No offense to Virginia Tech, which played exceptionally well on the night and deserves all of the praise that will be heaped on it, but this is all about the Hokies putting the finishing touches on an embarrassing day for the Big Ten, one that will likely be on the conference’s 2014 playoff tombstone.
The unranked Hokies’ 35-21 victory over home-standing No. 8 Ohio State — in front of a national television audience — put an exclamation point on a day in which the Big Ten went a collectively woeful 8-5. Where was the carnage? Let me count the ways.
— Ohio State trailed 21-7, climbed back to tie it at 21-all, then watched as Virginia Tech scored 14 fourth-quarter points to win going away. Redshirt freshman T.J. Barrett had an abysmal night, throwing up three interceptions in completing 31 percent of his passes and absorbing seven sacks, six of which came in the fourth quarter.
— After jumping out to a 27-18 lead on Oregon, Michigan State was helpless and powerless as the Ducks scored the final 28 points of the game to claim the nationally-televised 19-point win.
— Michigan was just flat-out embarrassed in front of, again, a national television audience as Notre Dame ran over, through, around and, for good measure, over the Wolverines again in a 31-0 drubbing that, for the time being, ends the rivalry between the programs.
— Two Big Ten teams lost to MAC schools, with Northwestern falling to Northern Illinois and Purdue drubbed by Central Michigan. The Big Ten has now lost 18 games to that conference over the last nine years.
Even in victory, there was nary a good look for the conference.
— Nebraska needed a miracle with 20 seconds left to beat FCS-level McNeese State in Lincoln.
— Wisconsin was up on FCS-level Western Illinois just 2-0 until late in the second quarter.
— Iowa was trailing the MAC’s Ball State 13-3 late in the fourth quarter before scoring two touchdowns in a span of 1:52 with under three minutes remaining to steal what was an undeserved win.
It was, simply put, a lost Saturday for a conference that desperately needed the exact opposite. And, in the process, it all but assured that, when it comes time for the College Football Playoff committee to select its field, the Big Ten won’t have a chair at the four-seat table.
As today proved, that would be a well-deserved fate.