After a loss to UCLA in early September, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini started to feel the temperature on his seat increase by a few degrees. However, the Cornhuskers rebounded by winning three games – albeit against overmatched opponents – and had some momentum going into a road date at Minnesota.
But any momentum Nebraska had was lost on Saturday, as the Cornhuskers lost 34-23 to the Golden Gophers.
When we sit down to iron out our Top 25 Poll each year at Athlon Sports, we are trying to project the final year-end standings not build a preseason power poll. It might be a small and subtle difference but an important one to acknowledge.
It was a good regular season in 2016 for the Big Ten, but the conference came up short in its three biggest bowl games. Ohio State proved to be no match for Clemson in the College Football Playoff while Penn State (Rose Bowl) and Michigan (Orange Bowl) lost close matchups.
In 2012, the SEC’s perceived dominance over the rest of college football was an unquestioned fact of life in the sport. Five years later, the conference with the most money, most fertile recruiting base and most passionate following looks like a shadow of its best self, reduced to Alabama and the 13 Dwarves. What the heck happened?
Ohio State is still Ohio State. Even after a 31-point decimation at the hands of eventual national champion Clemson, the Buckeyes are still the class of the Big Ten. But maybe they’re no longer alone: After all, Penn State beat OSU and captured the conference championship plus a Rose Bowl berth last season.