During this Bowl Season, the Big Ten will be reminded of a couple horrendous realizations, even worse than the typical horrible realizations we deal with during this time of year. First of all, we're going into Bowl Season battle without some of our best stuff, as OSU and PSU sit home. Second, the most optimistic of optimistic folks take a look at the available B1G matchups and shudder. Finally, some philosophical dread can be added to the list because really, who cares if we win a bunch of games, the B1G has been shut out of meaningful bowl games again and so maybe it'd just be better if we found that six pack of Bells and went to town, instead of expending any energy watching Big Ten football this postseason.
But hey, I digress and I will be watching every game involving Big Ten teams and screaming pleading praying please, let us get to three wins as a conference. Here's why:
I made a crack at NW earlier this year, claiming they had different expectations than the rest of the conference. I was brought back to earth by the Northwestern commentators, who claimed they do in fact expect to win the Big Ten conference some years and are not completely mollified by the small-program success enjoyed by The Wizard of Evanston. A bowl win in a completely winnable game would end that horrible streak of bowl losses. Could a win also psychologically spur Northwestern into thinking that a higher B1G echelon isn't far away?
Michigan has a top notch recruiting class on the way and a coaching staff that has seemingly earned the confidence of the fan base (definitely on the defense side of the ball). A consecutive win streak in bowl games, something not done since 2001, would further solidify the dedication of the faithful. And no matter how you feel about Michigan, you cannot deny that a successful effort by the matte'd winged helmets on national television is good for the conference. But why does that matter?
The jockeying for spots in the 2014 BCS playoff has already began. A consistently weak Big Ten will make it harder for, say, a 12-1 Big Ten Champion Ohio State to make it in the BCS 4 team playoff. Even more painful would be seeing a 13-0 B1G team invited and a deserving 11-1 B1G team left out because perception of the conference is so weak. "How could the Big Ten have two of the nations top 4 teams??!"
Sure, this is forward and future thinking, but continual failure on a national level will be even more painful when the national championship playoff actually could involve B1G teams, and doesn't because of SOS and voter disrespect.
So please, B1G, give me something, anything to work with this Bowl Season. Give me a surprising win, a shocking individual performance, something to keep the national naysayers at bay, something to stop Ted from writing a "new years day massacre" post, something that doesn't further damage our national reputation, something that won't crush our BCS title hopes in future years.