Although our favorite conference was down this year, there are several guys running the show that can make a serious case for B1G Coach Of The Year. From Lincoln to State College and a few points in between, several guys have made a serious case for bringing home the Schembechler-Hayes trophy. With the coach of the year being announced tonight, let's take a look at who the candidates are.
Bo Pelini, Nebraska: In Nebraska's second season in the B1G, Pelini is one win away from taking the Cornhuskers to the Rose Bowl. A 9-2 record, with losses to only UCLA and Ohio State, Pelini guided Nebraska to 6 straight wins to end their season after an embarrassing loss at Ohio State in the second week of conference play. It's Nebraska's first Legends division title, and with a win, it will be Nebraska's first conference title ever in the B1G, and first of any kind since 1999. Also, he got through an entire season without ripping Taylor Martinez' heart from his chest. Admit it, at some point, we all expected to see that happen.
him from bolting? That would be a cruel blow to a community already reeling, wouldn't it? It would also be the absolute biggest troll move in history. Which is why 3% of me wants to see it happen. 97% of me would feel bad for Penn State, though., Penn State: O'Brien took a job that wasn't a very attractive option and went a long way to make it a destination place again. Reeling from scandal and player defections, O'Brien was a steadying voice of calm in the most uncertain period in Penn State history. Early losses had the program reeling further, but O'Brien guided Penn State to an 8-4 finish after an 0-2 start, and but for a loss to Ohio State in October they would have won the Leaders division. Will it be enough to keep
Jerry Kill, Minnesota: Normally a 6-6 record is something you look at and go, 'meh, whatever.' But this is no ordinary 6-6. This is 6-6 at Minnesota, a program barely two years removed from one of the worst coaches in modern B1G history. Kill has methodically gone about rebuilding Minnesota football from the foundation up, and in only his second season has guided the Gophers to a bowl game. The overall talent level in Dinkytown is still below where it needs to be to contend for a championship, but Kill has taken the worst program in the conference and made it competitive. If A.J. barker is on the voting committee, he probably won't be voting for Kill, though. And I'm sure he'll post a manifesto on why on his Tumblr account.
Urban Meyer, Ohio State: Coming off the Tattoo For Memorabilia scandal and a 6-7 2011 season, there weren't a lot of expectations for Ohio State. Facing a bowl ban and ineligible for the conference championship, people wondered how Meyer was going to motivate what was one of the more underachieving teams in 2011. All Meyer did was guide OSU to only the sixth undefeated season is school history and a big win in his first game against Michigan, and this will be the first B1G team to finish undefeated since 2002. So should the rest of the Big Ten be worried? Maybe, maybe not. But at least he gets the Michigan rivalry.
So, who's your pick for coach of the year? One of these guys? Someone else?