Jan. 13, 2011
BIG TEN. BIG BOWLS.
Big Ten Teams Win Three Bowl Games: For the second straight season and the seventh time in the last nine years, the Big Ten earned at least three bowl triumphs with victories by Illinois in the Texas Bowl, Iowa in the Insight Bowl and Ohio State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Big Ten squads produced five bowl wins following the 2002 campaign, four bowl triumphs after the 2009 season and three bowl victories to wrap up the 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2010 seasons.
Seven Bowl Wins in Two Seasons: The Big Ten has won seven bowl games over the last two seasons. The last time the conference produced seven or more postseason victories over a two-year span was when Big Ten squads claimed eight bowl victories after the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
A Trio of BCS Wins: The Big Ten split a pair of BCS games this season to improve to 3-1 in BCS games over the last two seasons, the conference's most BCS victories over a two-year span since going 4-0 in BCS games after the 1998 and 1999 campaigns. The Big Ten's 1-1 BCS record this season included Ohio State's victory over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl and a narrow loss by Wisconsin to undefeated TCU in the Rose Bowl Game. The Big Ten was 2-0 in BCS play after the 2009 campaign, including an Iowa triumph in the Orange Bowl and a Buckeye victory in the Rose Bowl Game.
BCS Success: The Big Ten has won at least one BCS game in back-to-back years for the first time since winning one BCS contest following both the 2002 and 2003 seasons. The Big Ten and SEC lead all conferences with three BCS victories over the last two seasons. The only other conferences to win BCS games over that time span are the Big 12, Mountain West, Pac-10 and WAC with one each. The Big Ten now has 11 BCS victories since the system's inception in 1998, ranking second to the SEC (15 wins) and ahead of the Pac-10 (10), Big 12 (8) and Big East (6).
Beating the Best: The Big Ten registered two wins over teams ranked among the top 15 in the final Bowl Championship Series (BCS) standings and now has six wins over BCS top-15 teams in the last two seasons, more than any other conference. This season, Iowa knocked off No. 12 Missouri in the Insight Bowl while No. 6 Ohio State defeated No. 8 Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. Following the 2009 campaign, the Big Ten became the first conference to notch four wins over BCS top-15 teams since the 1998-99 postseason, with No. 10 Iowa defeating No. 9 Georgia Tech, No. 8 Ohio State beating No. 7 Oregon, No. 13 Penn State edging No. 12 LSU and No. 25 Wisconsin earning a victory over No. 15 Miami (Fla.). Since the institution of the BCS system prior to the 1998 season, Big Ten teams have compiled 21 victories over BCS top-15 squads, including three triumphs after the 1999 season and two wins following both the 2002 and 2005 campaigns. The Big Ten is second among all conferences with 21 top-15 wins since 1998, trailing only the SEC (25) and followed by the Pac-10 (15), Big 12 (10), Big East (7) and ACC (6).
Six Top-15 Wins: The Big Ten leads all conferences with six bowl wins over BCS top-15 teams in the last two seasons, followed by the SEC (4), Mountain West (1), Pac-10 (1) and WAC (1). The Big Ten is 6-1 against BCS top-15 teams over that time span, while all other conferences are a combined 7-16, a group that includes the SEC (4-3), WAC (1-0), Mountain West (1-2), Pac-10 (1-4), Big East (0-2), Big 12 (0-2) and ACC (0-3).
Upset Specials: The Big Ten is the only conference in the last eight seasons to produce a victory over a top-12 BCS team by an unranked team. Iowa defeated No. 12 Missouri in this season's Insight Bowl, while Michigan defeated No. 12 Florida in the 2008 Capital One Bowl. Since the BCS was formed in 1998, there are only eight unranked teams to beat top-12 BCS teams in bowls - three each from the Big Ten and ACC and two from the SEC.
Breaking Down the Bowl Wins: Below is a quick summary of each of the Big Ten's bowl triumphs:
INSIGHT BOWL: Iowa jumped out to an early 17-3 lead over No. 12 Missouri on two first-half touchdowns from freshman running back Marcus Coker. The Hawkeyes led 20-10 early in the second half before the Tigers rallied to take a 24-20 lead entering the final stanza. With Missouri driving late in the game, defensive back Micah Hyde picked off a pass and sprinted 72 yards for the game-winning score with 5:32 left, and the Iowa defense held on for the 27-24 triumph.
TEXAS BOWL: Illinois held Baylor scoreless through the first half and took a 16-0 lead at the break on three Derek Dimke field goals and a touchdown run by Mikel Leshoure. Leshoure added two more scores in the second half and quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, who completed his first 13 passes, broke loose for a late touchdown run as the Illini posted a 38-14 victory.
SUGAR BOWL: Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor threw for 203 yards and two touchdowns to stake his team to a 28-10 halftime lead over No. 8 Arkansas. The Buckeye defense harassed the high-scoring Razorback offense all game, as Cameron Heyward produced 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack while Dexter Larrimore collected two sacks. Arkansas pulled within 31-26 in the final quarter and blocked an OSU punt with just over a minute left to get the ball back just 18 yards from the winning score. But once again, the Buckeye defense responded, forcing an incompletion and then picking off a pass to secure the victory.
Bowl Honorees: Four Big Ten standouts were honored for outstanding efforts in their bowl games. Ohio State junior quarterback Terrelle Pryor was named the Sugar Bowl MVP, just one season after being named the Rose Bowl Game MVP. In New Orleans, Pryor rushed for a season-high 115 yards and added 221 passing yards and two touchdowns to lead the Buckeyes past No. 8 Arkansas. Iowa produced a pair of honorees in its Insight Bowl triumph over No. 12 Missouri as freshman running back Marcus Coker was named the Offensive Player of the Game while sophomore defensive back Micah Hyde was tabbed as the Defensive Player of the Game. Coker set a career high and school bowl record with 219 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Hyde collected six tackles and returned an interception 72 yards for the game-winning score in the fourth quarter. Illinois junior running back Mikel Leshoure was chosen as the Texas Bowl MVP after scoring three touchdowns and accumulating 184 rushing yards in the victory over Baylor.
The Quarterback Clubs: The three Big Ten quarterbacks that led teams to bowl triumphs each joined prestigious company. Illinois' Nathan Scheelhaase became the first freshman signal caller to lead a Big Ten team to a bowl victory since Wisconsin's Brooks Bollinger won the 2000 Rose Bowl Game. Iowa's Ricky Stanzi guided the Hawkeyes to three bowl wins in his career, including the 2009 Outback Bowl, 2010 Orange Bowl and 2010 Insight Bowl. Stanzi is just the third signal caller in Big Ten history to start three bowl victories, joining previous three-time winners Mark Herrmann of Purdue (1978 Peach, 1979 Bluebonnet, 1980 Liberty) and Bollinger of Wisconsin (2000 Rose, 2000 Sun, 2002 Alamo). With wins in the 2010 Rose Bowl Game and 2011 Sugar Bowl, Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor became the eighth quarterback and second from the Big Ten to lead the same school to two BCS triumphs. Other quarterback to accomplish that feat are fellow-Buckeye Craig Krenzel (2003 and 2004 Fiesta), Florida's Tim Tebow, Miami's Ken Dorsey, Texas' Vince Young, USC's John David Booty and Matt Leinart and West Virginia's Pat White.
Bowl Winning Streaks: With a victory in the Insight Bowl, Iowa has won three consecutive bowl games for the first time in school history. The Hawkeyes were also victorious in the 2010 Orange Bowl and 2009 Outback Bowl. The last Big Ten team to win three straight postseason games was Penn State, which earned triumphs after the 2005, 2006 and 2007 seasons. The only other teams in the country to win bowls after each of the last three seasons are Florida, Florida State and South Florida.
Paterno, Ferentz and Tressel Among Big Ten's Best Bowl Mentors: Iowa's Kirk Ferentz and Ohio State's Jim Tressel both earned their sixth bowl triumph to move into a tie for third place in Big Ten history for total postseason wins. Penn State's Joe Paterno, who holds the NCAA record with 24 bowl triumphs, has collected 10 bowl wins since joining the Big Ten to set the conference record. Former Wisconsin head coach and current Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez ranks second with eight bowl wins. Ferentz and Tressel are now tied for third with Iowa's Hayden Fry and Michigan's Lloyd Carr, who each produced six bowl victories.
Bowl Attendance: The Big Ten's eight bowl games attracted 520,200 fans for an average of 65,025 per contest, including full houses for both BCS contests. The Rose Bowl Game boasted a sellout crowd for the 66th straight season, packing 94,118 fans into the 92,000-seat stadium, while the Sugar Bowl attracted 73,879 patrons to the 72,000-seat Louisiana Superdome. Four other Big Ten bowl games boasted more than 60,000 fans in attendance. The Big Ten's first appearance in the Gator Bowl since 1991 led to a crowd of 68,325 fans, while the conference's first Texas Bowl produced an attendance of 68,211, the second-highest attendance in Texas Bowl history. Two long-time bowl partners also broke the 60,000-fan barrier, with 61,519 fans attending the Capital One Bowl and 60,574 patrons at the Outback Bowl. The Insight Bowl attracted a record crowd of 53,453, while the first TicketCity Bowl produced an attendance of 40,121.
Bowl Ratings: Big Ten bowls also produced impressive television numbers, with three of the four highest-rated bowls featuring conference teams. Wisconsin's trip to the Rose Bowl earned an 11.26 rating on ESPN, second only to the BCS National Championship Game. Ohio State's Sugar Bowl appearance ranked third with an 8.20 rating on ESPN, while Penn State's Outback Bowl trip rated fourth with a 7.05 rating on ABC.
Facing the SEC: The Big Ten has the longest active streak of any conference with at least one bowl win over the SEC in each of the last nine seasons and leads all conferences with 12 bowl wins over the SEC in that time span. The Big Ten's current nine-year streak of bowl wins against the SEC is followed by the ACC and Big East, both of which have active streaks of two seasons. The Big Ten is 12-13 against the SEC over the last nine seasons, followed by the ACC (7-9), Big 12 (4-14), Big East (3-1) and Pac-10 (0-1).
A Tough Bowl Schedule: Five of the Big Ten's eight bowl opponents this season were ranked among the top 21 in the final BCS poll, more than any other conference. The Pac-10 and SEC ranked second with four games against top-21 teams, followed by the ACC (3) and Mountain West (2).
Big Ten Sends Eight Teams to Bowl Games: The Big Ten matched a conference record by sending eight teams to bowl games. The conference also made eight bowl appearances following the 2003 and 2007 campaigns. The 2010-11 bowl season marked the sixth straight year that seven or more Big Ten programs earned postseason berths, the longest streak in conference history. The conference also qualified seven schools for postseason play after the 1993, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009 seasons. The Big Ten sent six or more teams to bowl games for the 12th straight year and 19th time overall. Conference programs have made 71 bowl appearances over the last 10 seasons and 256 appearances all-time.
Badgers Earn Big Ten BCS AQ: With Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin ending the regular season in a tie for first place, the Big Ten's automatic representative to the BCS was determined by the conference tiebreaker. Since the Spartans and Buckeyes did not play and all three teams ended the regular season with identical 11-1 overall records, the Badgers were the Big Ten's BCS automatic qualifier based on being the highest-ranked team in the final BCS standings. Six different Big Ten schools have earned the conference's BCS automatic berth in the 13 years of the system - Illinois (2001), Michigan (2003, 2004), Ohio State (2002, 2006, 2007, 2009), Penn State (2005, 2008), Purdue (2000) and Wisconsin (1998, 1999, 2010). The Big Ten also sent a second team to the BCS in 1998 (Ohio State), 1999 (Michigan), 2002 (Iowa), 2003 (Ohio State), 2005 (Ohio State), 2006 (Michigan), 2007 (Illinois), 2008 (Ohio State), 2009 (Iowa) and 2010 (Ohio State).
Big Ten BCS Duos: Two Big Ten schools were selected for BCS games for the 10th time in the 13-year history of the system and the eighth time in the last nine seasons. Since the inception of the BCS in 1998, the Big Ten has qualified 23 teams for BCS bowls, more than any other conference. The SEC ranks second with 21 BCS bids followed by the Big 12 (18), Pac-10 (16), ACC (13) and Big East (13).
Six Straight Years of BCS Doubleheaders: The Big Ten sent a pair of teams to BCS games for the sixth straight season, the longest streak of any conference since the system's creation. Ohio State earned BCS berths in each of the last six years and has been joined by Penn State (2005 and 2008), Michigan (2006), Illinois (2007), Iowa (2009) and Wisconsin (2010). The SEC ranks second to the Big Ten after earning two BCS spots for the fifth straight year this season.
BCS Depth: Seven different Big Ten schools have qualified to play in a BCS game, including both Ohio State and Wisconsin this season. The conference's previous BCS bowl participants include Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Penn State and Purdue. The only other conferences with seven active members to play in a BCS game are the Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC, while the ACC and Big East have each sent six current members to BCS contests.
BCS Victors: Only 13 schools have produced multiple BCS wins and the Big Ten boasts two of those programs in Ohio State and Wisconsin. The Buckeyes are tied with Southern California for the lead among all schools with six BCS victories, including three triumphs in the Fiesta Bowl (2003, 2004, 2006), two Sugar Bowl wins (1999, 2011) and a Rose Bowl Game victory (2010). The Badgers are 2-1 in BCS matchups with back-to-back Rose Bowl Game wins in 1999 and 2000 and a narrow loss to undefeated TCU this season. The other teams to win at least two BCS games are Auburn, Boise State, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Miami (Fla.), Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
BCS Regulars: Ohio State took part in a BCS game for the sixth straight season and the ninth time since the system's creation in 1998. Ohio State is the nation's only program to qualify for nine BCS games in the 13-year history of the system, with Oklahoma ranking second with eight BCS trips. In addition, only one other team has appeared in six or more consecutive BCS games, as USC appeared in a BCS contest seven straight seasons from 2002 to 2008.
BCS Triple Play: Wisconsin appeared in its third BCS contest, the third-highest total among conference schools behind only Ohio State (nine BCS games) and Michigan (four). Wisconsin is one of 15 schools to earn three or more bids to BCS games, a group that consists of Ohio State (9), Oklahoma (8), USC (7), Florida (6), Florida State (6), Virginia Tech (5), LSU (4), Miami (Fla.) (4), Michigan (4), Texas (4), Alabama (3), Georgia (3), Notre Dame (3) and Oregon (3).
Bowl Veterans: The Big Ten boasts three of the 11 programs with 40 or more bowl appearances in Penn State (8th - 43), Ohio State (T9th - 42) and Michigan (11th - 40). The Nittany Lions rank third all-time with 27 bowl triumphs, Ohio State is 14th with 20 bowl victories and Michigan is tied for 15th with 19 bowl wins.
2010-11 BIG TEN BOWL TOP PERFORMERS
ILL RB Mikel Leshoure: Named MVP of Texas Bowl after posting 29 rushes for 184 yards (6.3 avg.) with three TDs, setting school single-season records for rushing yards and total TDs.
ILL QB Nathan Scheelhaase: Wrapped up freshman year by completing first 13 passes against Baylor, connecting on 18 of 23 throws (78.3 pct.) in game for career-high 242 yards while recording nine rushes for 53 yards (5.9 avg.) and a TD.
IOWA RB Marcus Coker: Named Insight Bowl Offensive Player of the Game after setting career high and Iowa bowl record with 219 rushing yards against Missouri; Averaged 6.6 yards and set career bests with 33 carries, two TDs and a 62-yard run.
MICH QB Denard Robinson: Set a Big Ten single-season record for total offensive yards with 313 yards in Gator Bowl; Completed 27 of 41 passes (65.9 pct.) for 254 yards and two TDs and added a team-high 59 rushing yards on 11 carries (5.4 avg.).
NU QB Kain Colter: In just his third game this season, the freshman quarterback set career highs with 18 carries, 105 rushing yards and two TDs while adding 38 passing yards against Texas Tech.
OSU QB Terrelle Pryor: Named Sugar Bowl MVP after rushing for a season-high 115 yards on 15 carries (7.7 avg.) and completing 14 of 25 passes (56.0 pct.) for 221 yards and two TDs against Arkansas.
PSU RB Evan Royster: Posted 20 carries for 98 yards (4.9 avg.) in Outback Bowl to become first Nittany Lion to accumulate three 1,000-yard seasons; Added four catches for 51 yards (12.8 avg.) against Florida.
WIS RB Montee Ball: Carried the ball 22 times for 132 yards (6.0 avg.) with a TD in the Rose Bowl, fifth straight effort of 100 yards or more to end season.
ILL DT Corey Liuget: Posted five tackles (two solo), 2.5 TFLs (-6 yards) and a four-yard sack to help hold Baylor to 14 points or less for second time for season.
IOWA DB Micah Hyde: Named Insight Bowl Defensive Player of the Game after returning interception 72 yards for game-winning TD in fourth quarter; also posted six tackles (four solo) against Missouri.
MICH LB Kenny Demens: Collected a game-high 13 tackles (nine solo) in Gator Bowl.
MSU LB Greg Jones: Concluded career by equaling a team high with eight tackles (six solo) and two TFLs (-2 yards) against Alabama in Capital One Bowl.
NU LB Quentin Davie: Posted a game-high 15 tackles (three solo) and two TFLs (-2 yards) in TicketCity Bowl.
OSU DE Cameron Heyward: Racked up six tackles (three solo), including 3.5 TFLs (-11 yards) and a seven-yard sack, and a pass breakup.
OSU DL Dexter Larrimore: Posted six tackles (three solo), two sacks (-17 yards) and forced a fumble.
PSU LB Chris Colasanti: Registered a game-high 10 tackles (five solo) and 0.5 TFLs to help hold the Florida offense to only two touchdowns in Outback Bowl.
PSU DT Devon Still: Racked up seven tackles (six solo) and 3.5 TFLs (-4 yards) in Outback Bowl.
WIS LB Mike Taylor: Recorded a team-high seven tackles (four solo) to help hold unbeaten TCU to a season-low 21 points in Rose Bowl Game
ILL K Derek Dimke: Connected on all three field goal attempts (38, 28, 43 yards) and three PATs.
ILL P Anthony Santella: Recorded five punts for 201 yards (40.2 avg.) with four inside 20-yard line.
IOWA P Ryan Donahue: Booted three punts for 134 yards (44.7 avg.) with one inside 20-yard line.
IOWA K Mike Meyer: Connected on both field goal attempts (34, 21 yards) and three PATs to tally nine points in a 27-24 Insight Bowl win.
MICH KR Martavious Odoms: Returned seven kickoffs for 163 yards (23.3 avg.) with long of 41 yards.
MSU P Aaron Bates: Recorded seven punts for 304 yards (43.4 avg.) with two inside the 20-yard line.
NU KR Venric Mark: Returned five kickoffs for 108 yards (21.6 avg.) with a long of 36 yards.
OSU KR Jordan Hall: Returned five kickoffs for 113 yards (22.6 avg.) with a long of 33 yards.
WIS P Brad Nortman: Booted three punts for 126 yards (42.0 avg.) with one inside the 20-yard line; Ran 11 yards on a fake punt for a first down.
BIG TEN. BIG NEWS.
Big Ten Polling Place: With bowl season now complete, the Big Ten was one of only three conferences to place two teams among the top eight in the final Associated Press (AP) and USA Today coaches polls. The Big Ten, Pac-10 and SEC each placed two programs among the top eight in the final national rankings, with Ohio State ending the year rated fifth in both polls while Wisconsin was tabbed seventh by the AP and tied for eighth in the coaches poll. The Big Ten placed at least one team among the final top 10 for the ninth consecutive year and produced at least two top-10 programs for the seventh time in the last nine seasons. The Big Ten also ended the year with at least two top-10 schools in 2009 (AP/USA Today - #5/5 Ohio State, #7/7 Iowa, #9/8 Penn State), 2008 (#8/8 Penn State, #9/11 Ohio State), 2006 (#2/2 Ohio State, #7/5 Wisconsin, #8/9 Michigan), 2005 (#3/3 Penn State, #4/4 Ohio State), 2003 (#4/4 Ohio State, #6/7 Michigan, #8/8 Iowa) and 2002 (#1/1 Ohio State, #8/8 Iowa, #9/9 Michigan). The Buckeyes earned their fifth top-five finish in the last six years (#5/5 in 2009, #5/4 in 2007, #2/2 in 2006, #4/4 in 2005) while the Badgers ended the year among the top 10 for the first time since wrapping up the 2006 campaign rated seventh by the media and fifth by the coaches. Overall, four Big Ten teams received votes in the final polls with three among the top 25. Michigan State was slotted No. 14 by both the AP and coaches, the Spartans' second top-25 finish in the last three seasons and highest end-of-year ranking since being voted seventh by both groups after the 1999 campaign. Iowa received votes in both final polls.
Trio of Badgers Earns National Awards: Wisconsin teammates Gabe Carimi, Scott Tolzien and J.J. Watt all claimed individual national honors. Carimi became the 13th Big Ten player to be awarded the Outland Trophy, given annually to the nation's best interior lineman. The senior offensive tackle is the second Badger to claim the Outland Trophy after offensive tackle Joe Thomas became the most recent Big Ten player to be so honored in 2006. Tolzien won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, given to the country's top senior quarterback. He becomes the first Big Ten signal caller to earn the award. Watt takes home the Lott Trophy, given to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. The Lott Trophy is given to players who stand out in the following areas: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity (IMPACT). Watt becomes the second Big Ten player to earn the Lott Trophy since it was created in 2004, as Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis claimed the trophy in 2008.
Everybody's All-American: Fourteen Big Ten student-athletes were named to the All-America first, second or third teams as chosen by the American Football Coaches Association, Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America, Sporting News and Walter Camp Football Foundation, including three unanimous picks and five consensus selections. The three Big Ten standouts named to all five first teams were Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones, Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan and Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi, while Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn and Badger tight end Lance Kendricks were also tabbed consensus All-Americans.
Jones earns consensus All-America honors for the second straight season, making him the first Big Ten player to accomplish the feat since Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Jones is just the fourth Spartan to earn consensus All-America laurels in two seasons, a group that includes running back Lorenzo White (1985 and 1987), defensive end Charles "Bubba" Smith (1965 and 1966) and linebacker George Webster (1965 and 1966). Jones is also MSU's first unanimous All-American since wideout Charles Rogers was honored 2002. Kerrigan is the first consensus All-American for the Boilermakers since wide receiver Taylor Stubblefield in 2004 and the first Purdue defender to be so honored since defensive back Rod Woodson in 1986. The Boilermakers' last unanimous All-Americans were quarterback Mark Herrmann and tight end Dave Young in 1980. Carimi is the Badgers' first unanimous All-America pick since fellow offensive lineman Joe Thomas was honored in 2006. Kendricks is the first Big Ten tight end to earn consensus All-America laurels since Iowa's Dallas Clark in 2002 and gives Wisconsin two consensus All-Americans in the same season for the first time since 1999 when running back Ron Dayne and offensive tackle Chris McIntosh were honored. Clayborn is the Hawkeyes' second consensus All-American in the last three years (running back Shonn Greene in 2008) and the first Iowa defender to be honored since defensive lineman Jared DeVries in 1998.
Other Big Ten players to earn first-team All-America accolades were Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, Ohio State's duo of center Mike Brewster and defensive back Chimdi Chekwa, Penn State offensive guard Stefen Wisniewski and Wisconsin offensive guard John Moffitt. Conference players collecting second- or third-team honors were Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure, Buckeye offensive guard Justin Boren and the Badger duo of running back John Clay and defensive end J.J. Watt.
Students of the Game: The Big Ten tied for the lead among all Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conferences with five student-athletes named to the ESPN Academic All-America first or second teams in football. The Big Ten has now led all FBS conferences in Academic All-Americans for six straight seasons, with 48 football honorees over that time span. The Big Ten also tied for the lead among all conferences with four first-team selections. The Big Ten's total of five Academic All-Americans was tied with the Big 12 for the lead among all FBS conferences and ranked second only to the nine selections from the Missouri Valley Conference of the Football Championship Subdivison. The Big Ten and Missouri Valley both produced a conference-best four first-team honorees, followed by three first-team selections from the Big 12. Penn State led the country with three first-team Academic All-Americans. The Academic All-America first-team honorees from the Big Ten are the Penn State trio of Chris Colasanti, Pete Massaro and Stefen Wisniewski and Purdue's Kyle Adams, while fellow Boilermaker Joe Holland was named to the second team. Wisniewski was one of four student-athletes to earn first-team accolades for the second straight season. To be eligible for the award, a player must be in at least his second year of athletic eligibility, be a first-team or key performer and carry a cumulative 3.30 grade point average (GPA).
An OSU Dozen: Ohio State knocked off Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl to end the season 12-1 overall, making this year's OSU squad just the ninth team to compile 12 or more wins in Big Ten history and the sixth since 1905. The Buckeyes have produced at least 12 wins in three of the last nine seasons, including a 12-1 mark in 2006 and a 14-0 campaign in 2002. Other Big Ten squads to accomplish the feat since 1905 are Wisconsin (12-1 in 2006), Michigan (12-0 in 1997) and Penn State (12-0 in 1994). The Wolverines also reached the 12-win barrier in 1905 with a 12-1 record, after Minnesota (13-0 in 1904) and Chicago (12-0 in 1899) first cracked the 12-win plateau.
Spartans, Buckeyes and Badgers Hit 11-Win Plateau: Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin each posted 11 or more victories this season, giving the conference at least three teams with double-digit wins for the second straight year and the eighth time in the last 13 campaigns. The Buckeyes are the first team in Big Ten history to record six straight years of 10 or more triumphs, breaking a record that had stood for more than a century after Michigan posted five consecutive seasons with 10-plus wins from 1901-05. OSU has produced 11 or more victories in six of the last nine seasons and 11 times overall, including a 12-win campaign in 2006 and a 14-victory season in 2002. The Spartans set a new school record with their 11th win, surpassing the previous program-best of 10 triumphs in 1999 and 1965. The Badgers reached the 11-win plateau for the third time in school history, including 11 victories in 1998 and a program-record 12 wins in 2006.
The Rarity of 11-Win Trios: After becoming the first conference among the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC to produce three teams with 11 or more wins in 2006, the Big Ten duplicated that accomplishment in 2009 and 2010. Ohio State ended the season at 12-1, while Michigan State and Wisconsin posted 11-2 marks. The Buckeyes were joined by Iowa and Penn State with identical 11-2 records last season and in 2006, OSU and the Badgers ended the year at 12-1 while Michigan posted an 11-2 mark. The Big Ten has produced two teams with 11 or more wins on four other occasions - 2002, 1998, 1996 and 1903. The only other conference to boast three schools with 11 or more wins in a single season is the Big 12, which accomplished the feat in 2007 and 2008.
Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin Share Big Ten Championship: For the first time since the 2000 campaign, three teams ended the season atop the Big Ten standings as Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin each finished 7-1 in conference play to earn a share of the 2010 Big Ten Championship. The Buckeyes have won at least a share of the last six Big Ten titles to match the conference record, equaling the feat first accomplished by OSU from 1972-77. Ohio State has now claimed 35 Big Ten Championships, which ranks second among all conference teams behind only the 42 titles for Michigan. The Badgers collected their first Big Ten crown since 1999 and 12th overall, the fifth-most titles in conference annals. The Spartans earned their first Big Ten Championship since 1990 and seventh overall.
A History of Sharing: The Big Ten has featured multiple champions in five of the last 10 seasons, including Ohio State and Penn State sharing first place in 2008 and 2005 with identical 7-1 marks. Iowa and Michigan split the title in 2004 with 7-1 records, while the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes shared the championship in 2002 after producing unblemished 8-0 conference slates. The last three-way tie for the Big Ten Championship occurred in 2000, when Michigan, Northwestern and Purdue each finished 6-2 atop the standings.
Ohio State Claims Seventh Big Ten Title in Last Decade: Ohio State tops all Big Ten schools with seven titles over the last decade, finishing first in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. Three teams have won two championships over that time span - Iowa (2002, 2004), Michigan (2003, 2004) and Penn State (2005, 2008). Three teams have claimed one title over the last decade - Illinois (2001), Michigan State (2010) and Wisconsin (2010).
More on the Buckeyes' Run of Titles: Ohio State has won at least a share of the last six Big Ten titles, splitting the crown with Michigan State and Wisconsin this season, sharing the title with Penn State in 2005 and 2008 and ending the 2006, 2007 and 2009 seasons alone atop the standings. The Buckeyes have compiled a Big Ten mark of 43-5 over the last six years. Michigan and Ohio State are the only two teams in Big Ten annals to post four or more consecutive first-place finishes on multiple occasions, accomplishing the feat a combined seven different times.
Seven Titles in 10 Years: The Buckeyes are one of only three Big Ten programs to claim seven or more titles over a 10-year span and the first since Michigan and Ohio State both finished in first place seven times between 1973-82. OSU holds the conference record with nine Big Ten Championships over a 10-year span, accomplishing the feat from 1968-77. The Buckeyes have also won eight titles over 10 years on three occasions (1972-81, 1970-79 and 1969-78), a streak of success matched only by Michigan (eight from 1971-80 and 1969-78). Minnesota is the only other Big Ten team to finish first seven or more times in a 10-year span with seven titles from 1933-41.
Big Ten Championship Coaches: Five active Big Ten coaches have now won at least one Big Ten Championship. Ohio State's Jim Tressel has claimed seven titles in his first 10 seasons on the sideline, while Michigan State's Mark Dantonio and Wisconsin's Bret Bielema earned their first titles this season. Penn State's Joe Paterno has claimed three Big Ten titles (1994, 2005, 2008), while Iowa's Kirk Ferentz has earned two Big Ten crowns (2002, 2004).
A Rare Coaching Fraternity: Ohio State's Jim Tressel is one of only three head coaches to win seven or more titles in his first decade with a Big Ten institution. Michigan's Bo Schembechler holds the Big Ten record by finishing first in eight of his first 10 campaigns from 1969-78, while Minnesota's Bernie Bierman won seven titles from 1932-41. Tressel is also just the second coach to win at least a share of six straight Big Ten Championships, as the Buckeyes' Woody Hayes earned six straight crowns from 1972-77. Only eight Big Ten coaches have claimed seven or more conference titles, a group that is comprised of Schembechler (13 titles), Hayes (13), Michigan's Fielding Yost (10), Minnesota's Henry Williams (8) and Bierman (7), Chicago's Amos Alonzo Stagg (7), Illinois' Bob Zuppke (7) and Tressel.
Two Active Coaches in Big Ten Century Club: Penn State's Joe Paterno and Ohio State's Jim Tressel are two of only 13 mentors to collect 100 or more wins while at a Big Ten school. Paterno entered the season as part of the century club and currently ranks fourth with a record of 154-68 in the Nittany Lions' 18 years in the Big Ten. Tressel earned his 100th victory with the Buckeyes on Oct. 9 and ended the season with a record of 106-22, just three wins shy of Michigan State's Duffy Daugherty (109-69-5) for 12th place on the list. Tressel has won 82.8 percent of his games at OSU, which ranks second in conference history among coaches with 10 or more years on the sidelines behind only Michigan's Fielding Yost (88.8 percent; 113-13-3 from 1901-26).
Paterno Still the One: Penn State's Joe Paterno ended the season with 401 victories, the all-time record among Football Bowl Subdivision coaches. Paterno stands at 401-135-3 in his 45 seasons leading the Nittany Lions, joining John Gagliardi (478-active) and Eddie Robinson (408) as the only coaches in NCAA history with more than 400 victories. He has served as head coach at PSU in 539 games, which ranks second in college football history behind only the 578 games for Chicago's Amos Alonzo Stagg. Paterno is the longest serving head coach at one school in major college football history, as Stagg served as head coach at Chicago for 41 years (1892-1932) during his 57-year tenure as a head coach.
Big Ten Individual Leaders . . . : The Big Ten crowned new statistical champions for conference games only in all categories appearing in the records book. Michigan featured stat leaders in three different categories with quarterback Denard Robinson topping the Big Ten with 317.5 yards of total offense per game, wide receiver Roy Roundtree leading the way with 83.9 receiving yards per contest and punter Will Hagerup averaging a conference-best 46.0 yards per punt. The last Wolverines to lead the Big Ten in those categories were quarterback Jim Harbaugh (247.4 yards of total offense per game in 1986), wideout Mario Manningham (109.8 receiving yards per game in 2007) and punter Zoltan Mesko (45.2 average in 2009). Wisconsin produced a pair of stat leaders with quarterback Scott Tolzien posting a conference-best pass efficiency rating of 166.5 and running back Montee Ball leading the way with 12.0 points per game. The last Badgers to rank first in those categories were quarterback Jim Sorgi (162.8 pass efficiency rating in 2003) and kicker Philip Welch (7.8 points per game in 2009). Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure averaged a conference-high 121.6 rushing yards per game, becoming the first Illini to top the Big Ten in ground yardage since Jim Grabowski led the conference with 996 yards in 1965. Indiana wideout Tandon Doss led the Big Ten with 6.38 receptions per outing, making him the first Hoosier to rank first in receptions since Eddie Baety averaged 5.0 catches per contest in 1994.
. . . and Team Leaders: In team statistics, Big Ten Co-Champion Ohio State led the way in conference games only in all four major defensive categories for the third time in the last six years. The Buckeyes limited opponents to a conference-low 12.8 points, 255.8 total yards, 149.8 passing yards and 106.0 rushing yards per contest. OSU also topped the Big Ten in those four categories in 2007 and 2005. Ohio State has now led the Big Ten in scoring defense in each of the last six seasons, the only school since 1936 to accomplish that feat. On the offensive side of the ball, Big Ten Co-Champion Wisconsin led the conference with 45.2 points and 242.2 rushing yards per game. The Badgers become just the second team since at least 1936 to average more than 45 points in conference play, trailing only the Penn State unit that averaged 48.1 points per contest in 1994. Wisconsin led the Big Ten in points for the second straight year after averaging 29.5 points per outing last season. The last time the Badgers topped the Big Ten in rushing was when the unit averaged 272.8 yards per game on the ground in 1999, the last year Wisconsin won the Big Ten title. Michigan led all Big Ten schools with 470.0 yards per contest, topping the conference in that category for the first time since 1992. Indiana paced the Big Ten with 268.9 passing yards per outing, leading the conference for the first time since 1991.
Record Breakers: Seven Big Ten standouts ended the season with conference career or single-season records:
SINGLE-SEASON: Michigan's Denard Robinson ended his first full year as a starter as the first quarterback in NCAA history to rush and pass for more than 1,500 yards in a season. Robinson ended the year with 4,272 total offensive yards and 1,702 rushing yards, both of which stand as Big Ten single-season records. Robinson's 4,272 yards broke the previous record of 4,189 yards set by Purdue quarterback Drew Brees in 2000, while his 1,702 yards on the ground shattered the previous best effort by a Big Ten signal caller when Indiana's Antwaan Randle El posted 1,270 rushing yards in 2000. A pair of Big Ten quarterbacks ended the season ranked first and second for single-season completion percentage, as Northwestern's Dan Persa completed a record 73.5 percent of his throws while Wisconsin's Scott Tolzien connected on 72.9 percent of his passes. Fellow-Badger Darrell Bevell held the previous record by completing 67.8 percent of his throws in 1993. Wisconsin kicker Philip Welch also set a Big Ten record with 67 extra points, surpassing the previous mark of 66 extra points for Penn State's Brett Conway in 1994. Ohio State kicker Devin Barclay established a Big Ten record with 122 kicking points, breaking the previous best of 120 points set by Iowa's Nate Kaeding and OSU's Mike Nugent in 2002 and matched by Penn State's Kevin Kelly in 2008.
CAREER: Wisconsin's David Gilreath entered the season as the conference's career leader in kickoff returns and ranked second in kickoff return yards. After returning 27 kickoffs for 659 yards this season, Gilreath ends his career as the Big Ten's all-time leader with 135 returns for 3,025 yards. Minnesota junior Troy Stoudermire returned 29 kicks for 789 yards this season to rank just behind Gilreath in both career categories with 115 returns for 2,929 yards. Gopher quarterback Adam Weber ended his career with 1,992 total offensive plays to break the Big Ten record of 1,975 plays set by Northwestern signal caller Brett Basanez from 2002-05. Weber ends his time in Minnesota ranked among the top four in Big Ten annals with 11,790 total offensive yards (second), 10,917 passing yards (third), 1,594 passing attempts (third), 909 completions (fourth) and 72 touchdown passes (tied for fourth). Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan forced five fumbles this season to boost his career total to 14, a new Big Ten record which is also tied for the NCAA mark. Kerrigan's 14 forced fumbles breaks the previous Big Ten mark of 13 set by Illinois defensive end Simeon Rice from 1992-95 and matched by Iowa defensive back Bob Sanders from 2000-03. Kerrigan ends his career tied for the NCAA record with Arizona State's Terrell Suggs (2000-02), Cincinnati's Antwan Peek (2000-02) and USC's Kenechi Udeze (2001-03).
Big Ten Attendance Records: Just one season after setting a record for overall attendance in all games, the Big Ten established two more records in 2010 for overall and average attendance for conference games only. In 44 games this season, conference schools welcomed 3,176,509 patrons for an average of 72,193 fans per contest. The Big Ten's total and average attendance in conference games breaks the previous records of 3,175,427 fans for an average of 72,169 per contest during the 2005 campaign. The Big Ten also averaged more than 72,000 fans in all games for just the second time in conference history, averaging a crowd of 72,106 in 76 games to trail only the 72,566 average in 2005. The Big Ten welcomed more than 5.4 million fans in all games for just the fourth time in conference annals, including the conference record of 5,526,237 in 2009.
Nation's Best Fans: Three Big Ten teams stand atop the NCAA rankings for average attendance while six conference programs rate among the top 21 in the country overall, which ranks second to the SEC (7 of top 21) for the national lead. Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State rank first, second and third, respectively, in average attendance. The Wolverines averaged 111,825 fans in seven games for a total attendance of 782,776. The Buckeyes ranked second with an average of 105,278 fans in eight home contests (842,221 total), while the Nittany Lions rated third by welcoming an average of 104,234 patrons for seven matchups (729,636). Other Big Ten schools to appear among the top 21 in average attendance are Wisconsin (16th at 79,862), Michigan State (19th at 73,556) and Iowa (21st at 70,585). Only 21 schools broke the 70,000 barrier in average attendance this season.