Looking at this year’s Big 10 offering, I feel that the conference is somewhat more competitive in the FBS landscape. There are a lot of things that go into a conference’s “perceived” standing amongst the other conferences, but it impacts everything from TV time, recruiting, bowl appearances and so many other things.
The Big 10 did really well in bowl games last year, including winning two BCS bowl games. I still think the SEC is the toughest, meanest, most competitive conference out there; but I don’t think it is as dominant as it was in years past. Basically, the SEC West is tough with Arkansas, Auburn and Alabama. The SEC East has South Carolina, but Florida doesn’t seem to bring what they had in years past. The middle of the pack in the SEC isn’t as tough as it was in years past either. It wasn’t that long ago that Kentucky pulled an AP #5 ranking I believe, but Tennessee, Georgia and Kentucky are not that tough of a component.
The Big 10 as you know will have the University of Nebraska join the conference. With the addition, the Big 10 will incur two divisions as well as introduce a conference championship game. I’m exicted!
With Nebraska joining the fold, the competitiveness of the Big 10 increases significantly. Will Nebraska retain this level of competiveness? Will Michigan return to glory? Same for Penn State, to be honest. If all of these fall into place, there are years that I can clearly see the Big 10 as the premier conference in football.
As a side note, here is my “ranking” of FBS conferences thus far in 2010:
- SEC – Still tough, but the separation isn’t as much as it was in years past
- Pac-10 – Ironically, this conference is hot this year and USC isn’t part of the heat. They make a strong “middle of the pack” team, however.
- Big 10 – OSU, Iowa, Wisconsin, and yes Michigan State (Oh, and Northwestern?!?) are pretty hot this year.
- Big 12 – Nebraska and Oklahoma are carrying the burden of this conference. But watch Baylor, Oklahoma State and Kansas State.
- Mountain West – TCU, Air Force and Utah are all fielding great teams this year. Next year Boise State joins this conference. The Mountain West is consistently more competitive than the Big East or ACC, both of which are automatic entry conferences to the BCS bowls.
- ACC – NC State started hot, Miami is still a good team, Florida State is on the rebound but the verdict is out on Virginia Tech. Outside of that, still some questions on the ACC.
- Big East – This week, there are no Big East teams in the AP top 25…….
- WAC – Boise-love gets #8 on my list.
- Mid-American – The MAC has good football, but not so much this year.
- Conference USA
- Sun Belt