That was the greatest Big Ten Championship Game I have ever seen. Yes, I know it is also the only Big Ten Championship Game to this point but that sentiment may remain true long into the future. It has been described as an instant classic. A game that featured points early and often. It was back-and-forth until the very end. It may have been an anti-climatic ending to a wild game but it seems almost fitting that the penalty was due to a player giving 110% effort trying to make a
big B1G play. The Badgers won and will represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl and face the Oregon Ducks while the Spartans will head to the Outback Bowl to face the SEC runner-up (they are technically the runner-up even though two SEC teams will play in the national championship game, right?) Georgia. Years from now the actual results may be a long lost memory but we will all remember the first Championship Game.
The entire weekend was one that I (and I'm sure many others) will "tell the grandkids about." If that doesn't mean the Big Ten was successful, I don't know how to define success. It was a game the conference should be proud of. Two teams its fans can be proud of. An atmosphere the city should be proud of. And a weekend we can all be proud of. With these pictures, I will do my best to recap the Inaugural Big Ten Championship:
It all started with Fan Fest in the Indianapolis Convention Center which is conveniently located right across the street from Lucas Oil Stadium. The Fest had games for fans of all schools and all ages. The Heisman Trophy even made an appearance. If I had my way, they could have just left it in Montee Ball's locker and be done with it.
The Stagg Championship Trophy was on display and fans were allowed to get their picture taken with the it. The same exact trophy would be handed to the Badgers later in the evening.
There was a lot of red and a lot of green at Fan Fest and I saw a fan from every school in the Big Ten. For what it's worth, I would say it was about a 50/50 split in Indy between the Wisconsin and Michigan State fanbases.
In 62 days, Indianpolis will play host to the Super Bowl. If Big Ten Championships, Final Fours, Indy 500s and Big Ten Tournaments aren't enough to assure you that Indianapolis is more than capable of doing an extraordinary job of hosting a Super Bowl, let my personal experience assure you - Indianapolis will be a tremendous Super Bowl host.
The chances of going to Fan Fest and not having fun were...wait for it...remote! (Ah, c'mon! Somebody had to)
It was an outstanding host-city and an incredible venue. Again, if I had my way, I think the Big Ten should keep the championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium far into the future.
I had an opportunity to walk around the stadium for a while before kick-off. I found these two young men who, admittedly, had the worst seats in the building. I asked them about this and they quickly refuted, "We're just happy to be here and ready to watch some football." This feeling was shared by nearly all in attendance. I saw a lot of grown men walking around with giddy smiles prior to kickoff.
This was the view from my seat in the pressbox. There are 103 seats in the Lucas Oil Stadium pressbox and I was proud owner of number 102. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to meet the only person who was less important than me!
This was the view from the MSU student section as the Spartans headed to the locker room with a first-half lead.
...and the opposing view from the Badger student section. You better believe they created an impromptu "Jump Around
" between the third and fourth quarters.
Here's the view from the Quarterback Suite. There were a lot of important people hanging out there...and then there was me. Marvin McNutt and Braxton Miller were among those in attendance.
This was my view for the final 3:00 minutes of the game. From my vantage point it appeared as though...well, I can't tell you if it was a penalty or not because I couldn't see it.
And just like that, Bucky punched its ticket to the Rose Bowl. This guy seemed to be very popular with the Wisconsin players for whatever reason.
Montee Ball and company stop to pose with their rose. What a scene...
Coach Bielema gets some post-game pub. He just seems like a guy you want to root for. He seemed upbeat and easy to interact with all weekend. Obviously going to the Rose Bowl will put you in a better mood.
Montee Ball did Montee Ball things all night. Can someone get this man the Heisman?
Bucky even got a rose...
Commissioner Delany and the Stagg Championship Trophy. Russell Wilson was named MVP.
Wisconsin fans know Nick Tooooon has great hands. I guess that makes it easy to trust with with the responsibility of carrying the trophy to the locker room.
And finally, Coach Bielema gets to the locker room with his roses. He gets to sleep easy for one night, then its time to prepare for the Quack Attack.
In all seriousness, I used a lot of pictures because I'm not sure words could do this experience justice. It was a B1G stage and the Big Ten was first class on all accounts. Two teams to be proud of, a game to be proud of and a conference we should all be very proud of. I can't thank the Big Ten enough for letting me be apart of the Mobile Tour. It was an experience I will never forget. It was the Big Ten.