Around the Big Ten: Tim Tebow says ‘It’s close’ but the SEC is better than the Big Ten right now

The SEC is a deeper and better conference right now than the Big Ten. So says ESPN analyst Tim Tebow when asked about which conference is better through the first weeks of the college football season.

The Big Ten boasts two teams in the top four of the USA TODAY Sports coaches poll (No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Michigan) as well a soaring program in No. 15 Penn State. The Big Ten’s strong start to the season brings up the question of if the conference has caught up (or exceeded) the juggernaut that is the SEC.

Tebow, for one, isn’t on board with the Big Ten having caught up yet

The conversation will likely only grow in greater earnestness in the coming years, especially when the Big Ten’s new media rights deal kicks in. The amount of money coming in for the conference and the individual universities will dwarf that of any other conference including the SEC.

The media rights deal could well give the Big Ten a significant leg up in the facilities arms race.

But back to the here and now, Tebow thinks that the SEC, given its depth, is currently the better conference. He was asked this week by USA TODAY Sports “if the Big Ten has the leg-up on the SEC early in the season? Would you choose it or grill it?”

“It’s close but if I had to right now, I’d probably grill it. Not because those three teams can’t compete at a high level, I just think when you look at it from top to bottom, there are a lot of teams in the SEC that are competing for that third spot. You have Kentucky, you have the Ole Miss…you have so many teams…you have Arkansas that are still ranked in the end of the top or in the 12, 13, 14 spots that are competitive. That would be interesting,” Tebow said to USA TODAY Sports

“I think Penn State looked really good though. There are question marks that I think we need to see answered, and they won’t be answered in some of these games. They have to be answered in massive games. And while I am such a huge fan of Ohio State and C.J. Stroud right now. And I do think Michigan is taking some of those next steps and Penn State is getting better.

“We have to see them not in September but in November and December and ultimately in January take those next steps.”

And while there could be some institutional bias from Tebow, given that he is employed by the SEC Network (an ESPN property) and played for the Florida Gators (an SEC powerhouse), there are certainly plenty of facts to back up Tebow’s assessment.

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For starters, in this week’s USA TODAY Sports AFCA football coaches poll, the SEC had the top two teams (No. 1 Georgia and No. 2 Alabama). And the current poll is how the college football season ended last year, with Georgia beating Alabama in the championship game of the College Football Playoff.

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To that end, the Big Ten hasn’t won a College Football Playoff title since the 2014 season. The SEC has won the last three national championships, with three different programs from the conference having won those titles.

Story originally appeared on Rutgers Wire