Ohio State, the pressure is on you in the Sugar Bowl. The Big Ten is counting on you.
The Buckeyes play Arkansas from the SEC Tuesday night in New Orleans. The Big Ten went head to head against the SEC three time on New Years Day and were pummelled. Alabama overwhelmed Michigan State 49-7 in the Capital One Bowl, Florida took care of Penn State 37-24 in the Outback Bowl and Mississippi State gave Michigan their worst bowl loss in school history 52-14 in the Gator Bowl. More on that later.
If you are keeping score the Big Ten is 0-3 against the SEC this bowl season. Once again the Big Ten appears to soil their britches against the SEC.
Those were just three games on what was a brutal day for the 10.
It all started in the Ticket City Bowl in Dallas. (They play that game in the old Cotton Bowl stadium.) Northwestern faced Texas Tech and give the Wildcats credit they almost pulled it off losing to the Red Raiders 45-38. By the way Northwestern hasn't won a bowl game since the 1949 Rose Bowl. Speaking of the Rose Bowl, Wisconsin ended up fearing the Frog losing to TCU 21-19.
New comer Nebraska didn't help your cause losing to Washington in the Holiday Bowl. The Huskers are feeling a year early the alleged bowl curse of the Big Ten.
Only the conference "I" schools have been successful this bowl season with Iowa and Illinois winning their bowl games.
For the rest of the Big Ten, what gives? You bathe in cash. You have a highly successful cable network yet when the big bowls are played the league takes a dump.
You can say recruit speed and "modernize" your programs from the "three yards and a cloud of dust" mentality but Ron Zook and Rich Rodriquez have tried that and you see how that has worked out. Zooker might survive at Illinois but Rich Rod is about to get the boot in Ann Arbor.
Note the following exchange from the Gator Bowl post game press conference:
Q. Do you get any sense because of the way this game unfolded that any sense at all that this will affect Brandon's decision about you? Did you think it was about this game and that this could impact it negatively?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: You're asking the wrong person.
Q. Do you think you'll be back next year?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: You're asking the wrong person. I do.
Q. Do you think your team was distracted by all the hoopla surrounding your job status?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Really we didn't talk about it much, really. I know that guys it was the elephant in the room every time our guys were meeting.
Michigan athletic director David Brandon will have the final say on that one and the odds are Rodriquez will be looking for work soon.
The Big Ten has some sole searching to do in football.
Photo Courtesy: John T. Greilick / The Detroit News