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Penn State, upsets highlight Big Ten's regular-season superlatives

With bowl season still more than a couple of weeks away for the Big Ten, it's time to look back on some of the superlatives from a wildly entertaining regular season:

Best game: Ohio State 30, Michigan 27, in double OT, on Nov. 26. They'll be talking about -- and debating -- this one for years to come, and it will be in heavy rotation on the classic replay channels. It had a little of everything: two top-five teams, the first-ever overtime game in the history of this legendary series, controversial calls, coaching outbursts, a last-second field goal in regulation and a touchdown by Curtis Samuel on the final play. This game, more than anything, encapsulated 2016 in the Big Ten.

Best play: Penn State's blocked field goal against Ohio State and Grant Haley's touchdown return that led to a 24-21 Nittany Lions victory. With the way the Buckeyes' defense had been playing, it's questionable if Penn State could have driven the field and scored without a special-teams play like that. Few figured that night that the Nittany Lions would go on to win the Big Ten championship, but this was the catalyst.

Best moment(s): Nebraska lined up for its first punt in the season opener against Fresno State with only 10 men on the field, a tribute to the late Sam Foltz. He and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler were killed in a car accident this summer, and the season-long tributes to both all season were touching. Michigan State had Sadler's number painted at midfield. Opposing teams placed flowers on the yard lines associated with Foltz's number. The Big Ten used a coin with Sadler on one side and Foltz on the other, and the families of both punters came out for the coin toss at the Big Ten championship game.

Biggest upset: Iowa's 14-13 home win over Michigan did more to shake up the Big Ten race than anything. Only a week before, the Hawkeyes got hammered 41-14 by Penn State to fall to 5-4 on the season. Michigan opened as an 18.5-point favorite going into Kinnick Stadium. Keith Duncan's field goal as time expired helped ensure that Penn State would win the tiebreaker in the Big Ten East Division.

Biggest surprise: Penn State, hands down. The Nittany Lions were picked to finish fourth in the East in the preseason, and by late September athletic director Sandy Barbour had to shoot down rumors that James Franklin was on the hot seat. No one saw a Big Ten title -- and almost a playoff bid -- coming this year.

Biggest disappointment: Michigan State. A step back was expected, given the loss of so many star players from 2015. But 3-9, with just one Big Ten win? Unfathomable. Mark Dantonio suddenly has a lot of rebuilding to do, and in the brutal Big Ten East, it won't be easy to get back to the top.

Best catch (tie): It's too close to call between Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis' one-handed interception that sealed the win over Wisconsin or Ohio State wideout Noah Brown's one-handed, against-the-back-of-an-Oklahoma-defender grab for a touchdown. Who needs two arms, anyway?

Worst performance: In four games against Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State, Rutgers lost by a combined score of 224-0. Maryland didn't fare much better against the top dogs, losing to Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State by a combined margin of 159-20. Conspiracy theory: The Big Ten secretly hoped to prop up its brand-name teams by adding the Scarlet Knights and Terrapins in 2014.