I wrote in an earlier post that Kirk Ferentz’s defense is disciplined and, boy, did it show it Tuesday night. In yet another great performance by a Big Ten team, Iowa dominated Georgia Tech to win the Orange Bowl.
What a year for the conference. After putzing around all season and looking quite pedestrian — against each other and against other conferences — the Big Ten showed up and shut me the hell up.
Their defenses were particularly impressive. Iowa and Wisconsin were just disciplined, smart and had no problem getting to the sides to shut down potential plays. And Ohio State’s defense wasn’t fooled at all by Oregon, which was the biggest surprised to me.
Best offensive player I saw among the Big Ten players in the bowl games? Easy, Terrelle Pryor of Ohio State. To start with, I didn’t realize how freakin’ big this guy was. He threw the ball down the field, made smart decisions and ran well. He didn’t appear to have blazing speed, but won every foot race. (Thanks in no small part to that amazing stiff arm.) He has so much potential still to tap, too! I’d like to see Jim Tressel cut him loose a little more. I’ll even watch the Ohio State beat up Marshall, Ohio U. and Eastern Michigan next year if Tressel will open the kid’s game up. Seriously, Pryor should be the nation’s most exciting player to watch — and he hasn’t been even close to that halfway (Ohio State fans hope) through his college career.
Best defensive player among the Big Ten teams players in the bowl games?
Another easy one: Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn, Orange Bowl MVP… and “ladies man,” according to this site. Good lord, this guy was a BEAST! He always seemed to be in the backfield. He showed so much spry and quickness getting to the edge to snuff out plays. He was energetic, excited, and had a hell of a read on Georgia Tech’s offensive game plan. And he’s coming back for his senior season! So, he will be traveling to the desert to take on Arizona… I’ll watch that one, too. 😉
I still have a Big Ten issue… maybe someone can help me with this. Next year, Ohio State doesn’t playNorthwestern. Iowa doesn’t play Purdue, etc. If Big Ten commissioner James Delaney is so concerned about “not being relevant” from Thanksgiving to Bowl season that he wants to add a freakin’ team, why don’t all the teams just play each other?!
Hey, that’s the complaint you’ll hear out of me, though… because the Big Ten gave me some great football to watch this winter.