Big Ten Network analyst Gerry DiNardo said the Big Ten is poised to have one of its best years because of the quality teams within the conference.
He also said perception around the league is changing after Big Ten schools beat four teams ranked in the top 15 in bowl games last year.
“I think it’s always about the last time you’ve played,” said DiNardo, who was in Iowa City recording a one-hour show on Iowa football. “I think if you look at the Big Ten, winning the bowl games especially against Miami, LSU, Oregon, Georgia Tech, I think those were all great wins because the perception those teams may be more athletic.”
Ohio State beat Oregon in the Rose Bowl, Iowa beat Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl, Penn State beat LSU in the Capital One Bowl and Wisconsin beat Miami in the Champs Sports Bowl last season.
DiNardo said adding Nebraska as the league’s 12th school in 2011 and the league-owned Big Ten Network also has increased the league’s national profile.
“I think the thing that would put it over the top right now is a national champion,” DiNardo said. “Until the Big Ten wins a national championship, it’s always going to be the SEC. But if you look at the SEC top to bottom, I don’t know that it’s one of their strong years. If you look at the Big Ten top to bottom, it is one of their strong years. This conference is really deep this year. I’d be shocked if someone goes through the conference undefeated.”
The Big Ten Network’s show on Iowa will air at 7 p.m. Thursday.