We already knew Wisconsin was headed to the Rose Bowl this bowl season. That much was decided with Saturday night’s thrilling victory over Michigan State in the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game. The rest of the bowl pairings were announced Sunday night, and when all was said and done, the Big Ten accepted a record 10 invitations. Here’s the list: Illinois (Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl), Michigan (Sugar Bowl), Michigan State (Outback Bowl), Nebraska (Capital One Bowl), Northwestern (Meineke Car Care Bowl), Ohio State (Gator Bowl), Penn State (TicketCity Bowl), Purdue (Little Caesars Pizza Bowl) and Wisconsin (Rose Bowl). See all the pairings in this post.
Find out more about: Big Ten Bowls
Big Ten title game champ Wisconsin moved to No. 8 in the latest Coaches’ Poll, released Sunday morning. The Badgers, also the Leaders Division champs, pace the Big Ten and are followed by No. 12 Michigan, No. 13 Michigan State, No. 20 Nebraska and No. 23 Penn State. The Wolverines moving up to No. 12, from No. 16, is the biggest development, because teams seeking a BCS at-large berth must finish inside the top 14. By moving up four spots, it could be enough when the final BCS Standings are released tonight.
The shadow of Joe Paterno will forever engulf the Penn State head coaching job as the man spent the past 46 years roaming the sidelines in State College, Pa., as head coach. One thing is for sure about the next coach, at least in my mind: I don’t think there can be any ties to Penn State or Paterno. Sorry, Tom Bradley. It also would shut the door on Al Golden, a former Penn State tight end and assistant coach who recently signed an extension at the University of Miami.
The Big Ten Conference announced on Wednesday the winners of the top five individual awards for the 2011 football season. Wisconsin’s Montee Ball was named the Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year, Penn State’s Devon Still was named the Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year, and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller was named the Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year.
Find out more about: Devon Still, Montee Ball
You have questions, I have answers in my weekly mailbag leading up to the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship. Questions about Michigan State’s All-Big Ten picks, Big Ten expansion and, of course, the league title game highlight this week’s mail bag.
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Last summer in conjunction with WhatIfSports, BTN.com rolled out two related hypothetical questions: What if Nebraska had been in the Big Ten since 1996? And what if the Big Ten had been playing with two divisions leading up to a title game since that year, too? Using the software from WhatIfSports, we generated each season’s possible outcome, including actual box scores. The results were rather intriguing. For example, check out the WhatIfSports.com results for the 1996 Big Ten season.