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.
What was the biggest surprise in the Big 10 this year?
Michigan losing to Toledo...and everyone else (12 votes)
Implosion of Tiller's "Basketball on Grass" (4 votes)
Shonne Greene's dominance (8 votes)
Wisconsin's 5 in-conference losses (22 votes)
Spread HD success (10 votes)
56 total votes