Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Without Ted Ginn Jr., Troy Smith looked mortal.
In addition to all these high moments, there have certainly been a number of low marks for the conference. Here's a brief recap painful moments from the past 15 years:
2007-08 BCS Bowl Smashing
What everyone remembers is the massive Ohio State flops, on the biggest stage, at the BCS Championship two seasons in a row. While the Buckeyes were likely not deserving in 2008 to play LSU, the unexpected hammering from Urban Meyer and the Gators in 2007 was the big disappointment.
Michigan got dumped by USC after being left out in favor of the Gators in the BCS Championship in 2007, and an undeserving Illinois team got annihilated, 49-17, by USC in 2008.
Thus, the Big Ten was too slow compared to the SEC and too weak compared to USC in the Rose Bowl. These flops have done more damage to the conference reputation than anything else in the past 15 years.
Jerry Sandusky Scandal
Penn State was rocked with scandal coming out of nowhere in 2011 when Joe Paterno was forced to step down as the gory details came out about Jerry Sandusky, a former coordinator for the team.
Sandusky's actions and the failure to disclose them caused Penn State to experience historic NCAA sanctions and the loss of jobs for the university president, athletic director and football coach.
Coach Paterno died in the interim investigation, and his legacy is marred without the ability to do anything about it, which is a shame.
Coaching Legends Dismissed in Disgrace
On the last slide, we discussed a crowning moment for the Big Ten as legendary coaches Paterno and Jim Tressel led their teams to big BCS victories.
It would figure that two men who seemed completely infallible would both be fired within the same calendar year just a few years later. These idols were disgraced, reminding us that nobody is above the law, and nobody is perfect.
Biggest Upset Ever in the Big House
Michigan entered 2007 with some swagger, despite having a disappointing end to the 2006 season with losses to Ohio State and USC following an 11-0 start. Then Michigan went out and laid an absolute egg against the FCS Mountaineers.
Michigan would struggle much more in Lloyd Carr's final season, but this loss dropped Michigan from the Top Five of the AP rankings to unranked—a complete shocker that may not be matched again.
Ohio State Blows 15-Point Lead and National Title Bid at Home in 1998
Although John Cooper had barely survived with his poor record against Michigan and his poor bowl record, his victory in the Rose Bowl helped bring in a couple recruiting classes that would make Ohio State the team to beat in 1998.
The Buckeyes rocked every opponent heading into November and had a couple breather games before the showdown with Michigan.
The first half at home against outmatched Michigan State went right to plan, as the Buckeyes had a 24-9 lead. But then Nick Saban proved his coaching prowess, outfoxing John Cooper and ruining the Buckeye season with a 28-24 upset in Columbus.
The Buckeyes would win against Michigan and in the Sugar Bowl, but the special season would have to wait a few more years.
Nebraska Backs Into BCS Championship and Gets Rocked Like a Hurricane
In 2001, Nebraska was right back on the cusp of winning a national championship only four years after Tom Osborne won his final title. But then Nebraska was waxed in the final regular-season game against Colorado, 62-36, and lost the right to play in the Big 12 championship.
Despite this, Nebraska got all the breaks and backed into the BCS Championship against Miami. The Hurricanes proved that this was a mistake, as Nebraska was throttled much worse than even the 37-14 score would indicate. Yes, the Huskers were not yet a Big Ten team, but this was embarrassing for all of college football.
The "0-fer" on 2011 New Year's Day
While it is true that the Big Ten plays tough competition in bowl games in usually unfavorable locales, the 2011 slate of New Year's Games was an unmitigated disaster that cannot be outdone.
The conference went a shocking 0-5, including losses by Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, and most notably, Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl to TCU.
It cannot get worse than this. Bottom line.