Jim Delany didn't do his research.
Earlier this month, the Big Ten commissioner fired off an "open letter" on the conference's website to college football fans comparing his league to the SEC.
The letter, which was subsequently e-mailed to national writers, was a reaction to a story by a Chicago Sun-Times high school writer about the SEC's recruiting dominance over the Big Ten.
|Michigan's Alan Branch might be the first defensive lineman taken in the NFL Draft. (Getty Images)|
To catch up, recruiting analyst Tom Lemming suggested in the article that the Big Ten lower its admission standards: "Then they can get anyone into school they want."
The piece is so full of generalities that maybe Delany couldn't take it any more. (The SEC is good and has fast athletes. Really? Wow.) But in responding, the usually collegial commissioner took some thinly veiled shots at the SEC.
"I love speed and the SEC has great speed," Delany wrote. "... but there are appropriate balances when mixing academics and athletics ... winning our way requires some discipline and restraint with the recruitment process."
Our way? One SEC official said he was "shocked" that Delany went there in terms of academics.
That reinforces stereotypes: that the SEC is a renegade league that sacrifices academics at the altar of football And, that the Big Ten is a bunch of Midwestern elitists.
But for every Northwestern, I can give you a Vanderbilt. What's the bigger football factory -- Michigan or Florida?
All this seems to have sprung from a bad night by Ohio State in the BCS title game, particularly the offensive line. But that's all it was, a bad night.
Florida's defense was dominant. But the highest drafted defensive lineman in April might be the Wolverines' Alan Branch.
There was a time when the Big Ten was slower than the SEC. But Delany's league long ago began going into Florida and California. Tom Brady is from, where, exactly? (San Mateo, Calif.) Ohio State's most versatile player on the 2002 national championship team was Chris Gamble of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.