There were 42 bowl games played this postseason. And, after the national championship game provided an epic conclusion to the 2016-2017 season, how did the Big Ten rate?
ESPN ranked all 42 games, 10 of which included Big Ten teams. Although the conference finished a disappointing 3-7, there were a three games which did slot in as some of the best college football fans watched the past two months. They were the Rose Bowl (Penn State-USC), Orange Bowl (Michigan-Florida State) and the Pinstripe Bowl (Northwestern-Pitt).
ESPN listed the Rose Bowl as the second-best game in its rankings, just behind the national title game. USC rallied to win the Rose Bowl, 52-49, on a field goal as time expired. Michigan’s 33-32 loss to Florida State in the Orange Bowl came in as the third-best bowl game this postseason. The Pinstripe Bowl, featuring Northwestern and Pitt, came in at No. 10. This game surprised many with how good it actually was, as the Wildcats, led by running back Justin Jackson’s three touchdowns, came away with a 31-24 win in the Bronx.
ESPN also took note of a few surprises as well, including Ohio State’s 31-0 loss to Clemson, which was expected to be one of the best games of the season and turned out to be one of the worst.
Here’s where ESPN ranked the Big Ten’s bowl games:
40. Florida-Iowa, Outback Bowl
39. Ohio State-Clemson, Fiesta Bowl (CFP semifinal)
36. Minnesota-Washington State, Holiday Bowl
25. Western Michigan-Wisconsin, Cotton Bowl
23. Tennessee-Nebraska, Music City Bowl
16. Maryland-Boston College, Quick Lane Bowl
11. Utah-Indiana, Foster Farms Bowl
10. Northwestern-Pitt, Pinstripe Bowl
3. Michigan-Florida State, Orange Bowl
2. Penn State-USC, Rose Bowl