A shift of power was legitimately felt in the Big 10 this year. Highly hyped traditional powers suffered once-in-a-generation upsets and surprising losing streaks, while mediocre programs followed their new coaches to in-conference success. Don't believe me? Check the statistics from the past ten years. (Note: The numbers in parentheses are the finishing Big 10 ranking of the team in 2008. For ranking the teams that had the same in-conference record in 2008, I went to overall record. If that didn't resolve which team was ranked higher, I went to head-to-head match-up.)
|Team||Overall Record||In-Conference Record||Bowl Record||Big 10 Championships|
Michigan's well-documented fall from perennial power is shown in its -8 difference. Wisconsin's -3 difference, while not as dramatic as the Wolverines, seemed especially steep because of the Badgers #8 preseason national ranking. Michigan State and Northwestern, spurred on by their intense coaches and solid defenses, both show a +5 difference thanks to their strong play.