INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 06: Quarterback Cardale Jones #12 of the Ohio State Buckeyes lifts the Big Ten trophy after his team defeated the Wisconsin Badgers 59-0 in the Big Ten Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 6, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

ESPN analyst thinks the Big Ten has closed the gap on the SEC

An interesting take here...

Thanks to a push from Ohio State, Jim Harbaugh's antics and a strong Michigan State team, the Big Ten appears to be closing the gap on the SEC.

ESPN college football analyst Joey Galloway took to the 'Booger and Burns' podcast, via 247sports, and discussed what he's seen out of the Big Ten:

"When you look at the top-tier teams, the Big Ten may present two or three of those teams," Galloway said. "Ohio State absolutely being one of those teams, Michigan State and Michigan now making a comeback. Michigan's not there yet and they have a lot of work to do, but they're a much improved football team.

"Michigan is as important to the Big Ten as Ohio State is to the Big Ten as far as being a historic program that has been very successful. The Big Ten needs them to be successful just for the entire conference to get respect. The top-tier teams in the Big Ten could play anywhere in the SEC. There's just a few more teams at the top in the SEC than there is in the Big Ten. I honestly think the Playoff system has helped that gap close."

And he's right. After Ohio State won a National Championship two years ago, the Big Ten finished 5-5 in bowl games last year, just behind the Pac-12 (6-4) and the SEC (9-2, including Alabama's National Championship win).

The stands for the recruiting game, where the Big Ten notched No. 4 (Ohio State) and No. 5 (Michigan), behind Alabama, Florida State and LSU in the 2016 composite team rankings. Michigan State took over No. 18  and Penn State rounded out a list of four Big Ten squads in  the top 20.

After another standout season from some of the top teams in the Big Ten, how much longer will it be before they overtake the SEC? They've certainly got their work cut out for themselves.