Blog Entry

Dear Gary (on the Big Ten)

Posted on: December 8, 2008 9:39 am

Here's Monday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: I am not one of those uneducated idiots who wants to write you an expletive-laced rant about how you don't know what you are talking about. I respect your work and your opinion, but everyone is wrong once in a while. (And on that note), I noticed that when you went through your conference previews you rated the Big Ten as the worst BCS conference, and I was wondering if you still feel that way? I am obviously a Big Ten fan, but by the same token I am not completely biased. The Big East and the ACC most likely still reign supreme, but wouldn't you agree the Big Ten is closer than expected to third?

 -- Adam

Yes, Adam, I would agree. And while we're at it, I'll go ahead and acknowledge that I was dead-wrong about the Big Ten, and, on the other end of the spectrum, about the SEC. I'm honestly not sure if the SEC has any Top 30-caliber teams outside of Tennessee, but the Big Ten has at least five in Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin. That's a solid group, with Michigan being the biggest surprise. And when you consider that Minnesota is 8-0 (with a win over Virginia), Northwestern is 6-1 (with wins over Florida State and DePaul) and Illinois is 7-1 (with wins over Vanderbilt and Georgia) it's pretty clear that this league is better than I expected it to be, and what's amazing is that the Big Ten is thriving despite one of its marquee programs (Indiana) experiencing bad times.

Bottom line, I was wrong. And if I was re-ranking the leagues right now, I'd probably put the Big Ten in a tie for third with the Big 12 behind the Big East and ACC, and well ahead of the Pac-10 and SEC. Either way, I'm glad you mentioned the "uneducated idiots" who write "expletive-laced" rants, because I've traded emails with an absolute nutcase the past few days, and I might introduce him in Tuesday's Dear Gary. So keep an eye out for that. And in the meantime, go ahead and turn your TV to the Big Ten Network, because they're playing some pretty good basketball over there, regardless of what you might've read in the preseason.

Category: NCAAB

Since: Apr 17, 2007
Posted on: December 9, 2008 3:51 am

Dear Gary (on the Big Ten)

I have to admit that even as a Big 10 fan I thought your preseason prediction was going to be pretty accurate. I figured that they would be about the 5th BCS conference and was wondering what they would do with Indiana in their current situation.

Since: Feb 28, 2007
Posted on: December 8, 2008 3:09 pm

Dear Gary (on the Big Ten)

Thanks for the re-evaluation, Gary.  I see the Big Ten similarly as a whole, but since I have been trying to get a grip on rankings myself, being a participant in the People's Poll, my observations on the details are somewhat different. 

Right now my performance-based rankings (with some subjectivity thrown in) show the following order: Ohio State, Michigan, Purdue, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern.  Illinois actually outperforms Purdue with four decent wins (Vanderbilt, Kent St, Tulsa, Georgia) over one (Boston College), but I believe that Purdue is a better overall team, based on watching them play.  Minnesota's only decent win is Virginia, a team that has been awful by far, so that jury is still out - albeit going undefeated is very nice. Michigan State will be better, but right now, the other teams are outperforming them.  They do have three decent wins though over Oklahoma St, Wichita St and Bradley, but also the worst losses in the conference. (Losing to UNC is not bad, being dismantled, is.)

The only teams who have what I consider good wins is Ohio State and Michigan - each with two, which makes them lead my rankings.

Big Ten conference play will be interesting this year.  I can't wait.

(As you can probably tell, Illinois fan here who has lost an avatar bet to a Clemson fan.)

Since: Nov 20, 2008
Posted on: December 8, 2008 2:17 pm

Dear Gary (on the Big Ten)

I've been watching Big 10 basketball for more decades than I will admit in public, and I have to say that I did not expect the spunk we have witnessed so far this year. I can hardly wait to see them playing each other. I think it's really difficult to try to predict a finish because so many of the teams are young and might develop differently over the year. Perhaps the league is in a little recovery mode.

In another matter, I would propose a rule that when you have a really long countdown to a game involving a couple of undefeated teams and one of them fails to remain undefeated, you deep six the countdown (or replace one of them with Clemson).

Since: Jul 16, 2008
Posted on: December 8, 2008 9:57 am

Dear Gary (on the Big Ten)

Well said Adam and Gary!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or