Tracing the exact moment the Big Ten went from revered to reviled, from front-line to “punch line” (Kirk Herbstreit’s term) is surprisingly easy.
It occurred in the second half of the 2007 Rose Bowl, when USC’s John David Booty fired four touchdown passes to decimate Michigan 32-18.
A week later, after Ohio State had treated the Bowl Championship Series title game as if it were an afternoon siesta in a 41-14 loss to Florida, you could almost hear college football fans roll their eyes.
For weeks they had heard pundits say that in the wake of top-ranked Ohio State’s colossal 42-39 victory over No. 2 Michigan, these Midwestern pillars were still the nation’s two best teams. Oh, really?