We trusted you.
We respected you. Envied you, even.
We told the world you were sexy. We said you were unflappable. Grace under fire. Cold as steel and twice as tough. You were the windshield and the world was your bug.
What the hell happened, Big Ten East?
Did the Big Ten East take a bagel in bowls? Really?
— Chad Willis (@ChadWillis) January 3, 2017
Look at this mess. Look at it! What did you just do? WHAT DID YOU JUST DO?
The Big Ten altogether finished 3-7 in the bowls. The Big Ten East? 0-5.
— Nathan (@NateUlrich) January 3, 2017
Penn St wins the lousy big ten east. 0-5 in bowls. ?
— ernest massa (@erniemass) January 3, 2017
If you’re not careful, they’re going to start calling you …
The Big Ten pulled a 2014 SEC West. Dominated the playoff rankings, lost (almost) all the bowls. https://t.co/ig7oXVTyD7
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) January 3, 2017
Gah! Too late.
Holy crap, you’re the new SEC West.
Remember two years ago? Deeper than El Zacaton, they said. Badder than Leroy Brown. Five of the division’s seven teams finished the regular season ranked in the top 25. All seven reached the postseason. But only two won their respective bowl games — unranked Arkansas and unranked Texas A&M.
Same song, different verse. You charmed the wingtips off the College Football Playoff committee with your quality wins in September. You blew the doors off the poll voters by giving Rutgers as many wedgies as possible. And then when the bowls came around …
— Jean Valjameis (@JeanValjameis) January 1, 2017
There are only three certainties in life: death, taxes, and the Big Ten sucking in bowl games.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) January 2, 2017
USC just murdered the Big Ten in cold blood.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) January 3, 2017
Inside the Waffle House bubble, New Year’s weekend was Christmas all over again.
Yes, the West went 3-2. Minnesota scored perhaps the most impressive upset of the bowl slate, especially in light of the chaos of the moment and its players floating the possibility of boycotting the Holiday Bowl entirely. And Northwestern’s victory over a ranked Pitt team with wins over Clemson and Penn State on its resume wasn’t far behind. Wisconsin carried the flag across the line at the Cotton Bowl.
Yes, the Lions lost to a California team in California, Michigan lost to a Florida team in Florida, Nebraska lost to a Tennessee team in Tennessee, Iowa lost to a Florida team in Florida. Not the point. If you want to play bowls in Chicago, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati or Pittsburgh over the holidays, great. Schedule them.
Rightly or wrongly, perception goes as the big hitters go. And the Big Ten’s big hitters, the heart of the order — Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State — combined to go 0-for-3.
And suddenly, negative superlatives were popping up all over the place. The Buckeyes were shut out in a postseason game for the first time since 1920. The league’s Marquee 3 of Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State all dropped their bowl games in the same winter for the first time since 1978, and for the first time while all were under the Big Ten umbrella together.
“I think moreso it’s going to be the selection committee not wanting, in the future, to have a team that didn’t win the conference championship in that playoff,” Pro Fooball Focus college analyst Josh Liskiewitz offered. “I think they’re going to look at it in that respect.”
When you lose 31-0 to Clemson, it leaves a mark.
How long it lasts, how deep the bruise goes, those are the questions now.
Seasons are self-contained entities.
The Big Ten’s 3-7 bowl record wasn’t a shock, given the matchups.
The shock was how the train got there.
New Year’s Six games: 1-3.
College Football Playoff semis: 0-1, and a 31-point-beatdown.
East division bowl record: 0-5.
Season record vs the SEC: 1-2.
Season record vs. the ACC: 2-6.
The NFL has Black Monday. The Big Ten has Piñata Day. The first work day after Jan. 1, when social media grabs a stick starts swinging for the head:
Why does the Big Ten even allow their teams to go to bowls?
— ronald duzan (@ronaldduzan) January 3, 2017
All the big ten schools got wiped in their bowls this year ??
— CloudSurf☁ (@StalkDreDaily) January 3, 2017
— Stephen Hays (@hazesyah) January 3, 2017
On balance, no, the sky isn’t falling. The Buckeyes are in permanent reloading mode. Jim Harbaugh has unfinished business all over the place. Penn State is young and hungry with a title to defend.
And yet …
The Big Ten could’ve been champions of Orange, Fiesta, Cotton and Rose Bowls in same year. But went 1 for 4. Ouch. Might not happen again.
— Super Dave Gregorius (@DrBigWaveDave) January 3, 2017
It might not.
Four teams in the New Year’s 6.
One win to show for it.
“Maybe in a few years, (if) Michigan and Ohio State are undefeated when they play each other, then those two are going to be tough to leave out,” Liskiewitz sighed. “But if you have another year like this year, I don’t think the (East) division is going to get the benefit of the doubt anymore.”
When Michigan State and Ohio State exit the CFP in back-to-back seasons by a combined margin of 69-0, people start to talk.
And not kindly.