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Is B1G In-Conference Football Exciting in 2014?

Lots of blowouts, but some bright spots

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

How is your Big Ten Football experience this year?

Every Saturday morning, I pull up the B1G football schedule for the day and I scroll through the schedule, seeing how many games I have to DVr. Sometimes I find myself looking at the matchups and think, well, I assume that's going to be a boring game, so no need to record it. Other times, I know it's going to be a good one (ranked v ranked), or at least I know the teams will be competitive with each other.

So let's take a look at a couple benchmarks for excitement, see how we come out.


#19 Nebraska 22, #10 Michigan State 27

Slow grinding beatdown for three quarters, until Nebraska made a monster comeback in the fourth quarter.

#14 Ohio State 49, #8 Michigan State 37

Amazing atmosphere, seven thousand yards of total offense, Big 12 defensive play...Great game. For everyone except MSU fans.

#8 OSU 31, #25 Minnesota 24

Snowed the whole game, which is the most Midwestern thing ever. Featured JT Barrett breaking all the records and a Minnesota comeback, along with some big plays. Thoroughly enjoyable game to watch.

#16 Nebraska 24, #20 Wisconsin 59

Melvin Gordon. Quite a beatdown. Made all the SportsCenters.

So overall, the B1G's ranked v ranked games have been super exciting, featuring comebacks and amazing individual performances. The only issue is there have been so few ranked v. ranked games. Wisconsin skips OSU and MSU this year in the regular season...which of course they do.


Were all the in-conf games blowouts? Was this B1G conf schedule packed with games coming down to the wire?

42 B1G Conference games have been played this year. Using the benchmark of 21+ point differential as a "blowout", 18 of those games were "blowouts". So 41% of in-conference B1G games ended in blowouts. That seems high? This was the year of the Purdue and Illinois' of the world losing by 40 to the OSU's of the world.

This was probably not the year of the...


Wisconsin losing to Northwestern continues to look like the biggest upset of the year. Illinois over Minnesota too, because, you know, Illinois football and nice things...Purdue won a game, which was nice, and played MSU close to the fourth, which was amazing, and a huge upset in itself.

But that's it. 90% of the time, big dog team wins. We'll see what the last three weeks bring.


What these metrics don't really speak too, of course, is that close games and ranked teams are only part of the story. My tailgating game has been off the charts this year; great people, great food. I watch football from the most comfortable couch I've ever owned. These are positives.

Still, it would be nice to have a few more competitive matchups between decent squads, something like a a #20 ranked Michigan team playing for a prime bowl spot against an enigmatic Maryland offense...Instead of a playing-for-pride Wolverine squad versus an injury-riddled Maryland squad. We will see what the future brings.