2010 BCS Conference Profiles: Big Ten Conference

Bleacher ReportContributor IJuly 19, 2010

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Quarterback Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes drops back to pass against the Oregon Ducks during the 96th Rose Bowl game on January 1, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

This is second in a series of conference profiles as part of BCS Know How's season preview. Today's conference is the Big Ten.

Conference: Big Ten Conference (Big Ten)

Active Since: 1896

Current Member Schools: Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Northwestern Wildcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Penn State Nittany Lions, Purdue Boilermakers, Wisconsin Badgers. (11)

Bowl Affiliations: Rose Bowl (BCS), Little Caesars Bowl, Insight Bowl, Texas Bowl, Dallas Football Classic, Outback Bowl, Capital One Bowl, Gator Bowl. (8)

2009 Results:
Conference Champion—Ohio State
Conference Runner-up—Iowa/Penn State
BCS Bowl Results: 2010 Rose Bowl—Ohio State 26, Oregon 17; 2010 Orange Bowl—Iowa 24, Georgia Tech 14
Overall Bowl Record: 4-3
Heisman Vote Recipients: None

2010 Outlook: The Big Ten is on the way up—other conferences be warned.

Viewed as a second-tier BCS conference for the past few years, the Big Ten is back, and looking stronger than they have, top to bottom, in years.

Of course, at the top is perennial power Ohio State. Led by the underachieving Terrelle Pryor for the past few seasons, Ohio State has fallen just short on multiple occasions. However, if the Buckeyes' last game is any indication, Pryor is finally ready to step into the spotlight that has been waiting for him for years. Add the fact that this year's edition of the Buckeye defense looks up to the team's usual standards and you might just have a national title favorite waiting in Columbus.

The Buckeyes are not the only reason the Big Ten is up this year.

Iowa also received a BCS bowl bid last season, and handily topped Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl, setting expectations high for the Hawkeyes. Iowa returns core players, but will have to fill important holes all over the field, especially on the offensive line and linebacker positions.

Michigan State, Wisconsin, Purdue and Penn State all seem poised to post big seasons, with 10 wins a possibility for all four.

2010 Heisman Hopefuls: Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor, Penn State RB Evan Royster

BCS Know How's 2010 Predictions:
Conference Champion—Ohio State Buckeyes
Conference Runner-up—Iowa Hawkeyes
BCS bids—Two: Ohio State—BCS National Championship Game; Iowa—Rose Bowl
Heisman Finalists—Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor