So, Sporting News morlock Tom Dienhart has eloquently decided that the Big Ten "ain't that good. He poses 25 questions after last Saturday's action (most of them, elementary; the rest, needless), and number six on his list is:
6. Is it time to apologize to the ACC and Big 12 for calling them the worst conferences in the nation? I think so. The Big Ten looks mighty putrid, save for Ohio State and Michigan. Yes, I know all about Wisconsin, Iowa and Penn State. And, I'm here to tell ya: They ain't that good.
First, it's a mistake to group Penn State with Wisconsin and Iowa. I've been advocating that UW is the clear #3 team in the league, and Iowa looked pathetic in its loss to Indiana and overmatched against Michigan, but the Badgers and the Hawkeyes will settle things on the field of play at the end of the season. However, to call Wisconsin "ain't that good" is wilfully ignorant, which appears to be Dienhart's MO anyway. OK, so Purdue's not an impressive team. But they had the Big Ten's most powerful offense going into Saturday, and the Badgers not only kept them out of the end zone, but they only let them get the ball through the uprights ONCE! And just ask every rushing defense in the Big Ten (besides Michigan's, the NUMBER ONE defense in the nation) what they think about PJ Hill. In Tom Dienhart's world, he "ain't that good."
What's most bizarre about this is that question number six directly follows this one:
5. Are we sure Ohio State is the best team in the nation? Gosh, I'm thinking more and more that the top team may be Michigan. Does that excite you, Big Blue Boy? Sure it does.
You're thinking that after the Wolverines beat Iowa, a team that you specifically called out as "ain't that good?" I realize it's tough to come up with 25 questions, but at least space them out such that the juxtaposition of any two causes minds to boggle at your simplistic views.
Thanks to the Journal-Sentinel's Dave Heller and his fantastic blog for pointing this out. Heller's entry is worth a read. He surveys the AP poll voters and finds that a couple of them are voting Wisconsin in the top ten. I will take that as vindication for my own, seemingly homer-based views on where the Badgers rank. They're a good team, and if this wasn't 2006, they'd be the toast of the conference.
But let's finish up with a few easy answers to Dienhart's questions:
7. Will Nebraska EVER get over the hump under Bill Callahan?
No. Callahan is making things too complicated. In college football, complexity = death. See also: the spread offense after three or four years, Michigan's defense under Jim Herrmann. Callahan needs to run a college offense in a college program, not an NFL scheme.
10. How loudly is Big East commish Mike Tranghese laughing? His league has three unbeaten teams (West Virginia, Louisville and Rutgers) and perhaps the most exciting conference race in the nation.
11. Speaking of the Big East, could there ever be a greater injustice if West Virginia or Louisville goes unbeaten and gets passed over for the national championship game by a one-loss team from another "glamour" league?
You're the dumbest person anywhere who gets paid to write about college football. Nobody west of the Alleghenies cares about the Big East, save for a few folks scattered around Kentucky. Thank goodness Louisville, West Virginia, and Rutgers all play one another. I'm hoping each team wins once so we can set aside any "controversy" that might linger from an undefeated Big East school getting shut out of the title game. If you think that the offenses of these teams could keep them in a game against USC, Texas, Florida, Auburn, Clemson, or even Wisconsin or Iowa -- teams that have similarly-powerful offenses but also play some, y'know, defense -- you're stone-cold crazy. Both Louisville and West Virginia eventually outscored Syracuse by a respectable margin, but they let the Orange(men) hang around for two or three full quarters. Syracuse is not a good team. It would be an injustice if these teams MADE it to the championship game, not if they were kept out.
12. Was I the only guy who was grateful to go to bed on Saturday night knowing Stony Brook beat Sacred Heart? Thanks, ESPN ticker!
I'm anti-mid-major (don't believe me? Check out where I rank undefeated Boise State) and I don't really care about college football outside of Division IA, but you know what? Some people do. People attend these schools, root for their teams, and like to know how they're doing. What an asinine thing to pick on.
Plus, don't you just hear this shrill, wheedling tone when you read this guy's commentary? Pinch your nose and say, "Thanks, ESPN ticker!" This is how I hear it.
14. Was I the only guy on the globe hoping like heck Duke was gonna pull out a victory vs. Miami? Ah, come on, admit it. It's OK. It's Miami.
Dude, EVERYONE was pulling for this. If you don't know that, you're probably using your thumb to take the pulse of the college football fans of America.
19. Am I the only guy who wondered why Washington didn't go for the two-point conversion -- and the win -- after scoring that touchdown with no time on the clock at Cal? You have your foe on its heels, you're on the road playing with a backup quarterback who already has tossed four picks … Geesh, I don't know.
We don't have ties anymore. I agree with this call if we're not in the overtime era -- play to win! -- but I think you have to count on your team to win in OT.
23. Did you notice Eastern Michigan got its first victory of the season? Uh, probably not. I did, and I'm happy. Eagles head coach Jeff Genyk is one of the sport's good guys who deserves better.
This from the guy who won't abide a ticker mention of Stony Brook and Sacred Heart.
25. Has anyone seen Trev Alberts? I miss the big pompous fella.
Can you tell me what color this kettle is? At least Trev was high-profile when he was a fountain of arrogant drivel.
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