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Big Ten mailblog

9/22/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Seems like this little rant struck quite the chord.

Jack from Midwest City, Okla., writes: Adam what have you been drinking. USC got beat by an 0-12 team! OSU could've beaten SC if they had a QB. OU is playing with a backup QB. This will all be disspelled after the Miami-OU game. If the backup QB (Landry Jones) goes into Miami and wins, then watch out! I think you media guys are the ones that set the tone! Just like the FSU-BYU game Saturday it reminds me of the OU-TTU game last year I think the best teams won but it is certainly not indicative of the difference in the two teams. Sometimes teams get on a roll and that's called college football!

Adam Rittenberg: Well, we can agree on that last sentence, Jack, but let's explore your logic. USC didn't get beat by an 0-12 team. USC got beat by a 1-1 team that gave LSU a game and has its standout quarterback (Jake Locker) back on the field. The Trojans also played with their backup quarterback (Aaron Corp). Now I agree if Jones goes into Miami and beats the surging Canes, Oklahoma should definitely get the nod over Ohio State. But to this point in the season, before conference play begins, Ohio State has a better resume than the Sooners. The BYU loss looks worse than the USC loss because of what BYU did against Florida State.


Donovan Clark from Tulsa, Okla., writes: Adam, i know you are a Big 10 homer - but seriously, were there tears in your eyes when you wrote this awful story about how OSU doesnt get ragged on like OU? Listen, OU plays in a very good conference - the same can NOT be said about OSU. Yes, yes, yes i know about the BCS bowl losses, but hey, who wouldnt want to get to 4 (count em 4!) national championship games in 10 years? And OU won one of them!! Every team would love that to be at that level. Stop crying. OU lost their QB and the best tight end in the country, and lost to a good team on a neutral site - by 1 freaking point. Dude, are you blind?? Do you not realize that OSU barely beat Navy at home at full strength?? Come on man, you are so biased, it's shameful. Your momma ought to slap you. Anyway, i have left my real name and real email address in the fields to the left. So please reply anytime. Big 10 = weak; Big IX = strong

Adam Rittenberg: Don't be talkin' bout my momma. You know the funny thing, Donovan? Your comment about national championship games and "every team would love to be at that level" sounds awfully familiar. I hear it all the time from Ohio State fans because they can make the same case as Oklahoma fans. Yet their team regularly gets trashed while Oklahoma gets a pass. Ohio State's win against Navy certainly wasn't impressive, but BYU lost a ton of credibility by performing like it did against Florida State. And what's the Big IX? Is that a new conference?


Blair from Oklahoma City writes: Ohio State and the Big Ten do not play conference championship games. Oklahoma and the Big XII do. This is why people hate on Ohio State. They do undefeated through a weak Big Ten schedule, finish it off by playing a weak Michigan team, and play in a bowl game. Oklahoma, on the other hand, plays in the slightly better Big XII, wins in a "big game" at the conference championship game, and THEN loses in the bowl game. Difference? Bob Stoops can't win bowl games. Jim Tressel can't win the big game. And Ohio State-Michigan doesn't count.

Adam Rittenberg: That's a fair point if we were talking end-of-season rankings, Blair, but last I checked, neither Ohio State nor Oklahoma has played a conference game. So Ohio State should be punished by what the Big Ten didn't do last year or the year before? The Big Ten hasn't looked great so far this year, but has the Big 12 done so much better? Kansas has looked good and Missouri is a nice surprise, but so is Michigan. Then there's that team in Boulder. I'd say both leagues have a lot to prove in the bowl season after terrible results for the Big Ten and average results for the Big 12 last year. But to rank Oklahoma ahead of Ohio State based on conference strength before league play has even started seems a bit out of whack. The Sooners got the bump based on USC's loss and didn't get penalized for BYU embarrassing itself.


Brett from Urbandale, Iowa, writes: Hey, Adam:Why no love for the Hawkeyes on your power rankings ballot?? It is kind of sad that your Pac-10 colleague (Ted) had us so highly ranked (17) and you've got us outside your top 25.To quote you from a previous blog post: "No Big Ten team has looked more impressive the last two weeks than the Hawkeyes, though national respect is still hard to come by." We (Big Ten)can't expect to get national respect if our own proponents/correspondents don't show us any first.I enjoy your blog and am looking forward to hearing your response.

Adam Rittenberg: Thanks, Brett. There's a big difference between proponent and correspondent, and I'd definitely put myself in the latter category. As for Iowa, the reason I didn't rank the Hawkeyes in the power rankings had more to do with what other teams did. Arizona was a nice win, but Auburn looked a bit more impressive with the victory against West Virginia. I've received a ton of e-mails from Hawkeyes fans complaining about the AP Poll. My advice: It's Week 4. Beat Penn State and Happy Valley and you won't have any trouble earning respect. And if you beat Penn State, you can stop stumping for Northern Iowa (amen).


Brad from Athens, Ohio, writes: Do the Hoosiers have a chance in the Big House on Saturday? What do they need to do to come away with a win and what would it mean for the rest of IU's season?

Adam Rittenberg: Indiana needs defensive ends Jammie Kirlew and Greg Middleton to put a ton of pressure on Tate Forcier. The pass rush gives the Hoosiers a chance and they need to linebackers to be assignment sound against Michigan's multifaceted rushing attack. Michigan's defense has some holes, but Indiana needs to establish the run game and hit on a big play or two. It'll be very tough to get a win, but it would certainly keep Bill Lynch safe and put IU in position for a bowl run.


Mark from Seattle writes: The Illini pass defense has been awful (and lost their MLB for the season), Pryor actually threw for 300 yards last week. Is this a disaster in the making for Zook?

Adam Rittenberg: Terrelle Pryor hasn't put up huge passing numbers, but he can hit on the big play, especially to wideout Dane Sanzenbacher. Illinois' secondary needs to step up and take away the Buckeyes' deep passing attack. But more important, the Illini front four needs to contain Pryor and the run game and force third-and-long situations. If Pryor gets free, it could be a long day for Ron Zook and Illinois. Martez Wilson will be missed.


Jeff from Shawnee, Okla., writes: I see and understand your arguement however I think the reason OU seems to always get the nod over OSU is the Big 12 is perceived the stronger conference during the regular season. But for sure entertainment value who would you rather watch? OSU 3 yards and a cloud of dust or a back up QB in his second start set school passing records that 2 Heisman winners and a runner up the past 9 years never did? Its not discrimination Adam its just a better brand of football to watch and the voters just vote that way. I suggest a home and home series to settle it though what do you think?

Adam Rittenberg: I like offense just as much as the next guy, and I really enjoyed the Texas-Oklahoma, Texas-Texas Tech and Oklahoma-Oklahoma State games from last year. But some of these yards and points totals are ridiculous. I watch the NFL, too, and I see a brand of football that's a lot closer to what I see in the Big Ten each week. I'll agree that watching Ohio State's offense has been difficult at times, but there's something to be said for decent defense as well. As to your last point, the great thing is there will be a home-and-home series between Ohio State and Oklahoma in 2016 and 2017. So things will eventually get settled on the field.