Truthfully put, The Big Ten Conference hasn’t looked so good in bowl games as of late. In fact, over the last two years alone, the conference has a porous 5-11 bowl record. To put that in perspective, the MAC Conference is 6-6 in bowl games in that same time frame. It’s most definitely time for a change.
Conventional wisdom says that the conference has had its bright spots in the past, but a paradigm shift is long overdue. Here are two reasons why a team from the Big Ten conference will win a BCS bowl game this season: Urban Meyer is coaching at Ohio State, and the No. 1 defense in the country is headed to Pasadena. But wait, there’s more to it.
Ever since Meyer took the head coaching position at Ohio State, the expectations have been sky high in Columbus, OH. From seeing the Buckeyes’ lineup in the spread offense on every snap, to seeing the team go 24-1 in Meyer’s first two regular season’s on the job, the consensus is that Ohio State will stay relevant for a while. Meyer has exactly what he wants as a head coach; an electrifying dual threat quarterback, a durable NFL-ready senior running back, and speedy playmakers from sideline to sideline. Have these things ever steered him wrong in the past? Dating back to his days as the head coach at Utah (2003-04), the rather aggressive-minded Toledo, OH native has been magnificent at preparing his teams to play in bowl games. Upon going 7-1, Meyer has outscored opposing teams 271-to-148 (15.4 points per game) in bowl games in his head coaching career.
Although Ohio State’s secondary has been gashed for huge chunks of yards this season, and it will be tested by a quarterback who’s better than any quarterback it’s faced in Clemson‘s Tajh Boyd, their high octane offense is hard to stop. The 2014 Orange Bowl may be a high scoring affair, but I see the Buckeyes coming out on top. If they don’t, there’s an option two to this whole equation.
It has been noted that defense wins championships. Never was that more apparent than when the Michigan State Spartans gashed the Ohio State Buckeyes’ hopes to compete for a BCS national title with a victory over them in the 2013 Big Ten championship game Saturday night. Ohio State came into the contest averaging 530.5 yards per game, and the Spartans held them to a season-low 374 yards.
Now, Mark Dantonio‘s defensively fused squad will head to Pasadena to take on a Stanford offense that is 40th in the country in terms of total yards gained this season, averaging 413.1 yards per contest. While Stanford has a respectable defense in itself, the Spartans have the edge in the contest, and they will come into this new years day bowl game with a ton of momentum.
Could the Spartans and the Buckeyes both lose in their perspective BCS contests? Most certainly! Has the Big Ten Conference lost a ton of respect in recent years due its lack of competitive edge in big-time bowl games? You bet! Does any of that matter, as this season has just about come to a close? Not by a long shot! College football is like a diary — you have a chance to write a new story each season. Hopefully this year, the Big Ten’s story will have a happy ending.