Big Ten turns another BCS double play

Those of us who want the Big Ten to expand and add a championship game should understand the consequences, which played out again Sunday night.

The Big Ten once again is sending two teams to BCS bowls, marking the fifth consecutive season the league has had multiple BCS entries. No league has more BCS bowl participants than the Big Ten (21), and the Big Ten has sent two teams to the big bowls in nine of the 12 years since the BCS began.

Now we can certainly debate whether multiple BCS entries really helps the Big Ten, which consequently faces tougher postseason matchups in a bowl system that has several built-in disadvantages for the league. But from a financial and a competitive standpoint, the current setup certainly benefits Jim Delany and the conference.

I can assure you if the Big Ten expanded and held a championship game, you wouldn't see multiple BCS entries as often.

A few more Big Ten-related BCS/bowl nuggets, courtesy of the league office:

  • Seven conference programs have taken part in a BCS contest: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin.

  • The Big Ten is sending at least seven teams to bowl games for the fifth straight season, the longest streak in conference history. The Big Ten's seven bowl berths in 2009 rank as the second-highest single-season total in conference annals, behind only the eight bowl bids earned following the 2003 and 2007 campaigns. The conference also qualified seven schools for postseason play after the 1993, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2008 seasons.

  • Ohio State is the only FBS program to qualify for eight BCS games in the 12-year history of the system. Oklahoma and USC rank second with seven BCS trips each.

  • After making only one bowl trip in its first century of college football, Northwestern will be appearing in its seventh bowl since the 1995 season.

  • Wisconsin will take part in a program-record eighth straight bowl game, breaking the previous record of five consecutive bowl bids set from 1996-2000.

seven conference programs have taken part in a BCS contest, including Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin.