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Published: Friday, 2/2/2007

Analysts agree on Big Ten; Herbstreit, Corso speak at SeaGate

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Kirk Herbstreit, left, and ESPN sidekick Lee Corso answer
questions prior to the Italian American Sports Club banquet.
Kirk Herbstreit, left, and ESPN sidekick Lee Corso answer questions prior to the Italian American Sports Club banquet.
Enlarge

Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso are often at odds when offering prognostications in the closing segments of ESPN's College GameDay.

Last night, though, the college football analysts spoke harmoniously when discussing the state of the Big Ten - particularly Ohio State and Michigan - prior to a dinner hosted by the Italian American Sports Club at SeaGate Centre.

Herbstreit and Corso told a throng of media members that the Big Ten and its two powers are in recuperation mode after embarrassing showings in BCS games last month.

"The lasting impression for people from the '06 season is Michigan getting dominated by USC and Ohio State getting dominated by Florida," said Herbstreit, a Buckeyes quarterback from 1989-92.

"If you live outside the Big Ten region, your impression of the Big Ten is that it's a second or third-tier conference at best. That's something I think the Big Ten will have to work themselves out of."

And that process won't likely include tailoring a league schedule that saw Ohio State sit for nearly two months before losing badly to Florida in the BCS title game.

Corso, who coached in the Big Ten at Indiana from 1973-82, chose his catch phrases - "forget about it" - when addressing possible tampering with the conference's schedule in the future.

"They're too traditional," he said. "To get anything changed in the Big Ten used to take us years. We were always a little behind everyone else."

Before the inevitable Ohio State/Michigan discussion, Herbstreit and Corso were bombarded with questions about Nick Saban, the nomadic coach who recently took the Alabama job despite his maintaining that he'd honor his contract with the NFL's Miami Dolphins.

Both analysts staunchly defended the move by Saban, who was the coach at the University of Toledo in 1990.

"He went for four and a half [more] million bucks a year," Corso said. "You think he's stupid? I would go for four and a half million bucks a year."

Herbstreit, who can speak both as an athlete and as a media member, was asked if there's a disconnect between the sides concerning a situation like Saban's.

"I'll never pretend to understand certain portions of the media," said Herbstreit, who has been with ESPN since 1995. "I'm shocked that people are surprised. This is how it works."

The IASC awarded scholarships last night to Marlisa Beamer (Waite), Marissa Caputo (Notre Dame), Melanie Heinlein (Anthony Wayne), Joseph Pasquinelli (St. John's) and Jack Rumpf (Bowsher).

Contact Ryan Autullo at:

rautullo@theblade.com.



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