The Big Ten still fights a perception of being a slow, plodding, three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust conference. Some media members and casual observers still label Big Ten football as boring.
But according to a company that measures the excitement of sporting events, the Big Ten carried a very different label during the 2010 season.
Nation's most exciting conference.
The company averaged the excitement rankings from the games of 92 of the 120 FBS schools and came up with some pretty interesting findings. The excitement meter ranges from 0-100 and doesn’t take into account the records or the fan following.
UAB was tabbed as the nation's most exciting team after playing two overtime games and six games decided by five points or fewer. National champion Auburn ranked second on the excitement meter after posting five victories by three or fewer points.
Michigan ranked as the nation's fourth most exciting team. The Wolverines played six games decided by 10 or fewer points, including a 67-65 triple-overtime thriller against Illinois that ranked as the highest-scoring game in Big Ten history.
Northwestern is no stranger to playing exciting games, and the Wildcats ranked as the nation's sixth most exciting team. NU played eight games decided by eight or fewer points.
Iowa rounded out the nation's top 10 at No. 10. The Hawkeyes played seven games decided by seven points or fewer.
Indiana and Illinois ranked 17th and 19th, respectively, in excitement factor.
The interesting thing is that in most cases, teams would trade the excitement factor for better results. UAB went 4-8, while Georgia Tech, the nation's No. 3 most exciting team, went a very disappointing 6-7.
Michigan, Northwestern and Iowa all underachieved to varying degrees this season. Northwestern and Iowa both struggled to put teams away.
The Big Ten led conferences in excitement, followed by the Big East, Conference USA, ACC and then the mighty SEC.