Friday, January 1, 2010

Big Ten's Grand Revenge Tour

The Big Ten. Slow. Conservative. Bad.

Uh. Check that.

Make that. Fast enough. Aggressively enough. Not half bad.

So just what happened? Last year, the Big Ten went 1-6 in bowl games and, after Ohio State's back-to-back drubbing in the BCS national championship games the previous two seasons, the conference was officially written off as an anachronism.

But the 2009 bowl season is bringing a Big Ten renaissance. The conference is 3-2, having won the Rose Bowl and lost a 1-point game and in overtime. Two more teams have yet to play, with Iowa in another BCS game against Georgia Tech, in the Orange Bowl.

(Check out the Guru's Bowl Chart, breaking down how the conferences are doing against each other.)

Ohio State's win over Oregon in the Rose Bowl should really not be that surprising. The Buckeyes have made up ground on the BCS elite in the past two years. They lost a heartbreaker to Texas in the Fiesta Bowl last year and nearly defeated USC (when the Trojans were actually good) earlier this season. They came out with the perfect game plan to throttle the over-confident Ducks, who managed just 17 points.

The "fact" that the Pac-10 has dominated the Rose Bowl is really misstated. The reality is that USC has dominated the Rose Bowl, and the rest of the Pac-10 anything but. Since Washington won back-to-back in '90 and '91, USC is 5-1 in the Rose Bowl (the loss was to Texas, of course) and the rest of the Pac-10 is 1-9.

The Big Ten couldn't handle the Trojans, but they do just fine against everybody else. Somebody forgot to mention this to the Ducks, who thought they'd just show up and collect the trophy.

Playing in the mud in Orlando, Penn State took care of LSU, the third-best team in the SEC. Northwestern nearly knocked off Auburn, who gave top-ranked Alabama fits. And perennially too-slow, too-plodding Wisconsin (yeah, I said that), just ran roughshod over Miami, also in not-so-warm Orlando.

By the way, I have no problem with Pat Fitzgerald's decision to run that fake field goal to try to win the game in the Outback Bowl. His kicker was hurt. The scheme was good. The only problem was maybe the "fumblerooski" developed too quickly. To carry this one out, the guy with the ball usually needs to count to three before moving, to better create an over-pursue by the defense.

While the Big Ten is doing well enough, it's not going to outdo the Mountain West, which has clinched the Bowl Challenge Cup (its third in six seasons), with only TCU's Fiesta Bowl date with Boise State remaining. The conference that has egg on its face is the one that won the Bowl Challenge Cup last season with a 5-0 record.

The Pac-10 has been absolutely abysmal in this bowl season, wrapped up with Oregon's loss in Pasadena. It went 2-5, with only USC's lackluster win over Boston College and UCLA's comeback against Temple to show for it. Arizona and Oregon State, who tied for second in the conference, were utterly embarrassed.

So all that stuff about the Pac-10 being the best conference from top-to-bottom in 2009 ... uh, I will get back to you on that one.


Anonymous said...

Guru, what, if anything, does winning the Bowl Challenge Cup show about the Mountain West? Not just the fact that they've won, but the manner in which they did.

Every MWC team so far was picked to lose their bowl by the Vegas oddsmakers, and each of them outperformed expectations. Wyoming beat Fresno State in overtime with a freshman QB. BYU blew out Oregon State in horrendeously windy conditions. Utah smashed Cal; and Air Force absolutely dominated the tauted Houston Cougars.

Anonymous said...

Yeah BIG TEN! MSU and Iowa need to win to make it a 5-2 bowl season and second place in the bowl challenge cup (among conferences with at least 3 teams) Also note that the BIG TEN only plays against other BCS conference opponents unlike the other big 6 conferences.

As for the mountain west: TCU was left out of the national championship game for playing in a poor conference compared to the mighty big 12 and SEC......that reasoning is looking pretty stupid right about now

Anonymous said...

Another interesting note -- of TCU's 12 opponents, 6 landed in Bowl Games. ALL 6 won their bowl games. I wonder where the computers would put TCU with the bowl game results so far and wether it would be enough to pass Texas for the match-up with Alabama.

Anonymous said...

About your so called "revenge tour" the Bowls are hardly reflective. Bowls were created for a student break, a fun reward in a sunny climate. The Big Ten conference is done with their season quite earlier compared to the rest of CFB. Once you get a playoff system setup regionally and have top SEC teams playing up north for once then maybe you can open your piehole and pontificate on "the best" conference. Can you imagine the Rose Bowl in Happy Valley? Well a playoff just might never happen but until then the SEC and USC will always play on home turf in Bowl games and the Big Ten doesn't mind regardless of the hot air coming out of SEC mouths.

Anonymous said...

Just watched that Iowa game and I'd say the BCS Guru caught a whiff of what was about to happen. The Big Ten turned out the strongest "big" conference this year. Hilarious now Jimmy Johnson twists the layoff had something to do with giving time for Iowa to prepare for the spread offense of GT. That happens to be just the opposite of what has been previously mentioned about the Big Ten season ending to early as a negative for them, amazing BS you hearfrom these jokers. Like the BCS Guru hints at the SEC needs to travel north OOC to reclaim the top conference rating, Until then looks like the Big Ten is back on top. What can we do to get more games scheduled OOC up north, can't any of these Yankee SEC coaches pull some strings and get these teams on the road, we have to take on those Big Ten defenses and learn that side of the game to get stronger more well rounded teams. Kudos to BCS Guru for catching this sea change. turn

Anonymous said...

Can we really buy this BCS Guru stuff about the B10 back on top? Just because Alabama is #1 with a B10 back Ingram what about the rest of the team. Iowa and Penn State might have an edge on Florida and the rest of the SEC but doubt they could beat Bama. I'll agree the conferences probably are swinging back to being equal once again.

Anonymous said...

First I thought you guys were living in a parallel universe and then after watching the National Championship game I had second thoughts and kinda understood where you guys were coming from. Iowa , Wisconsin and even Penn State could have man-handled the two teams we saw play thursday night. Seems puzzling at first but the bottom line is there is just a lot of hype involved in college football, there are special teams for sure but to say anyone conference is better than any other is well just a bunch of hogwash.

Maroussia said...

It will be great to watch USC Trojans, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.