Dec. 16, 2010
Big Ten Sends Eight Teams to Bowl Games: The Big Ten matched a conference record by sending eight teams to bowl games. Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin each earned a share of the 2010 Big Ten Championship and will take part in January bowls. The Badgers secured the Big Ten's automatic bid to the BCS based on posting the conference's highest ranking in the final BCS standings and will return to the Rose Bowl Game for the first time since 2000. The Buckeyes also collected a BCS berth and will take part in the Allstate Sugar Bowl for the first time since 1999. The Spartans will play in the Capital One Bowl for the second time in the last three seasons. In addition, Penn State was selected for the Outback Bowl, Michigan was chosen for the Progressive Gator Bowl, Iowa will take part in the Insight Bowl, Illinois will travel to the Texas Bowl and Northwestern will play in the TicketCity Bowl.
Table for Eight: The Big Ten's eight bowl teams matches the conference record for most bowl berths in a season. The Big Ten also made eight bowl appearances following the 2003 and 2007 campaigns. The 2010-11 bowl season marks the sixth straight year that seven or more Big Ten programs have 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 will send six or more teams to bowl games for the 12th straight year and 19th time overall. Including the upcoming bowl season, conference programs will have made 71 bowl appearances over a 10-year span (2001-10) 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 are 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 first 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 will send a pair of teams to BCS games for the sixth straight season, the longest streak since the system's creation. Ohio State has 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.
A New Bowl Lineup: The Big Ten is starting a new four-year rotation of bowl partners, including eight total bowl tie-ins for the first time in conference history. Big Ten schools will take part in the Texas and TicketCity Bowls for the first time and will play in the Gator Bowl for the first time since 1991. Among the conference's returning bowl partners, Big Ten teams have played in the Rose Bowl Game almost annually since 1946 and also have long histories with the Capital One Bowl (annually since 1992), Outback Bowl (1993) and Insight Bowl (2006). The Big Ten has also had an agreement with the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl since the 2002 season.
BCS Success: Only 12 schools have produced multiple BCS wins and the Big Ten boasts two of those programs in Ohio State and Wisconsin. The Buckeyes have won five BCS games, including three triumphs in the Fiesta Bowl (2003, 2004, 2006), a Sugar Bowl win (1999) and a Rose Bowl victory (2010). Florida has also won five BCS contests while Southern California tops all schools with six triumphs. The Badgers are 2-0 in BCS matchups with back-to-back Rose Bowl victories following the 1998 and 1999 seasons. The other teams to win at least two BCS games are Boise State, Georgia, LSU, Miami (Fla.), Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
BCS Regulars: Ohio State will take 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 will be appearing in its third BCS contest, the third-highest total among conference schools behind only Ohio State (nine BCS games) and Michigan (four). The Badgers were victorious in their first two BCS trips, winning the 1999 and 2000 Rose Bowl Games. 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).
Tough Competition: The Big Ten's eight-team bowl contingent has built a combined record of 67-29 (.698) but will once again face stiff competition in bowl games. Big Ten bowl foes have a combined record of 70-26 (.729) and four of the squads already boast nine or more wins -- Alabama (9-3), Arkansas (10-2), Missouri (10-2) and TCU (12-0). The Big Ten is one of only four conferences to face bowl opponents that have combined to win more than 72 percent of their games along with the Pac-10 (44-7, .863), SEC (90-32, .738) and WAC (36-13, .735). The Big Ten is also one of only three conferences with three or more bowl opponents featuring double-digits in victories, behind only the Pac-10 and SEC (four each). The SEC tops all conferences with six of its 10 opponents with nine or more wins, followed by the Big Ten (four of eight), ACC (four of nine), Pac-10 (four of four), WAC (three of four) and Mountain West (two of five). The Big 12, Big East, Conference USA and Sun Belt each face only one team with nine or more triumphs in bowl play.
Playing the Best: The Big Ten is one of only three conferences in which seven or more bowl matchups feature opponents from the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Big East, Pac-10 or SEC. Seven of the Big Ten's eight bowl games are against teams from the SEC (four games) or Big 12 (three games), while Wisconsin takes on third-ranked and undefeated TCU in the Rose Bowl Game. All eight of the Big 12's opponents are from one of those six conferences, while nine of the SEC's 10 bowl foes are from that group. Including the upcoming bowl season, the Big Ten will have faced only four bowl opponents from outside the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Big East, Pac-10 or SEC since the 2000-01 bowl slate. Over that same 11-year span, every other conference among that group will have faced at least eight teams outside of those six conferences. Over that 11-year span, the ACC leads the way with 15 games outside this group, followed by the Big East (14), Pac-10 (14), Big 12 (11) and SEC (8).
More SEC Matchups: Over the last five and 10 years, the Big Ten has played more bowl games against the SEC than any other conference. That trend will continue with the conference's 2011 bowl lineup, which will feature four Big Ten-SEC contests - three on New Year's Day in the Outback, Capital One and Gator Bowls and one more in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 6. Over the last five bowl seasons (2005-09), the Big Ten and SEC have split 12 bowl games, including victories by Iowa, Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin over Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, LSU, South Carolina and Tennessee. Over the last 10 bowl seasons (2000-09), the Big Ten and SEC have met in 26 bowl contests, with the SEC holding a 14-12 edge. The Big Ten's most common bowl opponent since 2000 is the SEC (26 games), followed by the Big 12 (17) and Pac-10 (13).
On the Road Again: For the sixth straight season, at least two of the Big Ten bowl matchups are virtual road games, with conference teams facing schools from the state in which the bowl is played. The Big Ten's "road" bowl contests include Penn State against Florida in the Outback Bowl (Tampa, Fla.), Illinois versus Baylor in the Texas Bowl (Houston, Texas) and Northwestern battling Texas Tech in the TicketCity Bowl (Dallas, Texas). Including the upcoming bowl matchups, the Big Ten leads all conferences with 16 "road" bowl games over the last six seasons. Over that same time span, the ACC ranks second with seven "road" bowl games, followed by the Big 12 (6), Big East (6), SEC (4) and Pac-10 (1).
Bowl Coaching Breakdown: The Big Ten coaching contingent in this season's bowls features a blend of experience and youth. Penn State's Joe Paterno will be making his 37th bowl appearance and has won 24 bowl contests, both of which are NCAA records. Iowa's Kirk Ferentz and Ohio State's Jim Tressel and are tied for second among active Big Ten coaches in bowl victories. Ferentz has been victorious in five of eight bowl contests since moving to Iowa City in 1999 while Tressel has won five of nine bowl outings since joining the Buckeyes in 2001. On the flip side, Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald will be on the sidelines for his third bowl game as a coach. Illinois' Ron Zook is making his fourth bowl appearance and second with the Illini while Michigan's Rich Rodriguez is taking a team to a bowl game for the sixth time but the first time with the Wolverines. Michigan State's Mark Dantonio and Wisconsin's Bret Bielema will be coaching in their fifth career bowl games, including four postseason trips for Dantonio with the Spartans.
A Rare Coaching Fraternity: Paterno, Ferentz and Tressel are three of only nine head coaches to produce five or more bowl triumphs while leading a Big Ten team. Paterno has built a 10-3 postseason record since joining the conference, the most bowl victories by a Big Ten coach in conference history. Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez ranks second with eight bowl wins, followed by Iowa's Hayden Fry (6) and Ferentz (5), Michigan's Lloyd Carr (6) and Bo Schembechler (5) and Ohio State's Earle Bruce (5), Woody Hayes (5) and Tressel (5).
Bowl Rematch: Penn State is the only Big Ten team facing an opponent it has previously battled in postseason action. The Nittany Lions will face Florida in the Outback Bowl, the third postseason matchup between the two teams. The two programs first met in the 1962 Gator Bowl, a 17-7 Gators victory with Joe Paterno serving as an assistant coach. The schools met again in the 1998 Citrus Bowl with Florida posting a 21-6 triumph. Penn State and Florida have never played in the regular season.
Fresh Faces: Big Ten programs will face unfamiliar foes during the bowl season with seven of the eight conference teams battling an opponent for the first time in more than two decades. Four conference schools will square off against an opponent for the first time in school history when Michigan battles Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl, Michigan State challenges Alabama in the Capital One Bowl, Northwestern takes on Texas Tech in the TicketCity Bowl and Ohio State plays Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. Wisconsin will face TCU for the second time in school annals and the first time since playing to a 14-14 tie in 1970. Illinois will battle Baylor for the second time in program history and the first time since falling to the Bears during the 1976 regular season. Iowa and Missouri have played 12 games in the all-time series but have not met since the 1910 campaign.
Bowl Veterans: Including the upcoming bowl season, 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 - 43). The Nittany Lions rank third all-time with 27 bowl triumphs while the Wolverines and Buckeyes are tied for 14th with 19 bowl victories each.
2010-11 BIG TEN BOWL PREVIEWS
INSIGHT BOWL: Iowa is bowl-eligible for the 10th consecutive year and will take part in its ninth postseason game in that time span with the program's first trip to the Insight Bowl. The Hawkeyes will challenge Missouri for the 13th time in school annals but the first time since the 1910 season. The Tigers have won seven of 12 games in the series. Iowa has produced a bowl record of 13-10-1 and has won its last two postseason outings, defeating Georgia Tech in the 2010 Orange Bowl and knocking off South Carolina in the 2009 Outback Bowl. Head coach Kirk Ferentz has won five bowl games with the Hawkeyes, tied for the fifth-most in Big Ten history. Big Ten teams are 2-4 in the Insight Bowl, including victories by Indiana (1991) and Wisconsin (1996) when the game was known as the Copper Bowl.
TEXAS BOWL: Illinois will make its first bowl trip since playing in the 2008 Rose Bowl Game when the program takes part in the Texas Bowl, one of the Big Ten's newest bowl partners. The Illini will face Baylor for the second time in school history and the first time since falling to the Bears during the 1976 regular season. Illinois has posted a 6-9 bowl record and will play a postseason game in the state of Texas for just the second time in school history after participating in the 1991 John Hancock Bowl in El Paso. Head coach Ron Zook will take part in the fourth bowl game of his career and his second at the helm of the Illini. The Big Ten will be making its first appearance in the Texas Bowl, which was first played following the 2006 campaign.
TICKETCITY BOWL: Northwestern will play in a third straight bowl game for the first time in program history when the school participates in the inaugural TicketCity Bowl, one of the Big Ten's newest bowl destinations. The Wildcats' third consecutive bowl bid surpasses the previous record of two straight postseason outings set when current head coach Pat Fitzgerald led the program to bowl games while playing linebacker during the 1995 and 1996 campaigns. Northwestern will take on Texas Tech for the first time in school annals. The Wildcats will play in their fourth bowl game in the state of Texas after taking part in the 2000 and 2008 Alamo Bowls in San Antonio and the 2005 Sun Bowl in El Paso. After making only one bowl trip in its first century of college football, the program will be appearing in its eighth bowl since the 1995 season. As head coach, Fitzgerald has led Northwestern to three straight bowl games, including narrow overtime losses in the 2008 Alamo Bowl and the 2010 Outback Bowl.
OUTBACK BOWL: Penn State will take part in its sixth straight bowl game, the program's longest streak of postseason play since participating in 11 straight bowl contests at the conclusion of the 1989-99 campaigns. The Nittany Lions will look to maintain their undefeated record in the Outback Bowl, including victories over Tennessee in 2007, Kentucky in 1999 and Auburn in 1996. PSU will battle Florida for the third time in school history, including losses to the Gators in the 1962 Gator Bowl and the 1998 Citrus Bowl. Head coach Joe Paterno will make his 37th bowl appearance at Penn State and boasts 24 victories, both of which stand as NCAA records. Overall, the school has built a 27-13-2 record in postseason play, including a 10-3 mark since joining the Big Ten. Paterno's 10 bowl triumphs since joining the Big Ten is a record for head coaches while leading conference programs. PSU has won four of its last five bowl games, including triumphs in the Orange, Outback, Alamo and Capital One Bowls. The Big Ten has produced a record of 9-12 in the Outback/Hall of Fame Bowl, including victories in two of the last four games for Iowa (2009) and Penn State (2007).
CAPITAL ONE BOWL: Michigan State returns to the Capital One Bowl for the second time in three seasons and will make its fourth straight bowl appearance, matching a school record set following the 1987-90 campaigns. The Spartans will be playing in their third Capital One Bowl, including a victory over Florida in 2000 when it was known as the Citrus Bowl and a loss to Georgia in 2009. MSU will challenge Alabama for the first time in school history. The Spartans have posted an overall record of 7-13 in bowl games with a mark of 7-12 since joining the Big Ten. Mark Dantonio is the first head coach in school history to lead Michigan State to bowl games in each of his first four seasons on campus. Big Ten squads maintain an 11-9 mark in the Capital One Bowl, including victories in five of the last six years by Iowa (2005), Wisconsin (2006, 2007), Michigan (2008) and Penn State (2010).
PROGRESSIVE GATOR BOWL: Michigan returns to a bowl for the first time since the conclusion of the 2007 season and will play in the Gator Bowl, one of the Big Ten's newest bowl partners. The Wolverines were the last Big Ten team to take part in the Gator Bowl, defeating Mississippi in 1991. Michigan will take on Mississippi State for the first time in school history. Head coach Rich Rodriguez will take part in the sixth bowl game of his career and his first at the helm of the Wolverines. The school will participate in its 40th bowl contest, which ranks second among conference teams behind only Ohio State, and is tied with the Buckeyes for the Big Ten lead with 19 bowl wins. Michigan was victorious in its last postseason outing, defeating Florida in the 2008 Capital One Bowl. The Big Ten has posted a 1-4 mark in the Gator Bowl, including a 1-1 record for the Wolverines.
ROSE BOWL GAME PRESENTED BY VIZIO: Wisconsin returns to the Rose Bowl Game for the first time since 2000 and will take part in its third BCS contest, the third-highest total among conference schools behind only Ohio State (nine BCS games) and Michigan (four). The Badgers have played in six Rose Bowl Games, including triumphs in each of their last three trips following the 1993, 1998 and 1999 seasons. Wisconsin will face Mountain West Champion TCU for just the second time after the two teams played to a 14-14 tie in 1970. Head coach Bret Bielema will make his fifth bowl appearance in as many seasons at the helm, including victories in the 2007 Capital One Bowl and 2009 Champs Sports Bowl. Wisconsin will take part in a program-record ninth straight bowl game and has played in 21 overall bowl contests with an 11-10 record. The Big Ten has produced a 30-33 record in the Rose Bowl Game including a mark of 30-32 against the Pac-10.
ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL: Ohio State will play in its sixth straight BCS contest when the Buckeyes take part in the Sugar Bowl for the first time since 1999. OSU is the only program in the country to qualify for nine BCS games in the 13-year history of the system, as Oklahoma ranks second with eight BCS bids. The Buckeyes return to New Orleans, La., for the first time since playing in the 2008 BCS Championship Game and have taken part in three previous Sugar Bowls, including a victory in their most recent trip following the 1998 campaign. Ohio State will battle Arkansas for the first time in school history. The six-time defending Big Ten Champions are making their 11th consecutive bowl excursion, including 10 straight under head coach Jim Tressel. The Buckeyes mentor has won five bowl games, tied for the fifth-most in Big Ten history, including a victory in the Rose Bowl Game last season to give him four BCS triumphs (Fiesta Bowls in 2003, 2004 and 2006). Ohio State will be playing in its 42nd bowl, which leads all Big Ten programs, and holds a 19-22 record in postseason play. The Big Ten has posted a 1-4 mark in the Sugar Bowl, including OSU's victory over Texas A&M in 1999.
BIG TEN. BIG NEWS.
Trio of Badgers Earns National Awards: Wisconsin teammates Gabe Carimi, Scott Tolzien and J.J. Watt claimed individual national honors for their performances this season. 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 have been 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. Big Ten All-Americans include three standouts named to all five first teams - Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones, Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan and Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi. Jones earns consensus All-America honors for the second straight season, making him the first Big Ten player to accomplish that feat since Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis was tabbed a consensus All-American 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. Other Big Ten players to earn first-team All-America accolades are Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn, Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, Ohio State's duo of center Mike Brewster and defensive back Chimdi Chekwa, Penn State offensive guard Stefen Wisniewski and the Wisconsin pair of offensive guard John Moffitt and tight end Lance Kendricks. Conference players collecting second- or third-team honors are 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).
Spartans, Buckeyes and Badgers Hit 11-Win Plateau: Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin have each posted 11 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. Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State stand at 11-1 with bowl games still to be played. 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 now won at least a share of the last six 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 154-67 in the Nittany Lions' 18 years in the Big Ten. Tressel earned his 100th victory with the Buckeyes on Oct. 9 and ended the regular season with a record of 105-22, just four wins shy of Michigan State's Duffy Daugherty (109-69-5) for 12th place on the list. Tressel has won 82.7 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 regular season with 401 victories, the all-time record among Football Bowl Subdivision coaches. Paterno stands at 401-134-3 in his 45th season 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 538 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 . . . : With the Big Ten season complete, the conference 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, breaking the previous record of four consecutive seasons set by Michigan from 1969-72. 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.
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.