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January 4, 2011

College Football Report - Sugar Bowl Can be Sweet or Sour for Big Ten:

The Big Ten has one last hope. A current 2-5 bowl season isn’t exactly what Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney had in mind when his conference sent eight of its 11 teams to the postseason. A 2-6 season, and 0-2 record in BCS Bowl’s this postseason was even farther from Delaney’s thoughts. Ohio State can salvage the conference with a giant win on a giant stage, Tuesday night against Arkansas, however.

There is one problem, though. Imagine Super Man fighting Kryptonite Man. Magneto versus Wolverine. Like Brett Favre against the media. That’s the level we’re talking about when matching Ohio State against the SEC in bowl games.

The Buckeyes bring an all-time record into the Allstate Sugar Bowl of 0-9 against the Southeastern Conference in bowl games (right). Working on the SEC’s side already this postseason: a 0-3 record against the SEC sits on the shoulders of the Big Ten from New Years Day bowl games.

At first, things looked good for the Big Ten. The Illini put a beat-down on Baylor in the Texas Bowl. An upset, maybe, but a good win to start off the bowl season. Then, Iowa somehow finished a game for the first time this year, bringing in an upset over No. 12 Missouri in the Insight Bowl.

The Big Ten was 2-0 and on their way to yet another nice postseason. Then came New Years Day. A tradition of bowl games is always played on New Years and the Big Ten was represented in five of the six games.

Northwestern took the stage first against Texas Tech in the Ticketcity Bowl. Their fate: a 45-38 loss. Next up, 11-1 Michigan State taking on Alabama in the Capital One Bowl. State was upset they didn’t get a BCS Bowl game. They should have been more upset that they had to play the Tide. Their fate: a 49-7 embarrassment.

Michigan was sure not to embarrass the Big Ten. With a high powered offense against a team that hadn’t been a consistent bowl team in Mississippi State. Their fate: a 52-14 blowout. The U-of-M defense and offense failed to show. Penn State and Joe Pa wouldn’t disappoint, right? Wrong. Urban Meyer went out in style, with a 37-24 win.

The lock for the Big Ten was Wisconsin. Facing a non-AQ in TCU, the Badgers had the game in the bag before it even started. Heck, the Wisco offensive line out-weighed TCU’s defensive line by an average of 50 pounds. The first play of the game was a 40 yard run by Wisconsin running back Montee Ball, even. The last play of the game, though? A minus two yard kneel by TCU quarterback Andy Dalton. You don’t take a knee if you’re losing folks: TCU 21-19.

Records are meant to be broken and streaks may be meant to end, but can Ohio State take down Arkansas, one of the top SEC teams, tonight?

It’s going to be a thriller. Two of the best quarterbacks in the country in Arkansas’s Ryan Mallett and Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor will duke it out. If all else fails, maybe Pryor can sell some stuff for a Big Ten win. He’s just going to sell the trophy anyways.

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