Big Ten Fun Facts: It's a 7-team race for the league football title (yeah, right)

Mike Hlas
Published: November 17 2010 | 8:11 pm - Updated: 31 March 2014 | 8:36 am in
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Besides co-leaders Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin (all 5-1), teams still mathematically in the hunt for the Big Ten football championship are 4-2 Iowa, 3-3 Michigan, 3-3 Northwestern and 3-3 Penn State.

If Michigan State defeats Purdue Saturday in an 11 a.m. (Central) game in East Lansing, goodbye Wolverines, Wildcats and Nittany Lions.

OK, that wasn't much of a Fun Fact. How about:

Wisconsin's 83 points against Indiana last week was the most by a team in a Big Ten league game since Ohio State scored 83 against Iowa in 1950. The record-high? Michigan, in its 107-0 triumph over the Hawkeyes in 1902.

The Penn State-Indiana game in Landover, Md., Saturday, will be the farthest both Big Ten teams have traveled for a neutral site-game since Michigan State played Wisconsin in Tokyo in 1993. It kind of boggles my mind those two schools did that. I wonder if it was worth it. For anyone.

Seven Big Ten teams are bowl-eligible. No Big East teams are bowl-eligible. But both leagues are assured just one spot in BCS bowls. Woe be to the bowl game saddled with the Big East champion.

I've heard it said Ohio State winning a sixth-straight Big Ten title this year would be unprecedented, but the Buckeyes did it each year from 1972 through 1977. Iowa has won two straight league titles once, in 1921 and 1922. Northwestern did it in 1995 and 1996. Name the three league schools that have never won back-to-back football championships.

Purdue, Indiana and ... Penn State.

Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan recently broke the conference's mark for most forced fumbles in a career with 14. He had been tied with Illinois' Simeon Rice and Iowa's Bob Sanders.

If Iowa does make a fourth Outback Bowl appearance next Jan. 1, rest assured, Hawkeye fans. Or rather, you'll get more rest. The game no longer starts at 10 a.m., Central. It's now at noon, Central, directly opposite the Capital One Bowl.

Weirdly, the Cap One is on ESPN though it features higher-ranked teams, while the Outback is on ABC.

This is the 25th-anniversary game for Tampa's Outback Bowl. ABC will send Monday Night Football heavy-hitters Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden to do the play-by-play and color. Gruden, of course, coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their lone Super Bowl title.

Fun Facts, ladies and gentlemen!

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