Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Yahoo Sports/ Keep an eye on the Big Ten

After editing his opening line that wasn't too flattering to northern baseball, thank you Eric Sorenson for bringing that to attention Yahoo Spots, college baseball writer Kendall Rogers had a few words to say on the Big Ten.

Coaches in the north have been waiting years to say the Big Ten is a rising conference. Well, the time has come.

The Big Ten hasn’t exactly been a great conference the past few seasons, but there are many reasons for its members to be excited these days. Minnesota and Ohio State are in the mix for regional hosts and Illinois could earn an at-large bid if the season ended today.

Then there’s Indiana, which isn’t a bad team despite its gaudy record. And of course Michigan, which actually sits seventh in the conference standings.

It’s certainly not time to proclaim the Big Ten as a soon-to-be power conference, but the league has taken a step in the right direction.

We lead off this week’s At the letters with a discussion about the Big Ten and its regional hopefuls.

Big Ten in better shape

The Big Ten has a few teams in the postseason picture this season. Is the league really that much better, and also, does Indiana have a chance to make an NCAA regional?

Peoria, Ill.

The Big Ten started to care when Michigan upset Vanderbilt in the Nashville Regional a couple seasons ago. When that happened, there wasn’t a program in the conference that didn’t think it could compete nationally.

The Big Ten has Michigan coach Rich Maloney to thank for its rise.

Minnesota, Ohio State and Illinois are very solid teams. The Golden Gophers have a high RPI and recorded some good non-conference wins. They also are on track to win the Big Ten regular season title and perhaps host a regional. The Buckeyes also have a high RPI and could host a regional with a strong finish and some Minnesota setbacks. Illinois, though, is fighting for an at-large bid and got everyone’s attention earlier this season when it took two of three on the road from LSU.

Missing from the equation is the chief architect of the Big Ten’s rise, Michigan, which is seventh in conference with an 8-13 record.

There’s no question the Big Ten has improved. More programs are showing a commitment to winning with improved facilities and the hiring of better coaches. The uniform start date also has helped.

As for Indiana, it is one game out of first place with a 14-6 record. However, it also has a less than stellar 25-24 overall record, an RPI of 131 and a record of 4-14 against top-100 RPI teams. The Hoosiers only will make an NCAA regional if they win the Big Ten tournament.

Rogers Mailbag

B9: Yes it is good the Big Ten is receiving some attention. Rogers is so off on so many points, especially when regarding the Big Ten's recent past, the Big Ten did send 3 teams to Regionals in 2007 people, that it shows just how little national attention the Big Ten received. Rogers gets an A for effort, but F for execution and fact finding. Oh and his pre-edited opening line of... "The Big 10 is a rising conference. Say it isn't so." isn't going to win him points here.

1 comment:

formerlyanonymous said...

Its funny that I sent him a "question/comment" pretty much stating the same opinions you did. Good times.