There were no legends or leaders for the Big 10 today, maybe they partied a little too much on New Year’s Eve. January 1, 2011 will go down in infamy in Big 10 history as the conference lost all five New Year’s Day bowl games by a combined score of 204-102.
The Midwest muscle and power game was no match for the zone reads, spread options and slip screens the conference faced. Opposing scatbacks and skill position speedsters used the Big 10 corn-fed cloud of dust as camouflage on their way to the green grass and high fives of the end zone..
Penn State and Wisconsin took it on the chin in close games, Northwestern showed heart in a comeback that fell short while Michigan and Michigan State never showed up at all and suffered through record setting old fashioned butt whippings.
It is up to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl on Tuesday night to salvage a victory and stem the tidal wave of embarrassing losses. The Buckeyes will face Arkansas from the SEC and Ohio State is 0 for 9 all-time in bowl games against the SEC. Hopefully the Buckeyes don’t get tattooed by the Razorbacks.
Northwestern started the day against Texas Tech in the Ticket City Bowl, by the time some revelers rolled out of bed the Wildcats trailed 31-9 in the second half. They showed resilience and climbed back to get within 45-38, only to have their Hail Mary attempt intercepted as time expired.
Michigan State was a co-champion of the Big 10 and felt slighted that as a top-ten team they were not playing in a prestigious and profitable BCS game. They were hammered by Alabama 49-7 in the Capitol One Bowl. The 42 point loss was the most in the history of the Capitol One Bowl.
The Spartans finished with -48 yards rushing (that’s right, minus 48 yards) and quarterback Kirk Cousins completed only 10 passes. At least Michigan State punter Aaron Bates had a good game averaging 43.4 yards on seven kicks and the Spartan kickoff returners got in a lot of work.
Things got so bad that little used Alabama running back Eddie Lacy ran untouched up the middle for a 62 yard touchdown in the fourth quarter as the Crimson Tide was trying to run out the clock. Alabama set so many records in the game that we don’t have room to show them all.
Penn State had the lead most of the day against Florida in the Outback Bowl before losing 37-24. The Gators were playing without two of their top defensive linemen and the Nittany Lions had their all-time leading rusher in the backfield, Evan Royster. So of course Penn State let Matt McGloin,their walk-on quarterback, throw 41 times for five interceptions and only put the ball into Royster’s hands for 20 rushes.
Florida outscored Penn State 17-0 in the fourth quarter as the game was sealed when McGloin was picked off by Ahmad Black, who returned it 80 yards for a touchdown with just under a minute left, thwarting the Nittany Lions potential game winning drive.
Michigan set a couple records in their 52-14 Gator Bowl loss to Mississippi State. They suffered their worst bowl loss ever and yielded the most points in any of their bowl games. Denard Robinson had a good game, but Michigan has no defense at all, and neither does their coach for keeping his job.
The Wolverines were shutout in the second half and probably sealed the fate of Rich Rodriguez, the more than likely soon to be ex coach. Does anybody have Jim Harbaugh’s phone number?
Wisconsin capped the day in the Rose Bowl and at least they played an exciting game. It is hard being Goliath against a fired up David and that is what happened as TCU not only crashed the party, but stole the keg with a 21-19 Rose Bowl victory for the ages.
Wisconsin’s offensive line averaged 50 pounds more than the TCU defensive line, yet it was the Badgers who seemed to wear down as the Horned Frogs rose to the Rose Bowl occasion. TCU’s defense was led by Tank Carder. Any team whose defense has a leader named Tank is not to be messed with.