Tuesday, January 6, 2009

No Such Thing As a Good Loss

So much for the Big 10 showing up in bowl games. Sure, Ohio State didn't get blown out last night in the Fiesta Bowl, but correct me if I'm wrong, a loss is still a loss. Forgive me if I'm not taking solice in the fact Ohio State ALMOST won before the Longhorns scored a late TD to win 24-21. And if you are one of those people who are thinking "hey at least they didn't get blown out again" what does that say about the mindset of Big 10 fans? The conference was 1-6 in bowl games, and no matter how close Ohio State or Northwestern were to winning- THEY STILL DIDN"T WIN. The conference did absolutely nothing to dispell the national notion that the Big 10 is not very good, and belongs in the conversation with the Big East and Pac 10 for worst BCS conference- except that's probably not a conversation you want to get into considering the Big East was 5-1 and the Pac 10 5-0 in bowls this season.

The Big 10 deserves all the disrespect it will get between now and September, when Ohio State has a small chance for redemption when it hosts USC. The conference's bowl matchups this year were no worse than anyone else's. Seriously, other than the Trojans (who I would take on a neutral field over anybody right now. Of course, I said the same thing after they walloped the Buckeyes in September and then they went out and lost to Oregon State), the Big 10 were not, or maybe SHOULD not, have been overmatched against anybody. If they were, that just shows you how poor the teams were this year.

Is there hope for next season? I hope so, but there needs to be a LOT of improvement, because once again it looks like we're pinning the conference's national title hopes on Ohio State, and I don't like their chances next year anymore than I have the past three. Maybe I'm being too hard on a true freshman, but I wasn't exactly wowed by QB Terelle Pryor. Sure he's a wonderful athlete and made some nice plays with his feet, but he did nothing with his arm to make me believe he'll be a good quarterback. He's talented enough that Ohio State will be successful in the Big 10 using him as they do, but if they want to be able to beat the teams with speed from the SEC, Big 12 and USC (seriously, they need to go independent for football), they need to be able to throw the ball consistently. I also didn't like him running out of bounds twice, when once he had more than enough room to gain a first down but didn't, and the second time he barely got the first down but could have had another 10 yards. It just looked lazy and like he was more concerend with not getting hit than picking up a couple of extra yards.

As for the rest of the conference, we'll get into this more as the offseason progesses, but we can all agree there's a LOT of room for improvement for everybody else, as I believe Penn State will come back to the pack next year, meaning there's no other elite team in the conference. Mighty fine time for Coach Brewster and the Gophers to make the leap, because they'll have every opportunity to do so.

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