Blog Entry

A Big 10 team in SEC country is not quite as rare

Posted on: September 6, 2011 5:25 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi

Yesterday, my colleague Bryan Fischer posted the last time each of the SEC teams had made a trip to Big Ten country for a road game. The results, while not surprising, were still pretty brutal: six had never faced a Big Ten team as an active member of the SEC, and of the three programs that had made the trip in the last 30 years, two are perennial doormats Vanderbilt and Kentucky, and the last is LSU -- a 36-33 loser to Ohio State in 1988. Not a good look for the mighty SEC powerhouses, but such is their strategy, and it's hard to argue with results: avoiding the Big Ten hasn't stopped the SEC from winning championship after championship, so who's the real sucker here?

Still, some fans wanted to know the other side of the story, namely, whether the Big Ten was also filled with scaredy-cats who are afraid to face the SEC on its own turf. Clearly, this hypothesis is false, as the Big Ten plays multiple bowl games a year against the SEC in the SEC footprint, and has done so for decades. On the other hand, the SEC does not go to any bowl games within the Big Ten footprint, though I've lived in the Midwest for 30 winters now, and I do not blame the SEC for staying down there come December and January. It sucks up here.

However, there is still the question of regular season scheduling and whether the Big Ten does any of that, since we're talking about true road games in the regular season. So here's the breakdown, and while it's more ambitious than the SEC's m.o., that's not saying a whole lot.


at Florida, September 23, 1967, lost 14-0


at Kentucky, September 18, 2004, lost 32-51


Never played at an SEC school.


Never played at an SEC school (did play at Kentucky, Vanderbilt and South Carolina prior to each's SEC affiliation).

 Michigan State

at Kentucky, November 2, 1946, lost 14-39 (Michigan State did not join the Big Ten until 1953)


Never played at an SEC school.


at Auburn, October 2, 1982, won 41-7 (Nebraska did not join the Big Ten until this year, obviously)


at Vanderbilt, September 4, 2010, won 23-21

 Ohio State

at LSU, September 26, 1987, tied 13-13

 Penn State

at Alabama, September 11, 2010, lost 3-24


at Vanderbilt, October 3, 1942, lost 26-0


at LSU, September 30, 1972, lost 27-7

Obviously Iowa and Minnesota have some 'splainin' to do, but by and large we see a somewhat greater -- or at least more recent -- willingness from the Big Ten to travel down south for a non-conference game. The average year of the SEC's last games at Big Ten schools is 1963 (not including Tennessee), while the Big Ten's is 1980 (again, not including nonparticipants Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota). That's still an average layoff of 31 years, which is way too long -- or at least it would be without the several bowl games between the two conferences -- but the SEC is the clear conference of wimps and shrinking violets when it comes to scheduling.

But again, that all said, it doesn't matter. the SEC doesn't need road games with the Big Ten to win championships; if anything, the elite of the conference have figured out that it's not worth their time to risk early losses in the non-conference schedule. Voters don't really care about strength of schedule next to good old wins and losses -- if they did, LSU wouldn't still be ranked behind Alabama (victors over Kent State) and Oklahoma (who really took it to Tulsa, which, yeah) even after pantsing Oregon as badly as it did. See? Huge win, barely made a difference. Win go up, lose go down. That's all polling boils down to, the SEC knows it, and the SEC gets its wins however it can. They know the system. You can't blame them for that.

Of course, it's nothing to be really proud of either, you wimps, but as long as the SEC keeps winning championships, the means are secondary to the ends. 

Since: Oct 29, 2007
Posted on: September 6, 2011 7:07 pm

A Big 10 team in SEC country is not quite as rare

I didn't know there were any bowl venues in the Big 10 footprint except for the MAC bowl in Detroit (none BCS).  The Big 10/12 is designed for cold weather football which is slower and tougher.  You may have noticed how well a sound and solid Wisconsin team did against an undermanned TCU team in the Rose Bowl.  Seems to me the Big 10/12 prefers to play the MAC teams instead of REAL teams.  But lets watch how well Penn State handles Alabama this weekend.  I believe the game is in Big 10/12 territory.

Since: Dec 23, 2010
Posted on: September 6, 2011 5:59 pm

A Big 10 team in SEC country is not quite as rare

I think there is a reason why Michigan and Iowa do not have a history of playing an SEC team prior to 1970.  Both Universities had Black athletes as members of there teams dating as far back as 1920 or earlier.  It would not have been possible to take a team south with the conditions prior to 1970.  The intersectional contest just did not occur for that reason. 

Since: Sep 5, 2010
Posted on: September 6, 2011 5:56 pm

A Big 10 team in SEC country is not quite as rare

Blah, blah, blah... as long as they win... blah, blah, blah.

Inferior academic rules.  Incredibly relaxed JC transfer rules.  Little to no policing of arrests, drug testing, etc.  More than half of their bowls every season are within a four hour drive of their school (e.g. home game).  They don't play road games against major and competitive conferences - at least never at the beginning of a season... etc. etc. etc.  A Bama booster with a LOT of information was murdered in 2006 for G#d's sake!

...and all of this is justified because they "win"?!?!?

Try adjusting the aforementioned points to those of the B10 and let's see how many games let alone NC's they win.  Outside of Vanderbilt, most couldn't even field a team.  Again, EVERY fan of the SEC should be insisting on these conference rule changes.  If they are so great, they should want to prove it - on an even playing field!      

I've said it once and I'll say it again... when someone does ANYTHING possible to make sure they "win", they are really just losers.  Get a moral compass and some dignity already.   

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