In the "Naked Gun" series, Lt. Frank Drebin famously warned in a boxing match, "Never bet on the white guy." When it comes to the bowl season, the "white guy" is the Big Ten.
The conference's bowl game futility has long been documented but was never more apparent than on New Year's Day, when teams from the Big Ten went 0-5. Foreshadowing the dreadful performance was the New Year's Eve free fall of the newest member of the Big Ten, Nebraska, a 19-7 loser to Washington, a team it had hammered earlier this year by 35 points.
There was no shame in Northwestern, minus injured quarterback Dan Persa, losing to Texas Tech 45-38 in the TicketCity Bowl. But what would Ohio State president Gordon Gee say about a Big Ten co-champion (Wisconsin) losing to one of the Little Sisters of the Poor (TCU) in the Rose Bowl 21-19?
Another Big Ten co-champion (Michigan State) was embarrassed by Alabama 49-7 in the Capital One Bowl, while Mississippi State bum-rushed Michigan 52-14 in the Gator Bowl, likely signaling the end of Rich Rodriguez's unfulfilling three seasons in Ann Arbor.
Penn State's 37-24 defeat at the hands of Florida hardly seemed a surprise considering it was administered by a team from the SEC, historically the most successful conference during the bowl season.
Since the 2003 season, the Big Ten has a 21-36 record in bowl games, while the SEC is 39-20. No other BCS conference is more than one game under .500 since 2003.