Back From Where? The Muck Of Grueling Mediocrity?

The early front-runner in the Ridiculous Comment of the Week Award comes from ESPN’s Rodney Gilmore.

During Sunday’s BCS announcement, Gilmore looked at the standings and declared that the Big Ten is back. Apparently, having Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State in the top nine of the BCS is a sign of a superior conference.

How do we know? Because the Big Ten tells us so. As noted football expert E. Gordon Gee declared, they don’t play the Little Sisters of the Poor, so it must be a great conference. Apparently, E. Gordon Gee has never seen Indiana play football.

But let’s take a look at which schools they do play. In non-conference games this year, the three Big Ten co-champs went unbeaten against: UNLV, San Jose State, Arizona State, Austin Peay, Marshall, Miami (Fla.), Ohio, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Florida Atlantic, Notre Dame, and Northern Colorado. The real Little Sisters of the Poor would be ashamed to face that schedule.

Bud Withers of The Seattle Times took a look at the Big Ten’s credentials for being considered an elite conference, and he wasn’t impressed. The headline (“Big Ten is strong, because . . . it says so?”) pretty much sums it up.

Which brings us back to Gilmore’s comment. The fact that three Big Ten teams managed to go 11-1 (Ohio State and Michigan State didn’t even play one another) isn’t evidence of a strong conference; it just might be evidence that the rest of your league is pathetic. Especially when one of the Big Ten’s biggest non-league victories came when Wisconsin defeated ASU 20-19 in Madison — yes, the same ASU that finished 4-5 in the Pac-10.

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