Colleague Mark Schlabach writes today about the Big Ten's need for a strong postseason showing after last season's New Year's Day debacle and a year marred by scandals at both Ohio State and Penn State.
With those two scandals commanding the country's attention for much of the season, the Big Ten can't wait to put the 2011 campaign in its rearview mirror.
"I think it was a difficult season in part because of the Penn State situation," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told The Associated Press in late November. "It was an unprecedented situation. It took everyone's attention and was very hard on everybody. On the field, it's been a good year, not a great year."
"I think it was difficult at Ohio State, too, a different kind of difficulty with NCAA regulations in not only self-disclosing, but self-reporting," Delany said. "I think they are very different cases. But there's no doubt that both of those were clouds."
Through a Big Ten spokesman, Delany declined to be interviewed for this story.
If the dark clouds are, indeed, going to begin to part for the Big Ten, its teams need to reverse their recent performances in the postseason.
Click here to read Schlabach's entire column on the Big Ten and the bowls.