I’ve lived in Iowa my whole life and am a University of Iowa alum and love my Hawks. Of course I’d like to see the Big 10 be a respected conference again, but what does it matter, really.
That said, let me provide some context to the Iowa vs. South Carolina game. Iowa knocked off #3 Penn State late in the season, solving the #1 #2 debate for last year. Iowa tends to play their best ball in October/November and for some unknown reason seems to improve faster than most teams. What I mean is, they lose games in September that are surprising, but if they were to play the same team again in November, Iowa would often win. If you were to look at Iowa’s record over the last 10 years in October and November only, you would be surprised.
Since getting embarassed by USC in the Orange bowl several years ago, Iowa has clamped down on bowl games, losing very few since then. Iowa has beaten Florida (and lost to Florida once) and LSU in January 1 bowl games in the recent past. The victory over SC is just the latest Iowa conquest of an SEC team on January 1.
So I guess, if you took Iowa out of the Big Ten and then looked at Big Ten bowl records in the past 5-7 years, the Big Ten would suck even worse. The fact that Iowa had the only Big 10 Bowl win last year is telling.
Then there’s the fact that SC had lost several games at the end of their season. The two teams were going in opposite directions. So looking at this game as a “middle of the Big 10” vs “middle of the SEC” is extremely misleading. I guess I’m making a case that the SEC is better than the Big 10. But they should be. They have much better weather to practice in throughout the year and can get better recruits. It’s amazing that teams here in the Midwest can compete as well as they do.