[BH: Bumped. It is Nebraska Week, and it is about Nebraska...]
Reading the first post on the blog about Nebraska this week got me excited: We have an excellent team coming to the Big Ten that will most likely solidify our conference as 2nd best (or at least permanently ahead of the Big 12). We aren't the Pac-12 getting a Colorado. This is a team that will compete for a division title every year and add yet another iconic stadium for fans to go crazy at.
Then, I started looking at the comments. To put it lightly, Nebraska fans don't know what they are talking about when it comes to Big Ten football. According to more than one Nebraska fan, the 'middle-tier' teams are of the same quality of the Big 12's 'middle-tier' teams. Also, the Big Ten's defenses are slow and if they want to injure Martinez "they’ll hit him hard, but they have to get to him first."
Okay, we will attack the first statement to start off. Our 'middle-tier' teams.
First of all, saying that the Big Ten's middle is of equal quality to the Big 12's is a bold statement to make on a B1G blog. Of course we are going to disagree with you. But, with disagreements come arguments, and to win an argument, you have to have something to base it off of. So far, none of us can say which one is tougher firsthand because no team has had to make that transition. But through a few statistics, it's hard to support Nebraska's case.
You see, the Big 12 has been in existence for 15 years. In those 15 years, only 7 teams have played for the Big 12 title. In fact, only 5 out of 15 years have been won by a school other than Oklahoma or Texas. But what does that mean? That means Iowa State, Texas Tech, Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Kansas have never even played for a title. In 15 years. Where is the competitive balance? Why have Oklahoma and Texas won 10 of the 15 championship games? (In fact, there have only been 2 Big XII championship games that did not include either Texas or Oklahoma)
The Big Ten, on the other hand is much more competitive. You can attribute that to our middle. Every B1G school has won the championship at least once since the Big Ten started.
But then again, the Big Ten has been around 100 years longer than the Big 12.
So, I decided to make it fair and look at the B1G since 1996. I'm sure, since the B1G's middle is SO much like the Big 12's, that there wouldn't be more than 6-7 teams competing for the championship every year. Right? Wrong. Since 1996, the Big Ten has had 9 different teams be at least co-champs (the equivalent of landing a spot in the championship game). And we have one less team than you. That is 82% of our teams being successful enough to compete for the title in 15 years. The Big 12 had 58% of their teams.
And need we remind those Nebraska fans of the Illinois over Baylor and a (7-5) Iowa team beating a (10-2) #12 ranked Mizzou? I didn't think so.
So, how bout those slow Big Ten defenders? The same slow Big Ten defenders that have the longest and second longest streak for holding opponents under 21 ppg (Ohio State since 1999 and Iowa since 2001)? The same defenders that you say won't injure Martinez unless they can catch him, yet have put the nation's second leading rusher (QB Denard Robinson) and to-be Heisman candidate (QB Persa) on the sidelines due to injury (and with a QB that couldn't stay healthy against BIG TWELVE defenders)?
And saying that "Nebraska defenders are faster" and that "The Big Ten's defenses are slow compared to the Big 12's" is uneducated to say the least.
NFL Draft 2011
B1G / BigXII
DL: 6 / 3
LB: 7 / 3
CB: 3 / 11
S: 1 / 0
Total: 17 / 17
Unless you know nothing about defense, most people find that defensive linemen and linebackers, along with safeties, tackle runners 95 times out of 100. As you can see, the B1G is very, very, very good at producing players who can tackle runners. And the Big 12 doesn't. Unless your cornerbacks were selected to switch to LB in the NFL because they were so good at stuffing the run, I think your defensive skill comes from the pass-defending.
In fact, there were 2 B1G teams in the Top-10 run-defense in 2010 and 5 in the Top-30. There was only 1 Big 12 (Texas A&M) in the Top-30. So unless you have a good defense (giggle) for that argument, you will be lucky to have "T-Magic" start every game for you this season.
And as a final thought, I would like to say that I expect Nebraska to do well. Yes, us B1G fans are going to defend our conference before you can prove us wrong, but that's college football for ya. It would be hard for me to believe a season with more than 3 or 4 losses for Nebraska, but then again, I wouldn't be surprised if they ended up with 3-4 losses. This is a totally different league with a level of competitiveness that the Big 12 didn't have, especially in the middle of the pack. And if you think Martinez will run for 900+ yards in the stop-run-first B1G like he did in the receiver-for-Heisman Big 12, then you will be in for a surprise. That's not to say you won't be successful in other areas.
Good luck, Nebraska. Hope Iowa kicks your ass.
**Added info, because Nebraska fans still think they know it all**
Some Nebraska fans have complained of the 3 co-champs a year, which is impossible through the Big 12. They say in 2000, Purdue was a co-champ, that if left out would leave only 8 co-champs. This was a Purdue team ranked higher than Michigan at the time of the championship. Not to mention, Purdue was in the OTHER DIVISION. So, we will say Michigan vs. Purdue, which leaves 9 teams in the running.
But what about Michigan State last year?! They certainly didn't deserve to be among co-champs! Well, my friend, they did. Again, Wisconsin and Ohio State will have to split it, but Michigan State is in their own division. Argument invalid, case closed. We have 9 contenders, the Big 12 didn't have a chance.
Not to mention, when Colorado won their division in 2004 and 2005, they went 4-4 and 5-3 in the division. WHAT THE EFF. Did you know the B1G has NEVER had a 3 loss team as a co-champ. NEVER. In the Big 12, FOUR teams have won or tied their division with 3 or more conference losses.
And for all you Nebraska fans saying "That's not fair, we don't have co-champions." Well, suck it up. This isn't about co-champions, this is about the strength of our conference. We have 82% of our teams competing regularly and you have just over half. It's hard to make an argument for that.
Someone in the comments also mentioned head-to-head B1G and Big 12 match-ups. Since 1996, the Big Ten has won nearly 60% of all their games vs. the Big 12 (318-221). It's hard to say that "the middle" had nothing to do with that.
In fact, the Big Ten has a winning record against every school in the Big 12 besides Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Nebraska. And I believe those teams, minus maybe Colorado, are your "upper tier", showing that your "middle tier' has not had much success against us. I don't know, but unless there is a fantastic argument out there, the Big 12 should start sitting back and nodding their head instead of yelling things they pretend to know.