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One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.


The Little Ten

The Big Ten is horrible. There, I said it. Three weeks into the college football season and it's plain to see the conference has lost its second-to-one status (behind the SEC) and now ranks a cool fifth on the competitive scale of BCS leagues. The SEC and Pac-10 are no-brainer one and twos, the Big East (where defense is forbidden) and Big 12 (where the North could fold and no one would miss it) are next in line, and the Big Ten narrowly edges out the ACC in pecking order, though Virginia Tech is better than any team in the Midwest.

Michigan's disappointing play has been well documented — Saturday's win over soon-to-be 0-8 Notre Dame does nothing to inspire confidence — and the rest of the conference is doing its best to follow suit. Northwestern losing to Duke? Iowa falling to an Iowa State team coming off its own loss to Northern Iowa. Minnesota getting trounced (for most of the day) by Florida Atlantic? Even the teams that win (Wisconsin over The Citadel, Penn State over Buffalo, Michigan State over Pitt) look haphazard in doing so.

A colleague of mine suggested yesterday the Big Ten should go to a 10-game conference schedule. I jokingly agreed. At least then the league could disguise its awfulness as balance by keeping the victories in-house. With conference play starting this week, Ohio State looks like the class of the league again and Wisconsin, Penn State and Purdue would all make fine Alamo Bowl representatives. Unfortunately, two of those teams are headed for New Year's Day games (if they can hold off Mike Hart and his minions) where they'll take one on the chin for the Big Ten.

Michigan still will make a bowl. With Illinois, Minnesota, Northwestern and Eastern Michigan still on the schedule, it has to. Indiana should be 4-0 after squeezing the Juice (the conference's most overrated quarterback) next week. And Iowa and Michigan State (another fraudulent 4-0 team if it beats Notre Dame, a travesty if it doesn't) should hit the magically mediocre six-win mark as well. That's eight bowl teams for seven spots, and the chances of getting two BCS bids this year look slim. (The Rose Bowl will take Cal or Oregon to replace championship-bound USC, and the Florida-LSU loser should be a lock for the final at-large spot).

So don't get too excited MSU fans about that potential Motor City Bowl trip, and if you're Indiana be downright scared. You'll likely end up in a game that can't fill its commitment where you'll play a team from the Sun Belt, Conference USA or MAC, further exposing the Big Ten as a big disappointment.


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