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Friday October 20, 2000

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No love for the Pac? C'mon!

By Bryan Rosenbaum

TROY, Mich. - The Big House.

A place where 110,000-plus fans gather every Saturday afternoon in the fall. A place where people don't have to be drunk at to get rowdy for a big game. A place where two of the country's biggest in-state rivals - Michigan and Michigan State - meet tomorrow.

And though it may not be as important of a matchup as everybody had hoped for, it is still fairly important to the players and thousands of fans on each side.

You want a big game? Look north to Eugene, Ore., tomorrow for UA-Oregon. Sure, it may not have great television exposure because Fox Sports is slightly above Tucson Public Access TV in production quality, and it may not be as sexy of a matchup as Washington-Oregon.

But nonetheless, the Wildcats and Ducks are the only unbeaten teams in the Pac-10. Washington, USC and UCLA only wish they could say the same.

Despite their lack of national championships as of late, the Big Ten and Pacific 10 Conferences are the greatest leagues in all the land. In every sport. In both genders.

So why don't the Midwest and West Coast conferences get the respect they deserve? They're so damn good that they end up beating the crap out of each other. Why is that so hard for everyone to understand?

And closer to home, the Pac-10 - you may remember everybody saying the conference was back after key non-conference victories - is back in a big way.

Now that the conference season has begun, and teams who pulled off the big wins are facing each other, and so far, only Oregon and Arizona have been unscathed (and have I mentioned poor TV coverage?)- yup, the Pac-10 sucks too.

Just because these two great conferences don't have the 11-0 Florida States and Nebraskas and nine other 4-7 teams and because there is always a chance that Oregon State and Northwestern could meet in the Rose Bowl, the Big Ten and Pac-10 tend to get looked down upon.

With two national championships - both Washington in 1991 and Michigan in 1997 shared titles with teams who played weaker schedules - between them, the productivity between them hasn't been as great as either would have hoped.

But no league can match the Pac-10 and Big Ten in terms of power, tradition, academics and parity. And don't let Lee Corso tell you otherwise.