Phil Steele: B1G = ACC

By DJ Byrnes on July 23, 2013 at 4:23p

RT @Johnny11W: this is no lie. huuuge RT@EatTooBrutus: Drink Too, Brutus is being replaced by something BIG. You won't believe it. We can barely believe it

Phil Steele, prominent college football prophet who told ElevenWarriors earlier this month Ohio State has a chance at 12-0 this fall, released his daily blog post today ranking America's college football conferences. (SPOILER ALERT: SEC is #1.) The surprise, however, wasn't the B1G falling all the way to fourth, but that Steele says it's on par with the ACC. From the post:

The Big Ten has slipped in the conference rankings due to a lack of national title contenders and poor bowl performances, which includes a 2-13 combined record on New Year's Day in the past three years. However, it could be in store for a higher finish this year thanks to some advantageous scheduling. Unlike the past few years, Wisconsin and Ohio State, two of the perennial top teams from the Leaders Division, do not play Michigan State and Nebraska, two of the top teams from the Legends Division. I have the Buckeyes running the table and playing Alabama for the national title, while Nebraska, Michigan State and Michigan all made my preseason top 25.

and on the ACC:

There is no question that the ACC has had the talent to rank higher than this in the past couple of years. In April's draft, the league ranked No. 2 behind the SEC with 32 players drafted, led by Florida State's school-record 11 picks. What has hurt the conference is its on-field performance, going just 6-14 in nonconference play last year against the other BCS conferences. This year, the conference boasts three teams that made my preseason top 15, including No. 3 Florida State and No. 15 Clemson. The surprise this year could be Virginia Tech, which I have at No. 12, while Miami gives the ACC a fourth top-25 team.

I'll admit, I was a little angrier about the ranking until I read Steele's reasoning, which is pretty much rooted in fact. The question is, does this say more about the ACC or B1G at this point? Either way, it's time for the Wisconsins, Iowas, and Penn States of the Big Ten to step their game up.



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Dayton Buckeye's picture

Can't argue with his logic.  The Big Ten was horrible last year.  I think we will be better this year.

gwalther's picture

B1G = B1G 2 Little 10.
Soon to be B1G 2 Little 12.
(The 2nd team in that equation rotates at this point...not ready to just say it's TSUN.)
By the way, I really hope this changes. No reason Michigan State, Nebraska, Purdue, Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michig*n and Northwestern can't all be competent at the same time.

Class of 2008

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Considering M*chigan's last BigTen title was nearly a decade ago, I don't think they deserve to be part of that Big 2.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

AndyVance's picture

Steele, as usual, makes good sense. I think the ACC gets a lot of credit for stepping up its game (I'm looking at you Florida State and Clemson), while the teams outside the "Big Four" in the B1G need to get their #$&* together.

CC's picture

Who are the big 4?  Once upon a time it was OSU, UM, Nebraska, PSU - are you referring to OSU, UM, MSU and UW?

AndyVance's picture

Based on both long-term and recent history, I'd say you have to go with Ohio State, M*ch*g*n, Nebraska and Penn State, though honestly I'd temporarily forgotten about Nebraska when I typed that and was thinking of Wisconsin.
Either way you slice it, there's a clear line of demarcation between those 4 or 5 schools and everyone else in the conference. Iowa and Michigan State sniff at the top tier every now and again, but never quite make it onto the top shelf. Northwestern is doing all they can given their inherent limitations at not being a "football school," so to speak, and what can you really say about the rest of the pack?
Quite frankly, if it weren't for Barry Alvarez, you wouldn't include Wisconsin in the upper echelon, either, but since his arrival they've actually been a pretty good program (though their Rose Bowl appearance streak has obviously come through Ohio State's benevolence and misfortunes).

CC's picture

I think MSU is every bit as good as Wiscy has been, and they have a better bowl win (Georgia) than Wiscy over the last few years.  Last year's Wiscy team made the B1G look bad (A) for getting into the Rose Bowl with 5 loses (B) for having their coach go to Arkansas and (C) for losing it for the 3rd consecutive year.
I think there is a clear line between 2 and 3 moving forward.  Assuming Hoke doesn't choke I don't see either losing more than one conference game over the next few years (not counting The Game).  I wish PSU and Nebraska would get back to their level of woop-ass from the 90's.
Edit: Since 2008 MSU is 43-22 Wiscy is 47-20 - that said MSU plays ND (and Boise 1x) every year and Wiscy plays the little sisters of the poor.
MSU is 4-2 vs. Wisconsin in that period.

AndyVance's picture

You don't have to sell me, but it's nice to see the stats. I'm a Dantonio fan (one of my old roommates was a diehard MSU fan, so I've heard "Go Green, Go White" so many times I'll occasionally toss it out there to Spartan fans I meet while traveling), and think you've hit the nail on the head.
As I said earlier, we wouldn't talk about Wisconsin at all if Barry Alvarez hadn't turned that sinking ship around in the '90s...

Buckeye Rocket Sci's picture

It's a bit disheartening but, as already said, you can't deny the facts. Both conferences have proven to have talented teams that many expect to perform highly, only to eventually fall flat on their faces the past couple years (with the exception of tOSU last year). Hopefully at least the recruiting Meyer and Hoke are bringing will allow the "Big Two" to dominate once more on the national stage.

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence" - Calvin Coolidge

CC's picture

Iron sharpens iron.

Riggins's picture

I believe the B1G is the better overall conference, but I know the B1G is better at the top. BCS bowl records are used to qualify arguments for every conference except the ACC.
The SEC has an outstanding 17-8 BCS record.
The Big 12 has a 9-11 record.
The B1G has a 12*-14 record. (Includes vacated wins by Ohio State and Penn State)
The Pac 12 has a 13*-7 record. (Includes a vacated USC win)
The ACC has a 3-13 record.  Three wins were over: VaTech (as a Big East school), Cincinnati, and Northern Illinois.  Murderer's Row.
Keep in mind, the ACC's BCS bowl opponent was more often than not the Big East champion in the Orange Bowl.  But the ACC is continually given a pass on their marquee schools being pants-shittingly bad in big spots.  Say what you want about 41-14. But with a 6-3 BCS record, the Buckeyes have a better resume than the entirety of the ACC.

mh277907's picture

Well said. I think the reason why you hear about the B1G being so bad is because it generates ratings. You could write a scathing article every year about Miami being bad for most of the last decade, or FSU consistently under performing with NFL talent, or Georgia Tech quitting football entirely, or Va Tech getting blown out by a non-BCS conference school but the number of people who would care would be miniscule compared to the followings of Big Ten schools. And I am really not trying to play the "woe is me" card and act like everyone is out to get the Big Ten. But how many of us are guilty of reading anything and everything about OSU good or bad?


cplunk's picture

Agree completely. The best teams in the B1G are far better than the best teams in the ACC.
undeniably, though, the middle and lower part of the B1G stink. Flat out stink.

Nutbuck1959's picture

Also don't forget the B1G is even or close to even head to head with SEC over the past 30+ games. Apparently, only MNC games involving OSU count.

CC's picture

Only if you count wins over Mizzou and TAMU which is hollow IMO.  I'm the biggest B1G homer but at this point I have to admit only OSU, UM and MSU could really compete in the SEC for an entire season.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

He has MSU in the top 25, but not NW? That seems off.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

AJW_16's picture

I think this is spot on. I've never agreed with "B1G is better than ACC" logic.
My question: who was #2? Pac12 or Big12? Just based on anecdote I'd have to go with the Pac12, but I'd like to see the numbers on that.

"Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you." 

northwest_buckeye's picture

Steele has the Big 12 at #2 and Pac 12 at #3... But from the way I read his article, it gave me the impression that the PAC should have been the better conference. He seems to put no credence into what every other poll/analyst says about the teams in the Top 25 (potentially).

Not sure if that's due to brilliant insight or monstrous stupidity at this point in the year.

I've never said I 'hate' anyone because that would imply I had any emotion for them whatsoever.

USMC11917's picture

If you look at everything outside the W and L column I believe the Big10 held its own pretty well against it's competition. The only team that shat the bed was Purdue. I know that many only place value on who wins the game but I don't get to irritated with a competitive showing.

btalbert25's picture

I get what you are saying, but at the end of the day isn't a W or L what really matters?  I could care less that Tressel's Buckeyes eeked out victories against the likes of UC, so long as they won.  The games would suck at times and it was never easy to watch, but at the end of the day the good guys won. 

Hovenaut's picture


I have no argument.

I'll just compliment Phil on that phantastic 'stache he's rockin'.

captain obvious's picture

I agree

I'm a friend of thunder is it any wonder lightning strikes me

Hovenaut's picture are in a glass cage of emotion.

BUCKfutter's picture

I actually thought I agreed with Steele until I thought about it.  Let's just rank the teams in groups of 4 for the sake of argument:
Top 4 teams:
B1G: 1. OSU 2. Nebraska 3. Wisky 4. scUM
ACC: 1. FSU 2. Clemson 3. Vatech 4. Miami
Edge: Even
Next 4:
B1G: 5. MSU 6. NW 7. PSU 8. Indiana
ACC: 5. UNC 6. GaTech 7. NCState 8. Syracuse
Edge: B1G
Bottom 4:
B1G: 9. Iowa 10. Purdue 11. Minnesota 12. Illinois
ACC: 9. Wake 10. UVA 11. Duke 12. BC
Edge: Even
Seems to me the top 4 are mostly even, the next four are advantage B1G, and the bottom feeders aren't distinguishable, don't you have to put the B1G ahead of the ACC?

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Why do you have MSU ahead of NW?

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

BUCKfutter's picture

give me a good defense over a good offense any day of the week.  in reality, they are very close, but that was the deciding factor.

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

BUCKfutter's picture

also, fwiw, steele has MSU 9 spots ahead of NW in his top 40.

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

also, fwiw, steele has MSU 9 spots ahead of NW in his top 40.

Which doesn't make sense at all.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Yeah, but their bad offense nearly had them under .500 last year.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

BUCKfutter's picture

i can see where you're coming from, but:
1. msu played ohio state and wisconsin last year, NW didn't.
2. it's a new season. it's my opinion that MSU underachieved last year while northwestern overachieved.
3. the point of my post wasn't to rank the B1G teams, it was to show that the mid-tier of the B1G is better than the mid-tier of the ACC. regardless of NW or MSU being 5 or 6, the point was that they're better than UNC or Ga Tech.

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

Seabass1974's picture

I think it is the overall approach to bowl games that has really made the B1G look bad. The B1G in general looks at bowl games as money and fun. That's it. The SEC looks at it as business as usual and approaches it this way. There could be many reasons behind this but I think the main reason is location, location, location.
The SEC doesn't travel or if they do it's usually to places they have already been earlier in the year or they have visited these places as kids. These places are nothing new and it's not a big deal for them to be there. Conversely, the B1G travels great distances and to places not normally  traveled to during the season. This gives off an overwhelming atmosphere of "WOW! I'm in ____! This is amazing!"
I think the bowl record bears this out. When playing lower tier bowls close to home the B1G shows up just fine. Sure they are lower tiered opponents also which helps but it's more than likely an attitude of "Let's get in there and get this done. Business as usual." Send them down to Miami, New Orleans or out west to LA or Arizona and everything changes.
Hopefully people understand the point I'm going for here. I'll just sum it up here: B1G Bowl Games (and other Conferences) = Money, Fun
SeC (and other conferences) = Business as usual to places they are familiar with and bring little to no excitement of being there.
This could even be broken down further by teams and explain why some teams are better than others in bowl games.

The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender. - Woody Hayes

yrro's picture

I think it's that we rake in the cash, so we play tougher bowl games. We aren't as good as the SEC, but our bowl game lineup tends to be as good as the SEC's. Two BCS teams nearly every year good. So we're putting our second best team against the same teams that the ACC is playing... except for we usually don't draw the Big East champion.
We aren't that bad, but we are overrated, at least in terms of bowl selection. Last year was an anomaly - you hand out a bowl ban to the top two teams in any conference and the bowl record's going to tank.

CC's picture

You're dead on, not to mention we actually have higher seeds than the SEC in the head to head games.  Even with having better seeds we are the underdogs in most games.  That says a lot.

FROMTHE18's picture

pretty legit analysis. Although, I think with schools like NW progressing, this wont last too much longer. Need Nebraska back to elite status big time.

BierStube's picture

I think Phil could have done this analysis back in January, not overly insightful. What's next, ranking the teams of the 80's?  I understand the desire to use the past as some indication of the future, but intelligent folks learn from the past in order to prevent repeating it.  I am not in the "we are what we have been" boat, I am hoping you folks are not either!  Last year we ran a fraction of offense we are capable of running, and that should scare the heck out of the rest of the country!  In terms of defense, we all know all to well the issues.  By the end of the year that defense was not too shabby and we have really upgraded the line backers.  I also do not see the blocked punts happening nearly as often this season.  Anyway, that's my glass half full!
I will agree, the rest of the conference needs to really step up their damn game!

"No matter where you go, there you are." B. Banzai

pjtobin's picture

It seems legit to me. I hope the big has a great year. Normally I don't care. Now I'm just tired of hearing it. OSU can't carry the load. We need a total conference makeover. Then maybe the talking heads will be silenced. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

btalbert25's picture

The  B1G is just not a very good conference.  We sent a VERY mediocre team to the Rosebowl last year.  They put up a nice fight, but Wisconsin wasn't that good.  I get it that Ohio State was not eligible but at the end of the day I really don't see any difference in the bowl season last year.  Maybe Ohio State beats Oregon, MAYBE.  Then what Wisconsin or PSU plays Georgia and USC and gets beat?  I still don't really see how it favors Ohio State, because quite honestly there wasn't much of a difference between Wisconsin, Nebraska(despite the HUGE blowout), MSU, Michigan, and Northwestern.  They were all average to mediocre teams.  
The B1G's biggest problem is coaching.  I'm not convinced the future is really all that much better for the B1G.  I can't see a world where MSU gets much better than they were 2 years ago.  Last year they weren't good.  PSU will continue to decline as the feel the effects of the scholarship ban.  I dont' believe there's really ever any hope for Minnesota or IU.  Iowa has completely fallen off the map and Ferentz has lost the ability to recruit.  Nebraska probably won't get much better with Pellini.  It's hard to say what will happen with Wisconsin and Illinois.  I really like the hire of Hazzell by Purdue, it's great what Fitzgerald has done at Northwestern, Hoke has Michigan going in the right direction, and Urban is the man. 
I do see some hope, but mostly I just don't think the overall picture is getting better for the B1G.  Maybe OBrien stays at PSU through all the turmoil and brings them back to power, but there's a long way to go before he can hope to get them there.  The problem is, as Northwestern gets better a team like Iowa falls goes to shit.  The conference isn't collectively getting better, one team improves and another disappears. 

CC's picture

I agree with almost everything you said but I'm interested to see how Nebraska does this year.  They feel like one of those teams that is at the hump but can never get over it.  When they lost to Texas in the CCG a few years ago (with Suh) i thought they were for real.  When we crushed them last year all thoughts based on that Texas game were erased.
They are as good as Iowa was 5 years ago, good, not geat, maybe play for a BCS game 1x in 5.

btalbert25's picture

That's kind of my take on Nebraska.  I feel like that game against Texas you mention was their peak.  I thought from the part they were going to continue to get better, but really they are just a solid team.  I think they are kind of like Penn State.  They'll give you a tough game, but then when they play a team that is actually good, they get housed.  

Unky Buck's picture

So what's Drink Too, Brutus being replaced with? It's the caption in the photo and I'm a little shocked no one mentioned it. 

Rock over London; Rock on Chicago. Timex: It takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'