staff, August 12, 2011

CHICAGO - What if Nebraska had joined the Big Ten 15 years ago? What if the Leaders and Legends Divisions were established in 1996? Who would have won the most Big Ten championship games? Would Nebraska or Michigan have won the 1997 national title (hint: the simulation says ?maybe Ohio State?)?

BTN is teaming up with for the simulation project, ?Big Ten Legends & Leaders: 1996-2010,? to find out the answers to those questions and more. split the 12 current Big Ten teams into their respective divisions and used the actual team rosters and statistics to simulate the Big Ten regular-season schedules from the 1996-2010 seasons.

Every day through August 26, a simulated season in Big Ten history will be highlighted on, including box scores and play-by-plays for every mythical Big Ten Championship Game.

For example, in real life, Michigan and Nebraska shared the 1997 National Championship. In the simulation, however, Nebraska was out of the picture with three conference losses and Michigan represented the Legends Division in the Big Ten Championship Game against Leaders Division champion Ohio State. In the simulation of the championship game, the Buckeyes avenged their only regular-season loss and used a 29-yard field goal by Dan Stultz on the game?s final play to defeat Michigan, 37-34. That left the Buckeyes and the Wolverines with one conference loss, to each other, heading into bowl season. In reality, Ohio State lost to Florida State in the Sugar Bowl. Through this simulation, however, the Buckeyes would have presumably gone to the Rose Bowl to play Washington State, while Michigan could have played Florida State in the Sugar Bowl. If both Big Ten teams had won, Ohio State and Michigan might have shared the national championship that season.

Other interesting tidbits from the 1996-2010 simulation:

  • The Leaders Division won 10 of the 15 mythical Big Ten Championship Games.
  • Nine different Big Ten teams captured division titles and appeared in the Big Ten Championship Game.
  • Ohio State won the Leaders Division nine times in 15 seasons and went 7-2 in Big Ten Championship Games.
  • Nebraska and Iowa tied for the most Legends Division titles with five each.
  • Nebraska, Iowa and Penn State each won two Big Ten Championship Games. Michigan and Wisconsin won one.
  • The most frequent Big Ten Championship Game matchups were Ohio State vs. Nebraska (3 times), Ohio State vs. Iowa (3 times), Ohio State vs. Michigan (twice) and Penn State vs. Iowa (twice).

About BTN: A joint venture between the Big Ten Conference and Fox Networks, BTN is the first internationally distributed network dedicated to covering one of the premier collegiate conferences in the country. With more than 800 events, all in HD, the 24/7 network is the ultimate destination for Big Ten fans and alumni across the country, allowing them to see their favorite teams, regardless of where they live. Events include football, men?s and women?s basketball games; dozens of Big Ten Championship events; studio shows; coaches? shows; and classic games. The network televises and streams more Olympic sporting events and women?s sports than has ever been aired on any other network. Original programming highlights activities and accomplishments of some of the nation?s finest universities. The groundbreaking Student U initiative provides real-world experience for students interested in careers in sports television. The network is available to more than 80 million homes across the United States and Canada, and currently has agreements with more than 300 affiliates, including AT&T U-Verse, Atlantic Broadband, Cablevision, Charter, Comcast, Cox, DirecTV, DISH Network, Insight, Mediacom, Rogers Cable (Canada), Shaw Cable and Shaw Direct (Canada), Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS. For updated information, go to

About WhatIfSports:, a unit of Fox Sports Interactive Media, specializes in online sports simulations and fantasy-style games. With their custom sports simulators, users can match teams from any era and not only see a final score, but also view complete play-by-play summaries of each game. In addition, the site?s Dynasty games enable sports fans to compete in virtual sports worlds over multiple seasons in sports such as baseball, college football and college basketball. WhatIfSports? games do not rely on results generated by real-life players; games are simulated using proprietary technology that incorporates statistical data, past performances and ratings into a complex game engine. The site is based in Cincinnati, Ohio and is fully integrated into on MSN.

Contact: Mike Vest, BTN (312-665-0737); Jake Westrich, (513-333-0313; 513-470-3491)