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How does the Big Ten rank?

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Darren "Doogie" Wolfson is a... well, I'm not quite sure what he is to be honest. I guess he could be described as a blogger for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He's got a bit of pedigree as he worked for KFAN radio in the Twin Cities for 12 years, and he happens to be a pretty big Minnesota Gopher fan.

In any case, Doogie put together Some Keys to Victory for this weeks tilt against the Cal Golden Bears. But that's not what this is about.

Doogie made this comment in the post:

When the Gophers wrap-up each practice, they huddle together and shout, "1-2-3 BIG TEN CHAMPS ROSE BOWL." It's a lofty goal, but not completely Kanye West at the MTV Video Music Awards-like -- outrageous!

Fair enough right (although the Kanye West comment was a bit of a reach... trying to stay relevant much?)? He doesn't think it's outrageous that they Gophers have Rose Bowl aspirations. In my opinion the Gophers, and every Big Ten team, SHOULD have Rose Bowl aspirations every year. But that's also not the point here.

The point here is Wolfson's next coment:

That's in large part because the Big Ten is at best the 5th best conference in the country. It's not strong this year.

5th best? Really?

I know this is a hot topic that we all love to talk about, but I've never heard anyone ranking the Big Ten 5th.

Look, I'm prepared to succumb to the idea that the Big Ten isn't the best conference in college football. I'd bow the idea that the Big Ten is maybe the third best conference in the country behind the SEC and Big 12. And I'd even go as far as to admit that maybe (MAYBE!!!) an argument could be made for the Big Ten being the fourth best conference in the country, putting the Pac 10 ahead of them (although at BEST, I think that the Pac 10 and Big Ten are tied... but I digress).

Make sure to go back and submit your picks for Week 3 of the Obligatory Predictions Contest. Weekly winners get a chance to write 500 words on the site. NEW this year is our season long competition - win the whole damn thing and we send you something amazing.

But are there really four conferences that are stronger, top to bottom, than the Big Ten? So let's say Doogie believes the SEC, Big 12 and Pac 10 are the top three conferences. Who's the fourth? He can't be talking about the ACC, can he? And I KNOW he's not talking about the Big East.

It's important to look at top to bottom performance here. The strength of teams 4-7 are just as important as teams 1-3 when we are talking about overall conference strength.

What are your thoughts on this? Where does the Big Ten rank as a conference? Once we have some comments and poll results perhaps we'll revisit this topic.