On the Big 10 myth

I made the mistake of reading comments attached to an SI college football article. Unfortunately, it is clear that the narrative that the Big 12 and the SEC are unbeatable has taken hold in the conscience of your average fan who has been watching college football for two seasons and thinks they now know everything there is to know. I've copied here selections from my post to the Big 12 and SEC fans claiming that PSU and the Big Ten should be banned from a National Championship game just to remind everyone of the "dominance" of the Big 12 and SEC over the Big Ten. Let me start by saying that the punchline is that Penn State is 7-2 against SEC and Big 12 teams in bowl games in the past 15 years.

Penn State is *not* Ohio State when it comes to bowl games. Let's look at PSU's bowl history in recent years:

2007 - beat Texas A&M (Big 12)
2006 - beat Tennessee (and the vaunted SEC speed that is too much for us Big Ten teams)
2005 - beat Florida State
2002 - lost to Auburn (SEC)
1999 - *shut out* Texas A&M (Big 12)
1998 - beat Kentucky (SEC)
1997 - lost to Florida (Joe benched Joe Jurevicius, and Curtis Enis was ineligible - his two best players)
1996 - beat Texas (Big 12)
1995 - beat Auburn (SEC)
1994 - beat Oregon
1993 - beat Tennessee (SEC)

so, PSU is 3-0 against the Big 12 in bowls in the past 15 years, and 4-2 against the SEC in bowls in the past 15 years (and I would put an asterisk by the loss to Florida). If you only want to talk about the last two years, PSU is 1-0 against the Big 12 and 1-0 against the SEC, and that was with Anthony Morelli at QB, not Daryl Clark. I think if you check, you will find that PSU was the underdog in most of those games. Most recently, Kirk Herbstreit pulled out the "SEC speed" argument to pick Tennessee to beat PSU in 2006, and if you go to YouTube, you'll see a highlight reel of PSU defensive backs pounding Tennessee receivers. It's hard to do that if the receivers are blowing by you (which they weren't).

So keep thinking that PSU is OSU and if matched up against the SEC or Big 12 it will be an automatic loss. I'll go into that game with history on my side, a coach with more bowl wins and more bowl appearances than anyone in history, and a .691 winning percentage in bowls. You all can keep thinking Joe Paterno is Jim Tressel and we'll see where that gets you.

Of course, I will be the first to admit that this is getting *way* ahead of ourselves -- I'm certain that one of the undefeated teams won't be undefeated by the end of the season. The reason for this rant is that the mob mentality is already beginning that says that OSU got embarrassed in bowls the last two years, so PSU shouldn't be allowed to play in the national championship even if they are undefeated. You can dismiss this as just talk by fans who don't know any better and it is harmless, but this is exactly the type of narrative that voted Nebraska national champion in 1994 because the fans "knew" that Penn State couldn't compete with Nebraska. I still say if they played head to head, the offense with three future Pro Bowlers would have won.


Blogger Mike said...

On the other hand, if there are three undefeated teams, someone has to get shut out. A few years ago, it was Auburn. Given how poorly the BIg 10 has done in their non-conference games this year, it would have to be PSU *if* there were three undefeated teams. But I would certainly take an undefeated PSU team over a 1-loss team, given how impressively they've walked through the BIg 10 ( so far).

I just find it hilarious that we see this every year. Fans get offended in advance for something that has yet to happen.

9:27 PM  

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