How did the regular season end for everyone? Some went with a bang, and some went with a whimper.
Iowa 38 - Nebraska 17
The Iowa defense held Ameer Abdullah to less than 100 yards, and they did it on Nebraska's home field. That's more than a little impressive. This article from Black Heart Gold Pants points out that Nebraska had the statistical advantage in some offensive categories, but the Hawkeyes still came away with the win.
In addition to the stats discussed above, Corn Nation has a report card on the performance, and it's not a very good one. When asked about the possibility of being terminated, Bo Pelini's response was, "...go ahead." The folks at CN debate Pelini's future, and then discuss Shawn Eichorst's statement of support for Pelini, and they also include Pelini's statement of thanks and apologies. What a nice little mess down there in Lincoln.
Michigan State 14 - Minnesota 3
Chris Vannini: "MSU defeated Minnesota 14-3 in a game that was never really all that close." Read his full recap here. I guess a score of 14-3 is kinda like comparing earthquakes on the Richter scale. Sure, the difference between a 5.0 and a 6.0 looks small, but the actual order of magnitude is something like the 6 is 10 times more powerful than the 5. So I guess Michigan State grades the margin of victory based on the Richter scale. However, if you look at the stats, it wasn't as far apart as The Only Colors would have us believe. As for the Gophers, hey, they didn't score a TD in this game, but look at what they've done in the last couple of weeks. Hanging with two of the best teams in the B1G should make everyone in the B1G take notice that Jerry Kill and his staff are bringing some true respectability to Minneapolis--also consider the wins against Nebraska and Penn State (this one looking pretty frickin' good after PSU beat Sconnie). Check out some words over at The Daily Gopher.
Indiana 56 - Purdue 36
Indiana's porous defense was just good enough to hold off the Purdue Boilermakers to get what should have been their sixth win of the season, but is only number five. Although The Crimson Quarry is happy with the win, they aren't exactly pleased with all aspects of the Hoosiers' performance. For the Boilermakers, Danny Etling's 485 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions were the highlight. A ray of light for this team was also sophomore WR Danny Anthrop's 151 receiving yards, freshman receiver DeAngelo Yancey's 125 yards, and Ricardo Allen's two INTs. Those bright spots aside, this is Purdue's worst season ever.
Northwestern 37 - Illinois 34
560 total yards + 414 passing from Trevor Siemian + 0 turnovers = 1 B1G win...and a hat. Congratulations on not losing to Illinois. The Illini's Nathan Scheelhaase threw for 307 yards and ended his career as probably the most under-appreciated players in Illinois history. Tom Fornelli writes a brief season recap in which he has a sense of optimism for 2014. Can there be optimism with Tim Beckman returning, though?
Penn State 31 - Wisconsin 24
The stats show a pretty even game, until you get down to the turnovers, that is. Joel Stave threw three interceptions in the second half, and Penn State didn't turn the ball over once. The Lions played so well that Black Shoe Diaries gives the season's final MVP award to the coaching staff. Elsewhere at BSD, Cari goes over the present and future of Penn State football and, as she says, screams her love for the world. Wisconsin was held without a 100 yard rusher in what seemed like forever, and that's about all you need to know. But, if you are interested in what the Badgers think, you can read Nick Korger's recap, and all the other coverage at Bucky's 5th Quarter.
Ohio State 42 - Michigan 41
That was the first loss I've been present for in two years, and it was also the best loss I've ever seen. I hated the two point conversion attempt at first, but changed my mind when I watched the game at home on Sunday. The team was aggressive and wanted to make a statement, and did so even in defeat. This piece at LGHL even agrees that the game was as good as ever. But, if you really want to know about this game, read Fouad, Zach, and Anthony.
It was a tough season all the way around for the B1G. There were some good games, some great games, and plenty of stuff that was hard to watch. The main thing to take away from our favorite conference is that it was full of promise and frustration. But, we still watch; still cheer; still cry. And those of us that are Michigan fans will still (and always) bleed the Maize and Blue.