What if B1G's best BCS era teams played each other?

BTN senior writer Tom Dienhart put together an outstanding piece earlier today, highlighting the 10 best Big Ten football teams in the BCS era, which ran 16 seasons stretching from 1998-2013.

[ MORE: One look back at Big Ten’s best BCS era teams ]

With any list of this magnitude comes plenty of fan chatter, going back and fourth about which teams deserved to be higher and lower on this list. Of course, there’s no way to determine which team would win if these 10 squads got together and played in a tournament-style playoff. But we decided to do the next best thing.

Using the software from WhatIfSports, we paired each team in a tournament format and simulated 10 games, generating each game’s possible outcome, including actual box scores. The results were rather intriguing.

1. 2002 Ohio State vs. 10. 2010 Michigan State

Winner: 2002 Ohio State, 6-4 (out of 10 possible simulations)

Game 10 Box Score:

Final – 1/16/2014 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
2002 Ohio State Buckeyes 0 10 3 0 13
2010 Michigan State Spartans 6 3 3 0 12
Scoring Summary
1st Quarter
MSU 10:36 FG Dan Conroy 31 yds. 0-3
MSU 4:38 FG Dan Conroy 27 yds. 0-6
2nd Quarter
MSU 12:52 FG Dan Conroy 28 yds. 0-9
OhioSt 8:08 TD Maurice Clarett 15 yd. run (Nugent kick) 7-9
OhioSt 0:00 FG Mike Nugent 28 yds. 10-9
3rd Quarter
OhioSt 11:46 FG Mike Nugent 42 yds. 13-9
MSU 0:48 FG Dan Conroy 21 yds. 13-12

2. 2013 Michigan State vs. 9. 1998 Wisconsin

Winner: 2013 Michigan State, 6-4 (out of 10 simulations)

Game 10 Box Score:

Final – 1/16/2014   1st   2nd 3rd  4th   Total
2013 Michigan State Spartans   10   10  3  6   29
1998 Wisconsin Badgers   0   3  3  0   6
Scoring Summary
1st Quarter
MSU 11:36 FG Michael Geiger 42 yds. 3-0
MSU 0:07 TD Jeremy Langford 69 yd. pass from Cook (Geiger kick) 10-0
2nd Quarter
Wisc 4:09 FG Matt Davenport 46 yds. 10-3
MSU 1:00 TD Macgarrett Kings 9 yd. pass from Cook (Geiger kick) 17-3
MSU 0:00 FG Michael Geiger 26 yds. 20-3
3rd Quarter
MSU 9:32 FG Michael Geiger 32 yds. 23-3
Wisc 2:36 FG Matt Davenport 32 yds. 23-6
4th Quarter
MSU 4:40 FG Michael Geiger 44 yds. 26-6
MSU 1:37 FG Michael Geiger 42 yds. 29-6

3. 1998 Ohio State vs. 8. 1999 Wisconsin

Winner: 1998 Ohio State, 10-0 (out of 10 simulations)

Game 10 Box Score:

Scoring Summary
1st Quarter
OhioSt 10:15 TD David Boston 7 yd. pass from Germaine (Stultz kick) 7-0
OhioSt 7:38 TD Joe Montgomery 36 yd. run (Stultz kick) 14-0
OhioSt 0:41 TD John Lumpkin 18 yd. pass from Germaine (Stultz kick) 21-0
2nd Quarter
Wisc 11:32 FG Vitaly Pisetsky 32 yds. 21-3
Wisc 7:06 FG Vitaly Pisetsky 35 yds. 21-6
Wisc 2:38 TD Nick Davis 80 yd. pass from Bollinger (Pisetsky kick) 21-13
OhioSt 0:51 FG Dan Stultz 36 yds. 24-13
OhioSt 0:20 TD John Lumpkin 21 yd. pass from Germaine (Stultz kick) 31-13
3rd Quarter
OhioSt 10:28 TD Steve Wisniewski 48 yd. pass from Germaine (Stultz kick) 38-13
Wisc 9:09 TD Ron Dayne 39 yd. run (Pisetsky kick) 38-20
OhioSt 3:24 FG Dan Stultz 33 yds. 41-20
OhioSt 0:15 TD Michael Wiley 37 yd. run (Stultz kick) 48-20
4th Quarter
OhioSt 10:56 FG Dan Stultz 36 yds. 51-20
Wisc 10:30 TD Ron Dayne 3 yd. run (Pisetsky kick) 51-27
OhioSt 7:18 FG Dan Stultz 22 yds. 54-27
Wisc 3:14 TD Demetrius Brown 4 yd. pass from Kavanagh (2-PT conversion failed) 54-33

4. 2006 Ohio State vs. 7. 2010 Wisconsin

Winner: 2006 Ohio State, 7-3 (out of 10 simulations)

Game 3 Box Score:

Final – 1/16/2014 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
2006 Ohio State Buckeyes 6 17 13 28 64
2010 Wisconsin Badgers 7 10 0 3 20
Scoring Summary
1st Quarter
OhioSt 12:01 FG Aaron Pettrey 28 yds. 3-0
Wisc 5:07 TD John Clay 6 yd. run (Welch kick) 3-7
OhioSt 1:43 FG Aaron Pettrey 37 yds. 6-7
2nd Quarter
Wisc 14:49 FG Philip Welch 25 yds. 6-10
OhioSt 11:01 TD Chris Wells 18 yd. run (Pettrey kick) 13-10
Wisc 6:52 TD David Gilreath 11 yd. pass from Tolzien (Welch kick) 13-17
OhioSt 2:09 TD Maurice Wells 2 yd. run (Pettrey kick) 20-17
OhioSt 0:00 FG Aaron Pettrey 28 yds. 23-17
3rd Quarter
OhioSt 8:51 TD Antonio Pittman 37 yd. run (Pettrey kick) 30-17
OhioSt 5:00 TD Brian Hartline 41 yd. pass from Smith (Pettrey missed extra point) 36-17
4th Quarter
Wisc 14:56 FG Philip Welch 29 yds. 36-20
OhioSt 11:00 TD Chris Wells 14 yd. run (Pettrey kick) 43-20
OhioSt 6:43 TD Chris Wells 70 yd. run (Pettrey kick) 50-20
OhioSt 4:30 TD 87 yd interception return (Pettrey kick) 57-20
OhioSt 1:43 TD Antonio Pittman 51 yd. run (Pettrey kick) 64-20

5. 2002 Iowa vs. 6. 2007 Ohio State

Winner: 2002 Iowa, 8-2 (out of 10 simulations)

Game 4 Box Score:

2002 Iowa Hawkeyes 3 3 3 11 20
2007 Ohio State Buckeyes 7 0 3 3 13
Scoring Summary
1st Quarter
OhioSt 11:24 TD Chris Wells 7 yd. run (Pretorius kick) 0-7
Iowa 5:26 FG Nate Kaeding 38 yds. 3-7
2nd Quarter
Iowa 11:52 FG Nate Kaeding 21 yds. 6-7
3rd Quarter
Iowa 11:49 FG Nate Kaeding 39 yds. 9-7
OhioSt 9:35 FG Ryan Pretorius 34 yds. 9-10
4th Quarter
OhioSt 14:56 FG Ryan Pretorius 26 yds. 9-13
Iowa 4:39 FG Nate Kaeding 37 yds. 12-13
Iowa 0:32 TD Dallas Clark 4 yd. pass from Banks (Russell 2-PT conversion) 20-13

Originally from Farmington Hills, MI, I have worked at the Big Ten Network since 2012 and took over my role as web editor and blogger in August, 2013. Follow me on twitter for constant Big Ten updates @srmerriman. Thanks and enjoy!!

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6 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (6 Comments)
Jay W on 1/17/2014 @ 10:09am EST Said:

So, are you going to continue this through to a championship?

Spartan in Los Angeles on 1/17/2014 @ 10:52am EST Said:

Having watched the game I really think this years Spartan team could challenge and ultimately defeat the 2002 Buckeye squad. Coach Dantonio is of the same feeling and he was on that 02 staff. Looking forward to Coach Izzo taking our boys to Champaign tomorrow night, lets keep the current win streak rolling leading up to the Michigan game in E Lansing next week.

Don on 1/17/2014 @ 11:28am EST Said:

This exercise is pointless, because it doesn’t include 2005 Penn State.

Will Edwards on 1/17/2014 @ 12:30pm EST Said:

1998 Ohio State was easily the most talented Big Ten team of the BCS era.

jen on 1/17/2014 @ 7:15pm EST Said:

95 nebraska team hands down

    Don on 1/17/2014 @ 7:45pm EST Said:

    Jen, 1995 Nebraska was a great team, but the BCS didn’t start until 1998. So that’s why they aren’t in this discussion.