Sharp Schutter on B1G Bowl Season
I’ll admit it, I was skeptical about the Big Ten being successful this bowl season.
I had little faith that a conference that had struggled all season long could piece together a .500 mark or better in postseason play. The crow I’m now eating is a consequence of my lacking faith in the conference.
Not only was the Big Ten successful in bowl season, it won the most important games. Michigan State took down Baylor, Wisconsin knocked off Auburn and, most impressively, Ohio State defeated Alabama.
I picked against all three teams, in those games.
There’s nothing left for me to do now, except apologize and admit my mistakes to each and every Big Ten team that took a bowl game trophy home this postseason;
I’m sorry, Rutgers.
Even though your offense put up 40 points and you obliterated North Carolina, that’s not what gets you this sentimental apology. The reason for skepticism was based on your defense. Despite being in the lower-third in points allowed this season, you held a high-powered offense and a versatile quarterback scoreless in the first half.
You held Marquise Williams to fewer than 250 yards and two touchdowns, some of his lowest totals of the season. You limited an offense to just 21 points when it came in averaging nearly 34 points per game.
The eight wins you finished with speak for themselves. There’s room for improvement but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
I’m sorry, Penn State.
I had no faith that your offense expanded any further than the leg of Sam Ficken, and, therefore, didn’t believe you’d have enough ammunition to take down Boston College. Even the victory relied heavily on the leg of your Lou Groza Award finalist, putting together 31 points and two scoring drives late in the game to force overtime proved there is more to you than just defense.
After Christian Hackenberg’s 371 yard, four touchdown performance in the win, it looks like your offense may have hope heading into next season.
I’m sorry, Wisconsin.
I thought your 59-0 loss to Ohio State proved you weren’t a serious threat to take down an SEC-caliber defense. You’re struggle to find a usable quarterback was costly throughout the season, but luckily Melvin Gordon, a strong offensive line and a solid defensive presence allowed you to play one of your best games of the season against Auburn.
There’s still a quarterback issue moving forward but you proved important games can be won on the ground.
I’m sorry, Michigan State.
Your defense was far from stellar this season, prompting me to believe that Baylor would put up too many points on the scoreboard. Even though you gave up 41 points in the Cotton Bowl, you stepped up when it mattered. Holding the Bears scoreless in the fourth quarter was quite a feat.
Offensively it was expected that you compete with a bad Baylor defense and you answered the call. Your only two losses came to the two teams competing for a national title, Ohio State and Oregon. That’s a pretty impressive resume.
Finally, I’m sorry, Ohio State.
When Braxton Miller was ruled out, I doubted you could compete in the Big Ten. When J.T. Barrett went down, I counted you out against Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship. And, even though I gained respect for you heading into the College Football Playoff, I never believed you could beat a team like Alabama.
Cardale Jones has answered the call. Ezekiel Elliott is emerging as one of the nation’s best running backs. The defense has made some big plays. Urban Meyer is coaching his best season, yet.
It’s been a steady and balanced attack for the Buckeyes and nobody is playing better football right now. I’m sorry that I’ve doubted you more than any Big Ten team this season.
Please forgive me, Big Ten Conference. I didn’t give you the proper respect you proved you deserve. But you have turned a skeptic into a believer. Big Ten football is on the road to national prominence.
FanRag Sports Wants to Know:
Which Conference was the most impressive during Bowl Season?
Will Ohio State Beat Oregon?
Be Seen, Be Heard, Be a Fan!
Tweet your college football comments, questions, rants and reactions to @FanRagSports and @TodaysPigskin then Like Us on Facebook.