Big Ten Football Season Recap
It was a wild regular season in college football and the Big Ten was no exception.
Some teams far exceeded expectations, while others flopped. Here's a recap of all the action that went on in the Big Ten conference throughout the season.
Michigan overcomes Ohio State, rolls into the Playoff
It was a signature season for Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines. The maize and blue started the season unranked, but wasted little time in pushing its way up the polls.
Michigan opened the season 7-0, but after a loss to Michigan State the following week, the doubters returned for the Wolverines.
Four weeks later, Michigan defeated their archrival, Ohio State in “The Game” for the first time in the Harbaugh era. The following game, Michigan crushed Iowa to win their first Big Ten Championship game.
The Wolverines were rewarded by the College Football Playoff committee, who ranked them at No. 2. They’re now set for a CFP semifinal bout with No. 3 Georgia. Win or lose, it was a major success for Michigan in 2021.
Indiana, Penn State disappoint after preseason ranking
Coming into the season, the Indiana Hoosiers and the Penn State Nittany Lions were ranked No. 17 and No. 19, respectively, but come season’s end, neither even received a vote.
Penn State soared to No. 4 in the rankings after early season wins against ranked Wisconsin and Auburn teams, but the season went off the rails after that.
A close road loss against Iowa was followed by a nine-overtime loss to Illinois. Later losses to ranked Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State teams dropped Penn State to 7-5 after a 5-0 start.
It was overall a good season, but the Nittany Lions just couldn’t stack up with the conference elites in 2021.
Indiana had a much worse time, though. Its only two wins on the year were against Idaho and Western Kentucky.
In conference, the Hoosiers finished 0-9 and were outscored 316-94. It’s back to the drawing board for Indiana, who went from conference dark horse to conference punching bag.
Nine out of 14 teams make bowl games
As a whole, it was a very successful season for the Big Ten conference. Over half of the teams finished with six wins or above, and while only one squad can win the championship, others punched their tickets to some big-time bowl games.
Two teams from the East made it to New Year’s Six bowl games. No. 6 Ohio State will play in the Rose Bowl against the Pac-12 champion, Utah, and No. 10 Michigan State will meet ACC champion No. 12 Pittsburgh in the Peach Bowl.
There are other interesting matchups during bowl week, as well.
Iowa faces Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl, Penn State and Arkansas are set to meet in the Outback Bowl and Purdue taking on Tennessee in the Music City Bowl highlight some of the biggest games for Big Ten teams.
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