Michigan State is making its first trip to Pasadena since the 1987 season in what will be the 100th Rose Bowl. This is a culmination of sorts for Mark Dantonio in his seven seasons in East Lansing, finally getting the Spartans to the Big Ten’s Holy Grail after some close calls. Stanford is making its fourth trip to a BCS in a row and its second journey in succession to the Rose Bowl. This has become the premier Pac-12 program under David Shaw. Who needs Jim Harbaugh?
Yes, Ohio State would rather be playing in Pasadena, Calif., for the national championship vs. another ACC school, Florida State. But this is still a BCS bowl vs. a very good Clemson team. And that means it’s a chance for the Buckeyes to score some credibility points and quell critics who say OSU played a soft schedule.
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
This is one of the better matchups of the postseason. Wisconsin—on a three-game bowl losing skid–and South Carolina—aiming for a third postseason triumph in succession–never have played, adding intrigue to this battle. Gary Andersen is looking to put his stamp on the Badger program in his first season; Steve Spurrier looks to add another brick in the wall of a strong program he has built in Columbia for a team that has wins vs. Missouri and Clemson.
Iowa has enjoyed a season of redemption. And it has been sweet for a program that was scrutinized and criticized coming off a 4-8 season in 2012. Had Kirk Ferentz lost it? Laughable.
Let’s start daily links here with Ohio State’s Braxton Miller winning the Silver Football from the Chicago Tribune as the Big Ten MVP. Not a big surprise but still impressive when you consider he missed almost three games with a knee injury. Had Miller posted big numbers in a win over Michigan State in the Big Ten title game, I think he would have been a Heisman finalist.
Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
Two traditional powers square off for a second season in a row in the postseason. And each will do so without the quarterbacks they began the season with. Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez has been shelved with a variety of ailments—shoulder, hip, abdomen, ankle–missing eight of the last nine games. Aaron Murray’s season was wrecked by a knee injury suffered vs. Kentucky on November 23.
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
USA Today has its All-American Team out. So, let’s start daily links there. Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier and Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard are the lone first-team choices from the Big Ten. Funny, wasn’t Wisconsin linebacker the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year? Borland was on the second team with Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun, Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan and Northwestern kicker Jeff Budzien. Lewan? Really? He was one of the 10 best offensive linemen in America this season? Talk amongst yourself.
One college football blue blood in Michigan faces a recent upstart in Kansas State. This is intriguing. Even better: These teams never have met. For Michigan, this is a chance to get a bad taste out of its mouth for a 2013 season that has been, well, a disappointment.
If Minnesota is disappointed to be going to Houston, it isn’t showing it. The Gophers probably deserved a better destination. But the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl opted for 7-5 Michigan over 8-4 Nebraska; and the Gator Bowl tabbed Nebraska over Minnesota.
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s start daily links with this bit of good news: Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi has won the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant. This was a no-brainer, really.
Head coaches get plenty of accolades and awards. The players? They have myriad trophies they can win and postseason all-league teams they can be named to. But what about the assistant coaches? It’s time to shine the spotlight on the guys at heart of every program’s engine.
Street and Smith Sports Business Daily is out with its annual rundown of bowl swag. What is swag? I had a guy affiliated with the military tell me once that it stands for “stuff we all get.” And, well, the thick-necked Big Ten players are gonna get some nice “stuff.”
The regular season has ended, but the cards and letters keep coming in. The bowl matchups have been set. Yes, the Big Ten has two teams in BCS bowls. But many eyes will focus on the Big Ten vs. SEC matchups, which always receive a lot of scrutiny.
Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg was Big Ten Freshman of the Year last week. And, he’s the headliner on the 2013 BTN.com All-Freshman Team. Led by Hackenberg, Penn State has five players on the squad, pacing all schools. Nebraska has four.
The Big Ten bowl matchups have been announced. And there are some interesting clashes.
Soon the official bowl pairings will be announced. Here are my last projections. The big change is Ohio State falling from the BCS title game to the Orange Bowl, and Michigan State rising to the Rose Bowl. So, the Big Ten will have two BCS bowl teams but will have to wait another year to win a national title.
INDIANAPOLIS — The Big Ten title game is just three years old, but Michigan State’s 34-24 win over Ohio State was a “classic” and won’t soon be forgotten.
INDIANAPOLIS — Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier was dejected as he stood in the postgame interview room. His Ohio State Buckeyes had just lost the Big Ten title game, 34-24, to Michigan State. The loss ended a 24-game winning streak. Worse: It killed OSU’s chances to play for the BCS national title.
BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart posted quick takes after each quarter of the Big Ten Football Championship from his perch at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Also, follow him on Twitter @BTNTomDienhart.
In less than 24 hours Michigan State and Ohio State will take the field to face off in the 2013 Big Ten Football Championship Game. There is plenty at stake. For now, let’s take a look at some numbers on both sides of the ball for both sides starting with this one: Ohio State and Michigan State have played six common foes in 2013. They are Michigan, Iowa, Northwestern, Illinois, Indiana and Purdue. The Buckeyes’ total margin of victory in those tilts is 130; MSU’s margin was 126.
INDIANAPOLIS — The marquee on the Big Ten title game says “Ohio State vs. Michigan State.” But it may as well say “Ohio State’s offense vs. Michigan State defense.” That’s what many are focused on the eve of the game.
The picks are in! I canvassed my writing colleagues from all Big Ten precincts, as well as some national scribes and pundits, to get their prediction on the Big Ten title game between Ohio State and Michigan State this Saturday night in Indianapolis. And yes, we asked for a predicted final score, too.