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Big Ten’s bowl record wasn’t great, but postseason shows season of Big Ten-bashing was unwarranted

If this season was the deepest of depths Big Ten football could sink, the rest of college football should check itself.

The Big Ten finished its part of the bowl season at 2-5. Nothing to celebrate. But consider this:

- The league’s best team, Ohio State (and another of its top four, Penn State) was ineligible for the postseason, so every other bowl team played at least one bowl game higher than it should have.

- Purdue, a slumping team in the middle of a coaching change, was the only team to get blown out.

- Nebraska, recently walloped by an average Wisconsin team (which, remember lost to MSU at home), pushed Georgia to the brink Tuesday, before losing 45-31. Georgia, remember, minus bungled clock management at the end of the SEC title game, might be playing for the national championship.

- The Big Ten finished 1-2 against the vaunted SEC, with a win from Northwestern over Mississippi State, another it should have won with Michigan against a double-digit win South Carolina club, and then Nebraska’s toe-to-toe effort against a Georgia club perhaps as good as any team the SEC has to offer this season.

- And Wisconsin, which finished third in its division and had already lost five games, pushed Pac-12 champ Stanford until the end.

This wasn’t a great season for the Big Ten. Not even a good one. The league took a beating all year after some of its early results — even though teams like Utah State, UCLA and Oregon State, all of which challenged or upset Big Ten teams, turned out to be pretty formidable.

Much of the Big Ten’s early media bruising came because of preseason polls, and where teams like UCLA and Oregon State were thought to be by pundits who know squat. It’s another reason the first rankings shouldn’t be released until mid-October and, even if they are, none of us should pay any attention to them in September. That includes news organizations, which ought to quit running rankings in association with teams, or even reporting rankings, until there’s a decent sample size.

With the Big Ten season completely over, I take away this: The league, at its worst, ain’t bad. And, if Ohio State and Penn State were in the postseason, there would probably be no evidence this morning to suggest any league is much better, even at the end of this supposedly awful year.

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10 Responses to Big Ten’s bowl record wasn’t great, but postseason shows season of Big Ten-bashing was unwarranted

  1. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Sometimes when you shoot for the stars you end up on the roof.

  2. avatar Rob says:

    One fact not many people realize is that after week 4 which is most of the non league games the Big Ten was the only conference that did not have one team with a losing record. The other top conferences had the likes of Kansas, Kentucky, and Colorado while all the Big Ten schools were at least 2-2 and they didn’t play any more stiffs than the other leagues did.

  3. avatar AtlSpartan says:

    I agree. Apart from Purdue the B1G acquitted itself nicely. If you added OSU and PSU back into the lineup the conference may have been formidable.

  4. avatar MAB says:

    A while back, before the bowl, you asked what was the importance in going to a bowl following a 6-6 season. I think the fact that Cook even played and the possibility of his emergence as a starter next year shows the importance of any bowl game. MSU obviously didn’t feel comfortable inserting Cook into any Big Ten games this year, no matter how much Maxwell struggled down the stretch, but after the extra practices, they did feel comfortable going to Cook and he responded with a game winning drive. Who knows what it will mean for next year, but it could prove to be a turning point, either as the beginning of Cook’s emergence or as a wakeup call for Maxwell.

    • avatar Spartan 81 says:

      A while back, before the bowl, you asked what was the importance in sending a columnist to a bowl following a 6-6 season. I think the fact that Couch even got on the plane and the possibility of his emergence as a starter next year shows the importance of any bowl game. LSJ obviously didn’t feel comfortable inserting Couch into any Big Ten games this year, no matter how much Solari struggled down the stretch, but after the extra practices, they did feel comfortable going to Couch and he responded by interviewing a camel. Who knows what it will mean for next year, but it could prove to be a turning point, either as the beginning of Couch”s emergence or as a wakeup call for Solari.

  5. Pingback: Today’s links: Breaking down Big Ten bowl results « Big Ten Network

  6. avatar Wally Gator says:

    the TCU game was last for Maxwel as the #1 starter. MSU NEEDS a better mobile QB and depth on the o line, speed in the secondary and LBs.

  7. avatar Mr. Cresote. says:

    It has been apparent for some time that the College (and even the NFL)QB needs to be mobile and not a pocket passer. A “Shoelace” with a good arm.
    It just took 13 1/2 games for that loser of an O.C. to realize that fact.

  8. avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

    I think the criticism was warranted, scUM and NEB were supposed to be the best teams, and neither of them beat anybody worth a crap and both crumbled against the SEC in their bowl games. MSU beating Boise and TCU in the same season is the only thing good the big ten has going on this year, thank God it’s over.

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