The Big Ten has lost its last six Bowl Championship Series games by an average score of 17.3 points.
The Big Ten is 6-16 in bowl games over the same three-year period. The league won only one bowl last year in Iowa’s 31-10 thrashing of South Carolina in the Outback Bowl.
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany has not shied from controversy, especially when it relates to his conference’s bowl record. After a 2-5 bowl showing following the 2006 season, Delany took exception to a story that discussed the league’s lack of talent. He even wrote a letter on the league’s Web site that touted the Big Ten’s strengths against the Southeastern Conference.
When discussing the league’s potential for changing its bowl lineup, Delany said the league is almost at a disadvantage when playing bowl games from a geographic perspective.
“I know that from time to time people say you haven’t won enough bowl games,” he said. “Well, not everybody is playing Pac-10 champ in Pasadena. Not everybody is playing the SEC in Orlando and Orlando (Capital One and Champs) and formerly in Nashville (Music City). Not everybody is playing the Southwest Conference (former Big 12 teams) in Texas and Arizona. So it’s been part of our brand to play the best, and just let the chips fall where they may.”
Delany also said competition remains the key factor, not the final result, in picking bowl locations.
“I think opponents are almost one, and location two,” he said. “While these are away competitive locations, they’re not away in terms of where our alums have chosen to retire. They’re not away in terms of where recruiting advantages lie. They’re not away with regard to where our fans like to spend four or five days. But they are away competitively.
“Our teams are built for September and October and December, but they’re also built for late October and November. I think our teams have very good speed, whether or not they have the best speed that you might see in places where the game is always played in good weather.
“I think that if you look at NFL rosters, half of the NFL is played in cold weather, while the bowl games are not. There’s certainly a case to be made by anybody who’s playing for the Cleveland Browns, the Giants, the Patriots, the Packers, etc., on the value of playing in both weather climates.”
Big Ten officials will discuss the league’s bowl lineup this week in their annual meetings. Five of the league’s bowl contracts expire after the season. Those include the Capital One, Outback, Champs, Alamo and Motor City bowls. The league has four years remaining on contracts with the Rose and Insight bowls.