Big Ten Begins Bowl Season with a Whimper

I originally planned to cover the Big Ten’s bowl season in a little detail, if only for something to talk about with Michigan’s lack of making a bowl game. However, I quickly realized that I didn’t really care about the rest of the conference, and decided not to do game-by-game previews of the entire conference.

That said, national perception of the Big Ten is relevant to the Michigan Wolverines, as ESPN pundits and national columnists have ever-more influence on the polls, and they use their platform to idiotically paint teams with the broad brush of conference loyalty. Going into next year, Michigan will get a better reputation by association on the basis of a strong bowl season by their conference compatriots. Of course, that means little until the results on the field bear out an overall improved level of play for the league and the team itself.

Last year, I went to the Champs Sports Bowl between Michigan State and a Boston College team that I thought was overrated for much of the year. The underdog Spartans gave the Golden Eagles a much better game than was expected, and likely should have won, save for a downright Hoyer-esque performance by… uh… Hoyer (awkward!). That set the table for a generally poor postseason by the league, save a few bright spots from the likes of Michigan and… Purdue.

This year, the Big Ten is in a fairly tough situation, as its teams are underdogs in 6 of their 7 bowl games. Wisconsin got the league started with a shellacking by the favored Florida State Seminoles. Wisconsin really shot themselves in the foot early in the game, and Bret Bielema is slowly proving himself to be the leader of some of the most poorly-coached major football teams in America. Of course, after the early choking by Wisconsin, Florida State rode the wave of momentum to a big win. (Side-rant time: Everyone who really follows college football knows the ACC is so even all over the place because it’s essentially just a mediocre league. Then you have talking heads like Todd McShay and Mel Kiper telling everyone to look at it more like an NFL division, where all these TEH AWESOMEZ teams are beating up on each other, and in the end somebody ends up with a playoff spot. Is there any way to do a better job removing any and all appeal from the college game? Of course, maybe the ACC is “good” (and the bowl games have started to bear this out so far), but that does nothing more than show me why parity in sports may be the most boring thing possible).

Of course, there are 6 games remaining for the Big Ten, and none loom larger than the two BCS contests. Big Ten squads have struggled in the Bowl Championship Series of late, with Ohio State dropping two consecutive National Title games, and Michigan laying an egg against USC in 2007, and Illinois simply overmatched by the Trojans this January. If Penn State and/or Ohio State can pull off an upset, it can go a long way to repairing the reputation of the conference.

Posted under Football

3 Comments so far

  1. jessica white says...

    Something I try to do, several times, each and everyday.

  2. Jacques Auef says...

    UM might have had a horrible year but many realized that could be the case. What is Wisky’s excuse? I’d argue they were more of a disappointment than Michigan because everyone thought they’d have a good enough team to contend for a Big 10 Championship.

  3. Embarrassing the way Wisconsin couldn’t put up points against FSU. Florida State is only mediocre.

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