A News Sports — 07 September 2014

footballThe Big Ten’s ever shrinking relevance in national college football receded further this weekend.  Two of its Top Ten teams–Michigan State and Ohio State lost badly in intersectional games. Michigan was embarrassed by Notre Dame (more on that in a moment). Even non conference wins were unimpressive as witnessed by Nebraska’s last minute win over McNeese State and Iowa struggling with a good Ball State team, but honestly, Iowa should always beat Ball State. Yesterday they were lucky they did.

After week two, you can ask will any Midwest team even make the first Final Four ?

Sure— Notre Dame is in line for another surprise run at the big prize. Oh how that must thrill the Big Ten, because you know they just love Notre Dame.

The Irish waxing Michigan 31-0 indicates Notre Dame is better than people thought and suddenly are in the national conversation. The Irish should be undefeated (assuming they can handle Stanford at home in early October) when they roll into Florida State October 18th.

If the Big Ten’s reputation took another hit, then the opposite happened with the ACC–the so-called basketball conference?

Before Virginia Tech beat Ohio State in Columbus, there were four ACC teams in the Top 25. The Hokies will be there this week to make at least five. The 35=21 win over the Buckeyes was impressive.

When you consider that the Hokies don’t play Florida State during the regular season, and that Frank Beamer’s teams normally get better as the year progresses, it gets you thinking that the ACC title game will be worth watching this year. Florida State’s schedule became a little more difficult with Notre Dame’s performance.

The ACC didn’t lose a non conference game this weekend.

Don’t  you think the Big Ten would like to make that claim?

The Pac 12’s statement game was Oregon versus Michigan State. The game was in Eugene which is a huge advantage for the Ducks. Michigan State, coached by the Big Ten’s best in Mark Dantonio had the Ducks in trouble for a while. The Spartans stalled and the Ducks took off and the results was a 46-27 win.

And to emphasize how deep the Pac 12 is, one of the conference favorites, Stanford, lost at home to USC, 13-10. The Pac 12 Champion will be one of the Final Four, just based on how deep and tough that conference is.

Don’t you think the Big Ten would like to make that claim?

Back to Michigan State for a moment. I think they are the conference’s best team. When you look at their schedule, you can make the argument that last night’s loss may be their last.

That brings us to the SEC. When you look at their games last night, it’s hard to find a worthy non conference opponent which is a growing criticism of the supposed best conference.

But last night wasn’t about the SEC. It was about the ACC whose reputation as a football conference is growing.

Don’t you think the Big Ten would like to make that claim?

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Ed Coghlan

Ed is a former television news director at KCOP in Los Angeles and the Montana Television Network. He writes on health, economic and public affairs issues.

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