Friday, November 09, 2007

Big Ten Blogger Roundtable - Week 11

This week's host was The Big Ten Chronicle and it was my turn to answer the questions so here you go:

1. Every year we hear that the quality of play in the Big Ten is "down" and that the conference as a whole is "weak". This season most pundits would consider the Pac 10 or SEC as superior conferences. Give your best argument for the overall strength of the Big Ten and evaluate how your team would be doing if they were placed in either the Pac 10 or the SEC.

Well, I can't in good conscience argue for the strength of the Big Ten but I'll give it a try. To begin with the Big Ten is home to the number one team in the land and that ain't too shabby. Now some will say they are a weak number one but it doesn't matter they are undefeated which is more than I can say for all of the SEC and Pac 10 teams. Right now the Big Ten only has one team below .500 while the Pac 10 has four. The Big Ten has six teams with at least seven wins while the SEC only has three. Hey I think I'm convincing myself – ok, no I'm not.

Put Penn State in the Pac 10 and I think they would lose to Arizona State, Oregon, and USC for certain. UCLA is difficult to figure out so that would be a tossup depending upon which team shows up while Oregon State would be a tossup as well. The last four I think Penn State could beat so that puts us somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-4 in conference.

Moving to the SEC Penn State would be in the East so looking at that division Penn State would definitely lose to Georgia and Florida. They would probably lose to Tennessee and South Carolina with Kentucky a tossup and Vanderbilt the only probable win. So yeah, it wouldn't be pretty.

2. Pick your team's Most Valuable Player to date and tell us why he should be in consideration for Big Ten Player of the Year.

Penn State's most valuable player would be on the defensive side so he's not going to be the Big Ten player of the year. You could easily argue for Dan Connor or Sean Lee. Both have been stellar this season on a pretty good defense. Neither have had a bad game and their stats are very similar.

You have Connor with 1 more tackle than Lee but 2 less forced fumbles and two less recovered fumbles and both have similar tackles for loss – so who do you pick the stats are so close. Connor is a finalist for the Butkus award but Lee didn't even get a sniff but does that mean anything? I'll go with Lee for one simple reason – he made a truly game-changing play and Connor didn't. Against Purdue Lee stripped the ball away from Jaycen Taylor and recovered the fumble on his own 1 yard line with Purdue about to go up by two touchdowns. I can't think of a similar play by Connor at any point this season.

As for the Big Ten Player of the year that goes to Mike Hart in my book.

3. Sure it's the time of year that has most fans looking ahead to Bowl games, but we covered that last week. Plus, basketball season has officially begun! If you plan on covering basketball, give a brief analysis on your team and how far they will go in this year's postseason (Final 4, Sweet 16, NIT, friend's couch, etc.).

I will kindly direct your attention to BSD he's the basketball guru for Penn State – not that we need a guru… maybe an angry chimp with a computer would be more appropriate. Having said that, even with my utterly uneducated opinion, I know this team isn't going to make any post season tourneys.

Bonus Question:

It's time again for annual "rip on the BCS" party! In your opinion, what is the best way for college football to determine its National Championship?

Current BCS system, current system plus one, 16-team playoff, 4-team playoff, something totally cool I've never even thought of before?

8-team playoff using the BCS model to determine the 8 teams. Sure there will be someone getting screwed out of position 8 but that's a whole lot better than getting screwed out of position 2. Make everyone go back to 11 games and start the playoffs right after thanksgiving but don't play the final game until later. Play all the lower bowls just like you normally would then the final championship on New Year's Day like it was meant to be.

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