• Eight Big Ten schools were chosen for postseason bowl games this year, including three teams (Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin) that earned berths in one of the six College Football Playoff bowls.
• Big Ten Champion Ohio State will participate in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, while Big Ten West Division Champion Wisconsin will play in the Capital One Orange Bowl and Penn State will compete in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, joining the Buckeyes as the Big Ten representatives in this year’s College Football Playoff bowls. The Buckeyes were ranked No. 5 by the College Football Playoff selection committee and will play No. 8 USC on Dec. 29 in Arlington, Texas. The Badgers were No. 6 and meet No. 10 Miami on Dec. 30 in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Nittany Lions were No. 9 and face No. 11 Washington, also on Dec. 30 in Glendale, Ariz.
• Ohio State was crowned Big Ten Champion after its 27-21 win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game presented by Discover on Dec. 2 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. It was the Buckeyes’ 36th Big Ten title and first since 2014. A complete statistical recap of this year’s Big Ten Championship Game can be found on Page 3 of the bowl release.
• Wisconsin (12-1), Ohio State (11-2) and Penn State (10-2) have recorded at least 10 wins this season. Wins by Michigan State (9-3) in the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl and Northwestern (9-3) in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl would represent just the second time in Big Ten history the conference has had five 10-win programs in a single season, following six 10-win teams in 2015.
• The Big Ten continues to feature the largest and most diverse postseason lineup in conference history, with five schools making their first appearance in their assigned bowl. Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin will all make their first trip to their destinations. Ohio State will return to the Cotton Bowl for the first time since 1986, while Penn State will compete in the Fiesta Bowl for the first time since the 1996 campaign and Michigan will take part in the Outback Bowl for the sixth time (first since 2012).
• Purdue will make its first bowl appearance in five years when the Boilermakers play Arizona in the Foster Farms Bowl on Dec. 27 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Under first-year head coach Jeff Brohm, Purdue is seeking its first postseason victory since the 2011 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit, where the Boilermakers defeated Western Michigan, 37-32.
• Four Big Ten students took home national honors. Iowa’s Josey Jewell received the Lott IMPACT Trophy as the defensive impact player of the year and the Jack Lambert Award given to the best linebacker in the nation. Jewell’s teammate, Josh Jackson was chosen as the recipient of the Jack Tatum Award, which goes to the nation’s best defensive back. Ohio State’s Billy Price earned the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s most outstanding center, while Penn State’s Saquon Barkley collected the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player.
• Iowa received the Disney Sports Spirit Award, given to the nation’s most inspirational player, team or figure in college football. The Hawkeyes were honored for their unique tradition at the end of the first quarter of each home game, where fans, players and officials alike stop and wave to the patients at the Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, which overlooks Kinnick Stadium.
• Northwestern was one of seven schools to receive the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Academic Achievement Award, which was given to the programs with the highest NCAA Graduation Success Rate among freshman football students in the Class of 2010. The Wildcats had a perfect 100 GSR rating and earned the AFCA Academic Achievement Award for the 10th time since the honor was first presented in 1981.
• Sixteen conference standouts were named All-Americans, including 10 that earned first-team distinction from at least one organization. In addition, six Big Ten players were named consensus All-Americans, including four unanimous first-team honorees. Iowa’s Josh Jackson and Josey Jewell, Ohio State’s Billy Price, and Penn State’s Saquon Barkley were each unanimous first-team All-Americans, while Michigan’s Maurice Hurst and Ohio State’s Denzel Ward earned consensus All-America status. A list of Big Ten All-Americans can be found on Page 6 of the bowl release.
• Six Big Ten students were named Academic All-Americans, giving the Big Ten 94 honorees in the past 13 seasons. The Academic All-America first-team honorees from the Big Ten are Iowa’s Anthony Nelson, Michigan State’s Cole Chewins, Nebraska’s Chris Weber and Rutgers’ Ryan Anderson. Iowa’s Parker Hesse and Ohio State’s Jordan Fuller both earned Academic All-America second-team accolades.
• The Big Ten posted the fourth-highest single-season attendance total in conference history with 6,225,648 fans attending home games. This marks the fifth consecutive season and sixth time in seven years that more than six million fans have attended Big Ten home football games.
• Nebraska announced Dec. 2 that former Husker quarterback and current UCF head coach Scott Frost will return to his alma mater as head coach following the completion of the 2017 season. Frost, who was named the 2017 Associated Press National Coach of the Year, is 18-7 in two seasons at UCF, leading the Knights to a 12-0 record this year, along with the American Athletic Conference championship and a No. 12 ranking in the final College Football Playoff poll. UCF is the Group of Five representative in this year’s College Football Playoff bowls and will play No. 7 Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day in Atlanta.