With bowl season nearly in the books—just waiting on a rematch between two boring teams that can't score; nothing to see there, folks—it's time to look back on how exactly the Big Ten fared in its own national showcase against teams from all over the country.
National reputations are won and lost during the bowl weeks, and a great deal of the Big Ten's problems of perception are deeply rooted in New Year's Days past. With a 4-6 record in the bowls this year, an awful 1-4 showing in the traditional New Year's Day bowls (played on Jan. 2) and 1-1 in BCS bowls, the Big Ten again struggled to put to rest doubts about the overall quality of the league. There were losses to top-flight teams from power conferences (Oregon, South Carolina), mid-majors (Houston) and mediocre competition (Florida, Texas A&M).
With that said, allow me to use this platform to lodge a complaint to Jim Delaney with the Big Ten's bowl setup.
Jim, I know how important the idea of New Year's Day bowls are to you. The tradition and prestige goes back a long way, and even to this day evinces a special feeling that these bowls are somehow set apart or above the fray that is most of the random weeknight bowl games between Christmas and New Year's. I get all of that, but why do they all have to be on TV at the same time?
I sat down on Jan. 2 this year to watch the Big Ten compete in traditional games like the Citrus Bowl (Capital One), Gator Bowl (Taxslayer) and Outback Bowl (cheap, overseasoned steak), but I found my hand glued to the remote. With four games on at the same time (one began at noon, the rest at 1 p.m.) it was nearly impossible to enjoy more than one or two at the expense of the others.
Move the games to different times. Start the Gator Bowl at 10 a.m., the Outback Bowl and Capital One Bowl at noon, and the Gator Bowl at 2 p.m. Give Big Ten fans and college football fans everywhere a chance to enjoy all of these games while still not cutting into the Rose Bowl's time.
Although, with the way the Big Ten teams played on NYD, I guess it was best to just get it all out of the way quick.