Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Big Ten and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Was Saturday the worst day in Big Ten History? If not, it was pretty darn close. Even though eight of the conference's 14 teams won yesterday, it was the three biggest games on the schedule that could signal the B1G's absence from the inaugural College Football Playoff.

Michigan State at Oregon was the big game of Week Two, and it considered by some a must-win for the Spartans if the conference wanted one of its team to make the CFP. Michigan State was ahead at one point in the third quarter 27-18. Then the Ducks went on a 28-point run, eventually going on to beat the Spartans 46-27

Michigan fared worst. Saturday was the final regularly scheduled game of the Wolverines' storied rivalry with Notre Dame. The Irish shut out Michigan 31-0.

It was the first time since 1984 that Michigan failed to score against Notre Dame. It probably will be a long time before the Wolverines get a chance for revenge in a regular season scheduled game.

Ohio State wishes it could partake in Wolverine and Spartan schadenfreude, but it had its own issues Saturday. The Buckeyes were upset in the team's home opener by Virginia Tech 35-21.

Beyond that, Purdue and Northwestern also lost, firmly putting their respective head coaches, Darrell Hazell and Pat Fitzgerald, on the Hot Seat. Michigan head coach Brady Hoke is probably on his way there as well, if he isn't already. Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon might be joining him.

ESPN's Heather Dinich probably said it best when it came to how important Week 2 was for the B1G. 

This was the week for the conference to assert itself in the playoff conversation and silence critics with a marquee win over a top-five team. Instead, the Big Ten looked like the first Power 5 conference that should be left out of the four-team playoff. Even if Michigan State runs the table, its strength of schedule will be called into question if the rest of the league continues to underwhelm -- if it hasn’t already. 

If Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany can take any solace from this week, it could be in the fact that the conference's two newest members, Maryland and Rutgers, are still undefeated. It might not be much, but their continued success is a bright spot in what could be a conference-wide down year.

(via ESPN)

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