Yesterday afternoon, Michigan State trailed Georgia at halftime in the Outback Bowl, 16-0. But the Spartans stormed back, winning the game 33-30, after senior quarterback Kirk Cousins led a perfect game-tying drive to send the game into overtime.
Had it not been for Michigan State's thrilling win, the Big Ten would have gone 0-5 on the day. Penn State, Ohio State, Nebraska, and Wisconsin all lost.
In bowl games that took place before yesterday, the Big Ten was 2-2 with wins by Purdue and Illinois and losses by Iowa and Northwestern. So the Big Ten's overall record so far this season is 3-6. For a conference that picked up ten bowl invites, this record cannot be spun positively. To give you some comparison, the SEC is 4-2 and the Big 12 is 6-1.
So Michigan State's cross-state rival seems to be the Big Ten's next hope to salvage what has been a disappointing bowl season. Michigan, an at-large BCS bid, matches up with another at-large team, Virginia Tech, tonight, in this year's Sugar Bowl.
In Michigan head coach Brady Hoke's first season, he has led one of the surprise efforts in this year's college football season, as his squad won ten regular season games, losing only to Michigan State and Iowa. They are led by big-name dual-threat quarterback, Denard Robinson, who is known for late-game heroics (like his touchdown pass with two seconds left to beat Notre Dame on September 10).
The Wolverines will face an 11-win team, but one that many thought did not belong in the BCS after Clemson pounded the Hokies 38-10 in the ACC Championship. But Virginia Tech is coached by a veteran in Frank Beamer, and his team will certainly be out to prove they belong. The Big Ten will be counting on Michigan to establish some credibility for the conference in what has been a nightmarish 48 hours.