(Ann Arbor, Michigan)
First of all, to understand why so many Big Ten fans do not feel there is a rivalry between the Big Ten and the SEC, you must understand that northerners are not still fighting the Civil War. The North got over that one a long time ago. Oh, sure, many of us find it interesting and study it, but we don't carry on this North/South grudge the way so many Southerners do.
Secondly, I don't understand why some SEC fans who have commented here think the SEC doesn't get enough respect nationally. All I've heard from the national sports pundits the last ten years is that the SEC is routinely the best conference in the country. Every bowl season, all I ever hear about is how fast the teams from the south are, and how the "slow" Big Ten teams just can't keep up with that "team speed" exhibited by teams from the south. The reality, as some others have posted here, is that in the last five to ten years the Big Ten has faired quite well against the SEC in bowl games overall. Yes, OSU got trounced by Florida last year, but one game does not an entire inter-conference history make.
Another valid point that was brought up is that Big Ten fans are known to travel well, so lesser Big Ten teams are often invited to better bowls than they really deserve. This is especially the case with Michigan, which has a large, loyal, and relatively wealthy fan base that is spread out all over the country. Take their bowl game against Tennessee a few years back, for example; I've heard many people point to this game as an example of how the SEC is superior to the Big Ten, but as a Michigan fan I can tell you that that team was probably the worst Michigan team in the last twenty years-- the offense was toothless, the front seven was undersized, and the secondary was terrible ("suspect" was the word of the day, some Wolverine fans may remember). How Carr squeezed eight wins out of that team is beyond me. For whatever reason, though, they got matched up against a Tennessee team that probably should have been playing for a national title.