At the end of September, Penn State Football appeared ripe for mediocrity. One blocked kick against Ohio State brought them back to the surface of national relevancy. One blocked kick returned for a touchdown that toppled the potentate of the Big Ten launched Penn State into the conference title game where Wisconsin was waiting.
Indianapolis has been a familiar spot for the Badgers and it undoubtedly will be the same way for Ohio State in the future. Wisconsin arrived making its third appearance in the Big Ten title in four years. The Buckeyes were looking at capturing what slipped through their fingers in last year’s loss to Michigan State. But, the stakes were higher as a college football playoff spot was also in the cards for OSU.
Coming off two straight overtime losses to the ineligible teams ahead of them in the standings, Wisconsin backed into the B1G championship game with an deceptive, but still disconcerting 7-5 record. It was a little like seeing Pig Pen attend a White House state dinner. Nebraska packed their never-give-up attitude to Indianapolis that put them one win away from their first conference title since the late 1990s.
Last year’s inaugural B1G Championship was novel. Sold out. Wild. Badgers won a thriller.
October 22, 2011. An undefeated group of Badgers invade East Lansing with aspirations of a national championship in sight. Michigan State is still feeling short changed from defeating Wisconsin last year, yet still being shut out of the Rose Bowl due to three way tie breaker rules. The Badgers got the nod. On this marquis prime time matchup, the Spartans stun the visiting Badgers with a heart stopping Hail Mary pass that landed in the arms of a Spartan receiver as time expired. “Redemption” became the word plastered all over MSU tshirts and general conversation. I couldn’t help but think – well, what if these two teams meet again in the title game?