At first glance a 2-5 Big Ten bowl record looks pretty bad but if there is anything to be said about the rankings (and the quality of regular season schedule), the Big Ten has nothing to be ashamed of. In almost every Big Ten bowl game game Big Ten teams played well above their ranking and even Minnesota, who finished the regular season with a losing record, held Texas Tech to the final second before giving up the win.
Here are seven good things about the 2012 B1G bowl season
Although it’s great to see Northwestern shake the purple monkey from their back it was even better to see a mid-level Big Ten team put a mid-level SEC team properly in their place. By doing so they proved for the second time this season that just because you play in the SEC, you are not a top college football team.
Even though Northwestern had already dispensed of fellow SEC conference Vanderbilt, Mississippi State’s Corey Brumfield still didn’t get the fact that Mississippi State is nothing more than an SEC coat-tail rider when he said,
“When a guy’s fast in the Big Ten, he stands out. If he’s in the SEC, he’d be [just] another player.”
Northwestern completely humiliated Mississippi State in a game that included four interceptions against a quarterback who had only thrown two previous interceptions his entire career.
That purple beat down you just received Cory? It’s called Northwestern Speed.
Michigan State By 1?
Rarely does a 3-5 Big Ten team can make it to a bowl game but Michigan State did just that. After losing most of their 2012 games by less than a touchdown, Michigan State ended their season on a high note with a last second field goal to beat TCU.
58 Minutes of Minnesota Football
If a 3-5 record will get you to a bowl game, why not throw a 2-6 Big Ten team in there also. For all but the last minute of so of the Meinke Car Care Bowl it looked like Minnesota was going be able to proudly apply the medicore label the 2012 season. Unfortunately, they lost it in the last seconds of the game. Even though, a bottom wrung Big Ten team gave mid-level Big 12 TCU a run for their money.
If the SEC really is as good as we keep hearing, the Capital One Bowl should have been a complete blowout for No. 8 ranked Georgia. I mean really, this is the team that lost the SEC championship to national championship designee Alabama by a mere four points. Nebraska gave up 70 points in a blowout Big Ten Championship to Wisconsin who finished third in their division.
And yet for three quarters, it looked like Nebraska was going to pull a Northwestern on another SEC team. Although Rex Burkehead did everything he could moving the ball 140 yards on only 24 carries and pulling down four passes for 39 yards and a touchdown, the Nebraska defense once again failed to show up.
If this is the best the SEC has to offer, put your money on Notre Dame.
Wisconsin Didn’t Get Blown Out
Again, if you go by the rankings a No. 6 Stanford should have blown out an unranked Wisconsin but that was not the case. Wisconsin turned their early game difficulties into a defensive struggle. It would have been nice to see the B1G default champion win the Rose Bowl but when an 8-1 Pac 12 team has to work this hard to get past a 4-4 Big Ten team, I’m not complaining.
And Then There’s Michigan
Based on their record and just the fact that they are in the SEC, 11-2 South Carolina and should have had no trouble putting away 8-5 Michigan. These are the guys who stomped No. 5 (at the time) Georgia 35-7 while Michigan’s only outing against the SEC ended in an embarrassing 41-14 season opener. Yet there was Michigan, who until the last 11 seconds of the Outback Bowl looked like they may actually pull it out.
Of course those of us in the Big Ten gave up counting on Michigan years ago. Michigan being Michigan threw out yet another chance to knock off an over-rated SEC team.
Can We Admit that LSU Was Overrated Yet?
If ever there was a team that demonstrates SEC bias in the polls, this year’s LSU was it. Bested only by Arkansas’ No. 8 ranking, LSU opened at No. 3 and even after struggling against FCS Townson and only getting past 4-7 Arkansas by a touchdown they still finished the regular season ranked No. 8.
Yeah, a win is a win and in the SEC those wins count double. However, it looks like they were a good paring for No. 14 ranked Clemson who slipped by them in the last seconds of the game. I’m sure when the final polls come out LSU will slip no further than No. 9 or so.