Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Looking at the Big Ten Conference: Final Week of Play

Three teams enter the final weekend as candidates for the Rose Bowl. The likelihood of a third straight Big Ten team representing the conference in the BCS National Title game is slim to none, after Iowa upset Penn State in Week 11 by the score of 24-23 in a late second field goal by the Hawkeyes.

For the first time this decade, the Michigan Wolverines are not in contention for the Big Ten title entering the final week. Even worse for the Wolverines, the 33 year bowl streak is ended in '08.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz talking about Big Ten bowl games at his weekly media conference today.

Question. Rather than say play the Peach Bowl, Gator Bowl, you like the setup?

"I do. All bowls are good Bowls. But I think we've got a great you know, the
Big 10 has done a great job of organizing that. Just gets back, you have to do
your job on the field. If you do that, that's how you get rewarded. That's how
the bowls got started in the first place. It's a chance to reward the players
and fans."
- Iowa's Kirk Ferentz

Big Ten Conference and Overall Records

School W-L PF PA W-L PF PA Streak - Opponent on 11/22
1. Penn State 6-1 222 91 10-1 433 131 W1 vs. Michigan State
1. Michigan State 6-1 183 159 9-2 296 214 W3 @ Penn State
1. Ohio State 6-1 196 91 9-2 296 150 W2 vs. Michigan
4. Northwestern 4-3 164 177 8-3 267 222 W1 vs. Illinois
4. Iowa 4-3 183 130 7-4 308 159 W2 @ Minnesota for Floyd of Rosedale
6. Minnesota 3-4 136 155 7-4 281 225 L3 vs. Iowa for Floyd of Rosedale
6. Illinois 3-4 208 179 5-6 334 292 L2 @ Northwestern
8. Wisconsin 3-5 206 227 6-5 308 268 W2 non-conference vs. Cal-Poly
9. Michigan 2-5 170 226 3-8 236 305 L1 @ Ohio State
10. Indiana 1-6 106 266 3-8 236 361 L3 @ Purdue for Old Oaken Bucket
10. Purdue 1-6 113 186 3-8 234 291 L2 vs. Indiana for Old Oaken Bucket

Will the Big Ten Conference get two BCS bowl representatives in 2008? With non-BCS teams, Utah and Boise State, undefeated to date... it is possible the Big Ten could get a second team knocked out of the BCS this year. However, it is possible that both teams will get knocked off in the final conference game(s) in the MWC and WAC, respectively.

Bowl bids are on the line this weekend. The Iowa Hawkeyes have been bowl eligible the past eight years under coach Kirk Ferentz, but last year, with a record ten Big Ten eligible teams... the Hawkeyes stayed home for the holidays. That will not happen in '08, but the Illinois Fighting Illini have a must win at Evanston vs. Northwestern to get the required six wins.

The Big Ten has qualified seven Big Ten teams to date for bowl games. Will the Fighting Illini make it seven on Saturday?

It should be an exciting close to the 2008 Big Ten season on Saturday. Purdue coach Joe Tiller will coach his final game on Saturday, since his retirement has been announced. Could Joe Paterno at Penn State be coaching his final Big Ten game this weekend?

Stay tuned... Big Ten conference games statistics through the season so far.


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