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Big Ten recent bowl nemesis is Big 12

The Big Ten-SEC rivalry is alive and well, and you'll hear plenty about it in the coming weeks as bowl season heats up.

From the commissioner level to the fan level, the Big Ten and the SEC are always trying to one-up each another. Colleague Chris Low and I are in negotiations about a cage match, as long as we can get it on pay-per-view.

But perhaps the Big Ten's venom should be directed elsewhere this time of year.

While Ohio State's back-to-back blowout losses in the national title game to SEC opponents still hurt the Big Ten's national reputation, the SEC holds only a slight edge in bowls (14-12) against the Big Ten in the past decade. The leagues have split 12 bowl matchups during the past five seasons (2005-09).

The Big Ten's real bowl bugaboo in recent years has come against teams from the Big 12.

The Big Ten has lost five consecutive bowl matchups to the Big 12 and eight of the last nine stretching back to bowls played after the 2005 season. Two of the Big Ten's three bowl losses last year came against Big 12 foes (Texas Tech and Iowa State). Penn State's 24-17 win against Texas A&M in the 2007 Alamo Bowl marks the Big Ten's lone triumph during the sorry stretch.

The two leagues play three times in the coming days:

Insight Bowl: Iowa vs. Missouri, Dec. 28

Texas Bowl: Illinois vs. Baylor, Dec. 29

TicketCity Bowl: Northwestern vs. Texas Tech, Jan. 1

The Big 12 is favored in all three matchups, so the Big Ten faces an uphill climb.

Location obviously hurts the Big Ten in its bowl matchups with the Big 12, and the Big Ten's new bowl lineup doesn't help matters. The Big Ten now will play two postseason games in the state of Texas, where four of the soon-to-be 10 Big 12 schools are located. Both Illinois and Northwestern face teams playing in their home state for bowl games.

At some point, though, the Big Ten must stem the recent trend. The Big 12 is a good league but not a great one this season, and Big Ten teams have opportunities to break through.

So forget about the SEC for a bit.

If the Big Ten wants to prove it's an elite league, it has to start faring better against the Big 12 in bowls.