PASADENA, Calif. — After scoring 49 points in the second and third quarters to take a commanding lead over USC in the Rose Bowl, Penn State was outscored 17-0 in the final 15 minutes as a microcosm of the postseason for teams in the Big Ten East division.
It started the day after Christmas, with Maryland falling to Boston College 36-30 in the Quick Lane Bowl. Indiana followed that up on Dec. 28 with a 26-24 loss to Utah in the Foster Farms Bowl.
The Michigan Wolverines put forth a more valiant effort, falling to Florida State 33-32 in the Orange Bowl. Michigan’s three losses on the season have come by a combined five points. They also battled without star safety Jabrill Peppers due to a hamstring injury and lost tight end Jake Butt to a knee injury.
That didn’t stop Ohio State from getting blown out by Clemson 31-0 in the national semifinals of the Playstation Fiesta Bowl. A lot was made about the Buckeyes being so highly-touted by college football analysts despite not playing for a conference championship. For head coach Urban Meyer, it was the first time any of his teams have been shut out in 194 games. Ohio State was last blanked by Michigan in 1993. The aftermath of their bowl game loss has resulted in news OSU’s quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Tim Beck is leaving for Texas.
While Ohio State enters the offseason looking to fill a coaching vacancy, analyst Kirk Herbstreit still believes Penn State will remain in the top five of college football during next season’s first set of rankings.
The Big Ten West didn’t exactly dominate its opponents in bowl games either, but they five teams with games went a combined 3-2:
- Minnesota 17, Washington State 12 (National Funding Holday Bowl)
- Northwestern 31, Pittsburgh 24 (New Era Pinstripe Bowl)
- Tennessee 38, Nebraska 24 (Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl)
- Wisconsin 24, Western Michigan 16 (Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic)
- Florida 30, Iowa 3 (Outback Bowl)