It's bad enough, Ohio State LB James Laurinaitis said, that the rest of the country badmouths the Big Ten.
Even worse, he felt that reporters who cover the conference put it down at the preseason football meetings in late July.
After lopsided losses in the last two Bowl Championship Series title games, Laurinaitis' Buckeyes in particular have been slammed by college football fans for playing a weak-sister schedule. An All-American and last year's Butkus Award winner, he was asked what the perception was of Ohio State's program outside of the state.
"There's a lot of different opinions. For the most part you feel like, even when we were at Big Ten media day, people within our Big Ten media were asking about the whole perception of our strength of schedule and stuff," he said. "There's not really much you can say about any of that. The only thing that will change any of that is just to win."
Big Ten teams open play on Saturday with only three games against topflight opponents.
No. 20 Illinois meets No. 6 Missouri in St. Louis, Michigan hosts a Utah team that is coming off a 9-4 record and Michigan State travels to California.
The rest of the schedule includes Western Kentucky at Indiana, Maine at Iowa, Northern Illinois at Minnesota, Syracuse at Northwestern, Coastal Carolina at No. 22 Penn State and Akron at No. 13 Wisconsin. No. 2 Ohio State takes on Youngstown State, which like Maine and Coastal Carolina is in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Just one Big Ten team (Illinois, at No. 6) was among the top 19 teams in the nation in strength of schedule in 2007.