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Top Ten Tuesdays: Greatest B1G Moments of 2011

Joe Cocker - With a little help from my friends (via layziebone187)

If you missed my introduction to Top Ten Tuesdays last week, go ahead and click here. It more or less explains the goal of this piece each week. Last week, I wanted everyone to get a good feel for who I am as a sports fan, and it was a lot of fun hearing (reading?) everyone's best moments. That is really one of my favorite topics as it will always be a diverse list and will always spur on the, "Oh yeah, I totally remember that," comment.

As for this week, I was thinking we should steer things back to football. It feels like the past couple of weeks have been pretty much everything but Big Ten football and since Off Tackle Empire is The quintessential Big Ten Smoking Room, it is definitely appropriate that I get back into the mood for some football! With that in mind, I wanted to kick off what will probably be a string of Top Ten lists that will highlight some of the great people, places, and things from 2011 and look forward to 2012. I might throw in some of my other favorites into the mix just to throw everyone off, but hopefully this gets us all excited for the fact that football is actually just over the horizon. So with no further adieu, here are my (with a little help from my friends) Best B1G Moments of 2011.

Honorable Mention: Marqueis Gray leads Minnesota to the win over Iowa with a 4th Quarter Comeback

This really should have cracked my Top Ten, and I wanted to talk about it because it was awesome. Minnesota was being discussed as worst team ever up to this point and while things were definitely looking up, it wasn't quite there. Gray ends up leading Minnesota down the field for the win and BHGP has an aneurism trying to understand how it all happened. Floyd stays in Minny for another year.

10. Kirk Cousins leads a Tying Drive in the Outback bowl:

This game was awesome. I was watching and doing the whole open thread thing all day and it looked really dire in the beginning. I just remember all the Big Ten fans were just really sick of bad performances against the SEC (and then Nebraska did what they did). Sparty had finally gotten the lead when Georgia storms down the field and takes advantage of the missed 2-pt conversion by Michigan State. So what does Cousins do? He puts the team on his shoulders, passes for a bunch of yards and makes a ridiculous scramble and ties it up with 15 seconds or so. In OT he almost blew it, but Sparty holds on and gets a bunch of good press going into this year.

9. BJ Lowery breaks up Denard's fourth try to score from the 3 yard line and Iowa upsets Michigan

That pretty much sums that entire game in a sentence. It was back and forth and Iowa did what they needed to on defense. With the homecrowd all sorts of pumped up for the game and a great defensive push at the end, Iowa showed the world why Iowa City is as difficult a stadium as any to play in.

8. Hope eschews normal kickoffs

With a fancy new contract extension and the reality that this was the Pizza Bowl against Western Michigan, Coach Hope called for two onside kicks resulting in recoveries. He would later go on to say he had called for three, but Western Michigan finally looked ready for it. In what turned out to be one of the most entertaining, and most pathetic, games of the bowl season, Purdue wins 37-32.

7. Kain Colter Supermans Nebraska

This game sucked for Husker fans, made Northwestern fans feel like the season wasn't a waste, and got pretty much the rest of the Big Ten nodding. Nebraska was at home against a team it thought was inferior and got Colter'd. Early in the 3rd Quarter, Kain Colter is on a QB bootleg and at first it looks like he was stopped short of the endzone. Replays proved he was not and Northwestern is well on their way to victory.

6. Scheelhaase Colters Northwestern

I have to remind Northwestern of their year with this one. After Colter made an amazing drive down the field to put the Wildcats up with 1:15 left, Scheelhaase went to work. A long drive resulted in a TD and Northwestern was left to wonder what just hit them. (Not really, the lack of a secondary was what hit them.)

5. Illinois misses a FG against Penn State

This was a terrible game. The field was terrible, the offenses (if you can call them that) were abysmal, and the first (and only) TD was scored with very little time in the fourth. Despite all that, Illinois had a chance to keep JoePa on the raw end of the NCAA Victories record. As all of Penn State watched, the FG hit the uprights and fell harmlessly to the ground. Game over.

4. Lavonte David asks Braxton Miller for the ball, and takes it anyways

This started out as the worst game ever for me as a Husker fan. With the potential to be 0-2 in conference play with the chance to be worked over even more probable, things were bleak. Then Lavonte "all-I-do-is-win" David takes the ball from Braxton Miller sparking what would be the largest comeback in Husker history. So that's fun.

3. Michigan and Notre Dame pretends defense doesn't exist

It was the first night game at the Big House and Michigan finally managed to complete the comeback. With a little under 90 seconds, Denard throws a strike to answer and surpass the Notre Dame Touchdown that had just happened. Then Michigan's defense lost the game for them as they pretty much decided covering receivers was the most overrated thing ever. Of course, then the Irish did the same thing and Michigan wins a thriller. Fun game for sure, but man was that 4th Quarter defense awful.

2. Braxton Miller drops Bombs

Similar to the Notre Dame-Michigan game, 28 points were scored in 6 minutes and it all came down to the last possession. Unlike what comes next, this game wasn't quite a Hail Mary so much as it was a NCAA 13 Four Verticals pattern. Devin Smith hauls in the long bomb and Wisconsin goes from fringe National Title Contender to must-win-out for the division.

1. Sparty-Bucky I and II

I am cheating a bit and kind of lumping in all the moments of both games into this one spot. A) Because it's my column and I can do what I want and B) Because there are so many awesome moments in this that we could probably fill up the entire Top Ten Tuesday just on these plays. The most important ones?

-Cousins to Nichols in Part I for the Hail Mary Pass that Landed

Be real with me Bucky fans. How many are still bitter that happened? How many angles did you look at again? I have said it before, but as a Buffalo Bills fan, I know how crazy a person can go looking at if a ball crosses a plane (rather, if a ball was thrown forward or backwards... this is probably a good point to say that the Titans suck). That was just one heck of a pass and catch, though. Perfect execution on offense.

-Cousins to Nichols to Cunningham in Part II

Let me give you Graham's description, "So quick, so surprising, such a genius move...everything we love about football." And he's right. It was a beautiful play. Unfortunately for Sparty...

-Running into the Kicker

Why go for the block? Your offense was humming, you had time, and you know to always jump sideways. Who cares if Mr. Kickerman is Mr. Flops-a-lot? You don't even get into a place where an official can make that call.

So what did I miss this week?