Best Conference Ever: 2011 Big Ten Football Review

Best Conference Ever: 2011 Big Ten Football Review

In the middle of writing my football season review, I came across this multiple-page football review done by The statistics and stories I read in the report were too interesting not to share; however, I read through the entire story so you wouldn’t have to and I picked out the main points and statistics worth noting from the 2011 season. If you didn’t think the Big Ten was an elite football conference already; this might change your mind. Enjoy!

• Big Ten teams win four bowl games and 10 bowls over last three seasons
• Big Ten leads all conferences with seven bowl wins over BCS top-16 teams the last three seasons
• Nine different current Big Ten teams have won at least one bowl game in the last three seasons
• Big Ten one of two conferences with three top-12 teams in final national polls
• Big Ten leads all conferences with seven Academic All-Americans
• Wisconsin earns second straight Big Ten Championship by winning inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game
• Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin end season with 11 wins
• Four Big Ten players set conference single-season records, including three NCAA records
• Big Ten breaks six-million mark in attendance for first time


Ten Bowl Wins in Three Seasons: The Big Ten has won 10 bowl games over the last three seasons. The last time the conference produced 10 or more postseason victories over a three-year span was when Big Ten squads claimed 11 bowl wins after the 2002, 2003 and 2004 seasons.





Another BCS Win: The Big Ten earned another BCS win this season with Michigan’s victory in the Sugar Bowl. The Big Ten is now 3-2 in BCS games over the last three seasons. The Big Ten is one of only two conferences to win at least three BCS games the last three years, ranking second only to the SEC’s four BCS victories. The Big Ten and SEC are the only conferences with three different teams earning BCS triumphs the last three seasons. The Big Ten now has 11 BCS victories since the system’s inception in 1998, ranking second to the SEC (16).

Playing the Best: The Big Ten also led all conferences with five bowl games against teams ranked among the top-16 in the final BCS standings. The Pac-12 faced four BCS top-16 schools, followed by the SEC (three), Big 12 (two), ACC (one) and Big East (one). Over the last three seasons, the Big Ten leads all conferences with 12 bowl games against BCS top-16 teams, followed by the SEC (10), Pac-12 (9), ACC (5) and Big 12 (4).
Beating the Best: Despite the challenging bowl slate, the Big Ten boasts seven of the 20 postseason victories over BCS top-16 teams over the last three seasons, more than any other conference. The SEC ranks second to the Big Ten with six triumphs over BCS top-16 squads the last three years, while no other conference has produced more than two BCS top-16 victories during that span. Big Ten wins over BCS top-16 teams include four after the 2009 season (Iowa defeated No. 9 Georgia Tech, Ohio State defeated No. 7 Oregon, Penn State defeated No. 12 LSU, Wisconsin defeated No. 15 Miami-Fla.), one victory after the 2010 campaign (Iowa defeated No. 12 Missouri) and two this season (Michigan defeated No. 11 Virginia Tech, Michigan State defeated No. 16 Georgia).

BCS Duos:  For the 10th time in the 14-year history of the BCS, and the eighth time in the last 10 seasons, two Big Ten teams played in BCS games this postseason. Wisconsin was edged by Pac-12 Champion Oregon in the Rose Bowl Game, while Michigan defeated Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. Since the inception of the BCS in 1998, the Big Ten has qualified 24 teams for BCS bowls, more than any other conference. The SEC ranks second with 23 BCS bids, followed by the Big 12 (19), Pac-12 (18), ACC (15) and Big East (14).

BCS Victors:  Only 15 schools have produced multiple BCS wins, and the Big Ten boasts three of those programs in Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin.


Big Ten Polling Place: With bowl season now complete, the Big Ten and SEC were the only conferences to feature at least three top 12 teams in both the final Associated Press (AP) and USA Today coaches polls.

The 11-Win Club: Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin each ended the season with 11 victories, the second time in three seasons the conference has boasted at least three teams with double-digit triumphs. The Wolverines reached the 10-wins mark for the first time since going 11-2 in 2006. The Spartans produced back-to-back seasons with 10 or more wins for the first time in program history and their 11 victories each of the last two campaigns are the most single-season wins in school history. The Badgers reached the 11-win plateau for the fourth time in school history, including 11 victories each of the last two seasons and 1998 and a program-record 12 wins in 2006.

The Rarity of 11-Win Trios: After becoming the first conference among the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC to produce three teams with 11 or more wins in 2006, the Big Ten duplicated that accomplishment in 2009 and 2011. Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin each produced 11 wins this season. Iowa, Ohio State and Penn State each posted identical 11-2 records in 2009. In 2006, the Buckeyes and Badgers ended the year at 12-1 while the Wolverines posted an 11-2 mark. The only other conferences to boast three or more schools with 11 or more wins in a single season are the Big 12 (2007 and 2008) and SEC (2011).

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