It’s become a New Year’s tradition. Watching the Big Ten get bowl game beatdowns. This year has been no exception. We thought the Big ten was the best conference in the nation all season long with four teams ranked in the Top Ten and nearly getting two in the College Football Playoffs. But here we are at the end of another bowl season and the Big Ten’s biggest win so far with the Rose Bowl set to kick off as of this posting, is a win over Western Michigan by one touchdown by the Wisconsin Badgers.
The Cotton Bowl is a nice prize, but the Big Ten expected much more. The Ohio State Buckeyes went to the Fiesta Bowl and laid an egg against the Clemson Tigers 31-0. It was the second straight year the Big Ten has been routed in the playoffs. The Michigan Wolverines made a valiant effort in the Orange Bowl against the Florida State Seminoles but came up just short in a 33-32 thriller. So if the USC Trojans can knock off the Penn State Nittany Lions in the Rose Bowl, three of the New Year’s Six Bowls will be lost by Big Ten teams with the lone win against a MAC school.\
But let’s not stop there. The Big Ten was getting blown out in the Outback Bowl while Wisconsin was winning when the offensively challenged Florida Gators smashed the Iowa Hawkeyes 30-3 in the Outback Bowl. Blooming Onions for everyone at Outback tomorrow! We also saw the Nebraska Cornhuskers get hammered by the Tennessee Volunteers in the Music City Bowl 38-24 and we saw the Indiana Hoosiers lose to the Utah Utes 26-24 at the Foster Farms Bowl.
The Big Ten got nice wins at the Holiday Bowl when the Minnesota Golden Gophers beat he Washington State Cougars 17-12 and in the Pinstripe Bowl where the Northwestern Wildcats upset the Pittsburgh Panthers 31-24. But we also saw the Maryland Terrapins lose to the Boston College Eagles at the Quick Lane Bowl 36-30. So going into the Rose Bowl, the Big Ten is 3-6.
If Penn State can win, at least they save a little face having four bids in the New Year’s Six and gaining a split at 2-2. But watching the Buckeyes go down the way they did and watching the SEC obliterate them in two bowl match-ups yet again as they so often do, one cannot help but wonder if the conference is over rated.
The conference that has come up huge is the ACC. Long thought of as a basketball conference, they have shined in the bowls this year, the lone exception being the Louisville Cardinals who lost to the LSU Tigers in the Citrus Bowl. But with the Clemson blowout of Ohio State, the Seminoles win over Michigan in the Orange Bowl, three wins over SEC schools in bowls other than the Citrus, the ACC looks like they have bragging rights in this bowl season.