams have been competitive, and when I say our teams, our conference teams have been competitive. I still go back to 2002, coming into this meeting the sky was clearly falling. That was the tenor of the meeting. At the end of the season, we had four teams in the top 13 with Ohio State winning the national championship."

The Big Ten actually won BCS games two of the next three years, but has gone 0-6 (and 0-2 in championship games) since.

Ferentz said, despite some obvious geographical differences, it's a matter of time before perceptions change again.

"It seems like the more we talk about things, the more we focus on things, the more pronounced they become," he said. "And I'm not sure they're always factual. It's usually a pretty fine line between winning and losing in a lot cases, and I think the balance of power tends to go around."



Wed, Aug 5, 2009 : 3:33 p.m.

It would help if BigTen played tougher non-conf schedule. They play 4 easy games, play each other, and think they're good. When they face real football teams, they get crushed. As far as bowl games, I say best record gets home-field. If Big10 team has better record than Pac10, play in Soldier Field or Lambeau. I'd pick Badgers over Trojans in Green Bay in January. Also, a 8-team tourney will help hard-hitting Big10. How fast will the little guys run after a game or two of big hits? But doesn't it come down to money? Football is expensive, and the growing (at least they were) economies are in South and West. They can build better facilities, hire better coaches, and "recruit" better talent.


Wed, Aug 5, 2009 : 8:10 a.m.

I think you are right on maizenbluenc with your cycles. Michigan will be there again IF we give RR time to get things set up but if we dismiss him this year if he has a bad season, it will take us 3 more years to undo the recruiting he has done. Also let us not forget where these bowl games are all played. I still think 110,000 people at the NC game in AA would be a great place to play one and would love to see those SEC and Pac 10 schools play football in 10 degree temps with a little snow on the ground.


Tue, Aug 4, 2009 : 3:45 p.m.

I'm sorry, but when was the Big Ten the top dog in the eyes of the rest of the country. Seems like it was always the Big Two. The we added Penn State who went through a funk. Now Michigan is in a (hopefully shortlived) funk. The funny thing to me is, the Big East (particularly West Virginia) came from way down and surprised. (Nobody seems to give Rich Rod credit for that.) The Pac Ten has been like the Pac One. (The Big Ten wins Rose Bowls when USC isn't playing in it.) The Big Twelve's big name schools (Oklahoma and Nebraska) went through weak times and recovered. ND is in a funk. When is the last time the ACC had a National Champion (in football)?? The point - they've all had weak cycles... why isn't the ACC beign picked on? It's a cycle: in next season and the one after (not this one), when Pryor is really rocking at OSU, and Rich Rod is in year three with guys that are mostly his recruits, running his system, we may again see some epic football in late November, leading to better BCS outcomes.


Tue, Aug 4, 2009 : 1:26 p.m.

Yeah, right. The SEC isn't all that much better than the Big Ten. That's why Ron Zook lost five games a year at FL, but has suddenly become a "great coach" at Illinois. RR and UM are helping the Big Ten join this millenium, albiet a few years late, but the Big Ten still has a few more years of updating/evolution before they will be at the top again. The only way the Big Ten is going to get any respect is to beat SEC teams in the bowls and not look like they don't belong on the same field with them in NC games. A few Rose Bowl victories wouldn't hurt, either.