STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany stuck up for his league a week after another lopsided loss in a big game by Ohio State.
The Buckeyes may have flopped last week against top-ranked Southern California, but that doesn't mean the Big Ten is down, Delany said. He cited conference victories in other high-profile games, such as Big Ten wins over Southeastern Conference squads in non-BCS bowl games.
``I feel like our top teams are competing at a very high level. We play the SEC year in and year out and more than hold our own,'' Delany said before No. 16 Penn State's game Saturday against Temple.
``The Big Ten has been strong for a long time. If we're not Number 1, if we're 2 or 3 or 4, people see it as a down year,'' he said. ``Maybe it's a game of not meeting expectations, and the expectations are high.''
Especially with Ohio State, which has won three straight conference titles. But the Buckeyes have also been blown out in the last two BCS title games, to SEC teams Florida and LSU.
M 24-17, Indiana lost Oklahoma State 49-33, and Michigan State lost to Boston College of the ACC 24-21.
Illinois didn't fare that well in the Rose Bowl, where it was routed by USC 49-17.
Detractors need to look at the Big Ten's results against other power conferences over the last 10 or 15 years to get a better comparison of conference strength, Delany said.
``But I just don't extrapolate as much as some do. You have to look at it over time,'' he said. ``I feel pretty good.''
Delany also said negotiations for the BCS's new television deal with Fox ``are just beginning,'' as they were expected to this fall. Fox has a ``preferred window of negotiations,'' he said.
The BCS has two years left on its current four-year, $320 million TV deal with Fox.

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