There exists a national perception that the SEC dominates college football and the Big Ten is a slower league - both in talent and adaptability. So I decided to take a deeper look at the statistics. Clearly, some big stage losses (see: Ohio State) have hurt the league's reputation among national audiences.
But just how competitive is the Big Ten against the SEC?
Team(s) / Division Status % Record Nebraska Winning 0.696 16-6-1 Michigan Winning 0.684 13-5-1 Minnesota Winning 0.667 6-3-0 Iowa Winning 0.571 4-3-0 Indiana Winning 0.513 20-19-0 Penn State Losing 0.462 18-21-0 Michigan State Losing 0.400 6-8-1 Purdue Losing 0.333 2-4-0 Northwestern Losing 0.250 3-8-1 Wisconsin Losing 0.250 3-8-1 Ohio State Losing 0.235 4-12-1 Illinois Losing 0.167 1-5-0 Legends Total Winning 0.672 39-17-2 Leaders Total Losing 0.403 48-69-2 Big "Eleven" (pre-Nebraska) Losing 0.442 80-96-5 All Big Ten Losing 0.471 96-102-6
It's pretty obvious that the Legends Division holds its own against the SEC, but dismal performances by "nationally premier" teams like Ohio State and Wisconsin drag the league down overall. What's more, no Leaders Division team has a winning record against the SEC except for Indiana.
Nebraska and Michigan have a track record of being SEC Slayers, but it's in the past. With both the Huskers and Wolverines re-emerging, they have not been dispatching SEC foes like they did in the 90s or prior. Judging strictly from historical data, if the Big Ten wants to start competing with the SEC it will have to be on the backs of the Legends Division, or Urban Meyer needs to perform a 180 at the Horseshoe.