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Big Ten’s Delany Says The SEC’s The Strongest Conference

Bowl records can be deceiving.  Let’s start right there.

Is it fair to say that Conference-USA is stronger than the SEC because the champion of one league inched by the 9th-slotted team from the other?  No.

Is it fair to say that the Pac-10 is better than the Big 12 simply because Washington topped Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl… when Nebraska crushed the Huskies in Seattle earlier in the season?  No.

Long layoffs have an impact.  Bowl pairings (SEC #5 vs ACC #2, for example) have an impact.  And motivation has a huge impact. 

But when two leagues go head-to-head in three New Year’s Day bowl games that are paired evenly, well, that’s a different story.

As you know by now, the SEC ran roughshod over the Leaders and Legends of the Big Ten on New Year’s Day:


Alabama 49, Michigan State 7

Mississippi State 52, Michigan 14

Florida 37, Penn State 24


Brutal.  Even Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany admits as much.

“The SEC has demonstrated over a period of time that they’re the strongest conference,” he told SI.com.  “The rest of us are looking to close the gap, but we’ve still got a little ways to go. … We got beat pretty good by Alabama, but that’s not a shock.  The one thing I knew for sure was that Alabama was not the 15th-ranked team in the country.”

Delany also admits that tomorrow’s Sugar Bowl between Ohio State and Arkansas taken on added importance.

“It’s more important now than if we were 7-0 (in bowl games).”

For the record, the Big Ten went an embarrassing 0-for-5 in New Year’s Day action.

 


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