Seven. And Oh My.
With a tip of the mic to Dick Enberg—a Michigan native and Indiana alum before he went West—how do we explain the Big Ten sweeping its first seven bowl games?
Michigan can make the Midwestern behemoths a perfect 8-0 with a victory in the Outback Bowl on Monday against South Carolina. And I’m guessing Jim Harbaugh doesn’t want to miss out on the fun.
Why is this happening?
Some theories. . .
For one, the Big Ten, which usually outkicks its coverage when it comes to bowl bids, muffed on the College Football Playoff.
That not only meant Ohio State faced USC, which is good but not Clemson. It also meant that Penn State faced Washington, which is good but not USC. And Wisconsin faced Miami, which is good not Washington. And so on and so on.
All of which might or might not have mattered.
I will say this. There have been times in the past—when everybody was ripping the Big Ten for struggling in bowl games—when moving everyone up in weight class mattered. A lot.
The luck of the draw also counts. Last year, when the Big Ten was stumbling to 3-7, it caught two traditional SEC powers (Florida and Tennessee) and the pride of the ACC (Clemson and Florida State).
This year, it had four Pac-12 teams to kick around.
In addition, the weird bounces have gone the Big Ten’s way this bowl season.
When Northwestern, for example, lost its star quarterback to an act of God (a knee injury), Kentucky lost its star running back to an abuse of power (an ejection for declining the referee’s offer to help him up). The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.