It hasn’t been a banner month for the Big Ten.
Clemson blew out Ohio State in the College Football Playoff, Michigan lost to Florida State and Nebraska got beat handily by a short-handed Tennessee team. Entering Monday, the conference’s bowl record sits at 2-5.
Who can save the Big Ten this bowl season? Penn State and only Penn State, according to ESPN analyst Lee Corso. The Nittany Lions play USC in the Rose Bowl on Monday.
“The public perception of the Big Ten is hurting,” Corso said Monday on ESPN’s College GameDay live from Pasadena. “The two best teams, Ohio State and Michigan, got beat by ACC teams. And now the pressure’s on Penn State. They’ve got to carry the torch against USC. The pressure’s on them. If they win this game, it retains some of the prestige the Big Ten’s had all year.”
ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit agreed with Corso, saying that leagues are judged by nonconference and bowl performances, whether that’s fair or not.
“Ohio State not only embarrassed themselves, they embarrassed the Big Ten,” Herbstreit said. “Last time Penn State played USC in this Rose Bowl, I don’t know how many years, if it’s one of those performances that hurts the Big Ten for sure.”