“It was a very long day for the first day of 2011,” Delany said of the 0-5 performance his conference put up against 3 SEC teams, 1 Mountain West and 1 Big 12 team. “Hats off to the guys who beat us. Nobody beat us on a fluke. The better team won in every case.”
Additionally, Delany went ahead and admitted what everyone else — media and fans alike — were already thinking.
“They’ve [the SEC] won four national championships in a row. That says everything to me,” Delany told ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg. “We’ve had some competitive success, but they have the edge. Until we beat them, they deserve the edge. Whether it’s in an individual contest or a conference contest, you test yourself against the best and you get measured. If you want to be .500 or if you want to win 70 percent of your games, you can schedule that. A lot of people do in September. What it really comes down to is how you play big games against great opponents on big stages.”
Delany mentioned that yesterday’s schooling was the worst he had experienced in several years and admitted that, in the end, non-conference slates and bowl games are how conferences are ultimately judged.
“I’ve always said the season breaks down into three segments. We had a good September. We didn’t play enough elite teams, but we had some good wins, not a lot of wins. I don’t think it was the strongest nonconference schedule we’ve ever had, but it was representative, it was solid. I thought the league race was good. We really had three levels of teams. We had the three that were 11-1 and then we had a bunch of 7-5s and 6-6s. So it was a good league race, good attendance, good television, good competition, good conduct by everybody.
We got into the bowl season, we got two BCS opportunities, played one close, we’ve got another one in a couple nights. We got a couple wins that I wasn’t sure we would get in Illinois and Iowa, but they played hard. I wasn’t shocked that we struggled with Mississippi State and Alabama, they were really strong teams. Wished we had been more competitive, and then we had three other games shoulda, woulda, coulda.
We’ll take our fair share of criticism. When we win, we get our fair share of accolades, so if you’re not prepared to take your criticism with your accolades, then you shouldn’t be playing big games on big stages.”
Delany, like Ohio State president E. Gorden Gee, have been outspoken about the Big Ten’s place among college football’s elite, especially in the context of throwin’ down against non-AQ conferences. Their comments have received a great deal of criticism, and after yesterday’s debacle, were worthy of some serious foot-in-mouth suggestions.
But, like Gee, Delany is obviously willing to take the lumps and the criticisms that come with talking a big game, which is all anyone can ask of them right now.
Besides, you know, changing those God-awful divisional names from “Legends” and “Leaders”, which Delany also mentioned he has no intention of doing.
Well, baby steps.