Originally Posted by Dutchrudder
I know this is something we won't agree on, but a couple things I'll put out there. Big 12 had 10 teams last year, Big 10 had 12. More teams makes it more likely to have more teams ranked highly. Also, the Big 12 passes a lot more, so their pass defense is more likely to be ranked lower on the whole. Just for comparison, the Big 12 had 4554 pass attempts last year, the Big 10 had only 4201, despite having more teams. More passes = more passing stats, so it deflates their pass defense numbers. Anyways, I just think the level of competition and talent from top to bottom is higher in the Big 12 than the Big 10.
It's a legit point.
But then, you can look at pass efficiency defense or ypa and it still works out in the Big10 favor.
Or you can look at their non-conference schedules.
For example, the following were the pass offenses that the Big10 faced:
Ill - Az St (10), W Mich (8) , Ak St (16), S.Dakota St (13)
Ind - Va (56), Ball St )53)
Iowa (58 in pass defense) - Okl (5), Tenn Tech (53), La Monroe (53)
Mich - ND (40), W Mich (8)
Mich St - ND (40), C Mich (25), Ga (48)
Minn - USC (15), N Mex St (26), Mia Oh (14)
Neb - Fresno St (27), Wash (35),
NWestern (71) - E. Ill (27), A&M (18)
Ohio St - Toldedo (30), Mia (62), Col (57), Fla (89)
Penn St - Ind St (67), Ala (69), Houston (1)
Purdue - Middle Tenn (37), ND (40), W Mich (8)
Wisc - Oreg St (19), Northern Ill (51), Oreg (68)
I checked the whole non-conference schedules of both conferences, and I must say that the Big10 defenses fared better against better passing offenses when compared with the Big12.
In head to head, for example:
Iowa (ranked 58 in pass defense, a weakling in their conference) - Okl (5th in passing offense, a power house in the big 12.)
Oklahoma averaged 349 passing and 163 rushing
They gained 161 and 141 against Iowa.
NWestern is another weakling (71 in pass defense in the Big10)
A&M (ranked 18 in pass offense, another powerhouse in the Big12.)
Against NWestern, A&M gained 317 (slighty more than their average of 291) passing and 80 yards rushing (much less than their average of 199).
Yet another metric: The data base of the top 500 draftable players in this upcoming draft by CBSSports.
The Big 10 had 64 on the list, the Big 12 had 41.
If you extrapolate, it still comes up 53 to 41 in favor of the Big 10.
The same goes for the top 1000 list.
The same goes fot the top 500 defensive players.