For the men's and women's basketball tournaments, see Big Ten Conference Men's Basketball Tournament and Big Ten Conference Women's Basketball Tournament.
Big Ten Football Championship Game
Sport Football
Conference Big Ten Conference
Current stadium Lucas Oil Stadium
Current location Indianapolis, Indiana
Played 2
Last contest 2012
Current champion Wisconsin
Most championships Wisconsin: 2
TV partner(s) FOX Sports (2011–2016)
Official website BigTen.org
Sponsors
Dr. Pepper

The Big Ten Football Championship Game is a college football game that is held by the Big Ten Conference each year to determine the conference's season champion. The inaugural game was played on December 3, 2011. The games during the next two seasons will be held on December 1, 2012, and December 7, 2013.[1] The championship game will pit the division champions from the conference's Legends and Leaders divisions in a game held after the regular season has been completed.

The winner of this game will earn the Big Ten's automatic berth in the Rose Bowl Game, unless the team finishes in the top two of the final Bowl Championship Series standings. If this is the case, the team will compete in the BCS National Championship Game. The winner of this game will also receive the Stagg Championship Trophy (formerly the Stagg-Paterno Championship Trophy[2]), and the most valuable player of this game will receive the Grange-Griffin Championship Game Most Valuable Player Trophy.

On June 6, 2011, the conference announced that Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis will host the title game beginning in 2011, going through 2015.

As of 2012, both Big Ten Championship games were won by the Wisconsin Badgers.

History[edit | edit source]

Prior to the 2011 college football season, the Big Ten Conference determined its champion through regular season play, and, as there were only 11 member schools, there was no possibility for a conference championship game because the NCAA requires (for holding a conference championship game) that the conference have 12 teams with two divisions.

In 2010, the Big Ten Conference added the University of Nebraska, bringing the membership total to 12 teams. Thus, the conference was able to meet NCAA requirements. On August 5, 2010 Big Ten Conference Commissioner James Delany announced Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis had been chosen as the possible site for the inaugural championship game. The league office began a 30-day period to negotiate a one-year agreement with Indiana Sports Corp and Lucas Oil Stadium to host the game. Delany also announced that once the 2011 agreement was in place, the conference office would conduct a thorough process over the next year to determine the location of the Big Ten Football Championship Game in 2012 and beyond.[3]

On November 17, 2010, the Big Ten Conference announced a media agreement with FOX Sports to serve as the official broadcast partner for the 2011-16 Big Ten Football Championship Games. A source at the time stated that the six-year agreement with FOX Sports would be worth between $20–$25 million per season, making it one of the most valuable conference championship games in college football.[4] In the league's press release, it was confirmed that the 2011 event will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. The events will be played in prime time. Because FOX is a majority partner in the Big Ten Network,[5] this may allow for the possibility of more involvement by the Big Ten Network in the event, including the use of Big Ten Network staff in the game coverage.[6]

Commissioner Delany also stated at that time that the Big Ten would strongly consider rotating the site of the game, mentioning other possible host cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, Green Bay, and Cleveland.[7]

Conference expansion[edit | edit source]

The Big Ten expanded to 11 schools by adding Penn State in 1990,[8] but this did not yet meet the NCAA's requirements for holding a conference championship game (that the conference have 12 teams with two divisions). A few other times during that period, there were talks between the Big Ten and other schools (namely, Kansas, Missouri, and Rutgers,[9] and later Notre Dame[10]) which might have led to the possibility of a conference with two divisions of at least six teams and a conference championship, but for various reasons, nothing came to fruition.

It wasn't until December 2009, when Commissioner Delany announced that the league would explore the possibility of adding one or more teams, that the wheels were set in motion that would lead to the Big Ten adding a school for the first time in 20 years. Less than a year later, on June 11, 2010, Nebraska applied for membership and was unanimously accepted by the conference's 11 member schools. Its membership became effective on July 1, 2011.[11]

Team selection[edit | edit source]

File:BigTenUSAMap-2011a.png

Big Ten conference divisions, starting in the 2011-2012 season.

After the addition of Nebraska to the conference, there was much debate over what would be the best division of the 12 schools. Some felt that it would be best to maintain geographical divisions. Others felt that geography should only be a factor insofar as there was competitive balance between the two divisions. Another very important factor for Big Ten schools was the maintenance of long-standing rivalries that the schools held with each other.

On September 1, 2010, Commissioner Delany revealed the two divisions.[12] They were provisionally called X and O.

Later, on December 13, 2010, Commissioner Delany announced that the two divisions would be called Legends and Leaders.[13] The scheduling arrangement for the schools was that they would face each of the other schools in their division, plus three crossover opponents, one of which would be permanent.

On August 4, 2011, the Big Ten Conference announced that there would be a nine-game conference schedule beginning in 2017, allowing schools to play four crossover opponents.[14] However, the Big Ten and Pac-12 later announced a multi-sport scheduling agreement that provides for each member school to play one non-conference football game per year against an opponent from the other conference, and with this announcement, the Big Ten backed away from the nine-game conference schedule proposal.

Results[edit | edit source]

Year Leaders Division** Legends Division** Site Attendance MVP
2011 #15 Wisconsin 42 #13 Michigan State 39 Lucas Oil StadiumIndianapolis, IN 64,152 QB Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
2012 Wisconsin* 70 #12 Nebraska 31 41,260 RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin

(*) - Wisconsin, despite finishing third in the Leaders division, qualified by virtue of the postseason bans to division champion Ohio State and second place Penn State.

(**) - Rankings indicate BCS rank at the time of the Big Ten Championship Game.

Results by team[edit | edit source]

Appearances School Wins Losses PCT.
2 Wisconsin 2 0 1.000
1 Michigan State 0 1 .000
1 Nebraska 0 1 .000

Selection criteria[edit | edit source]

On September 1, 2011, the Big Ten Conference announced the divisional tiebreaker procedures that will be used to determine the representatives in the championship game.[15] Division standings are based on each team's overall conference record. Teams that are ineligible to play in a postseason bowl game will not be allowed to participate in the Big Ten Football Championship Game. In the event that two teams are tied, the head-to-head results between those two teams determines the tiebreaker.

Three or more-team tiebreaker procedure[edit | edit source]

If only two teams remain after any of the following steps, the tiebreaker will revert to the two-team tiebreaker above.

  1. The records of the three tied teams will be compared against each other.
  2. The records of the three tied teams will be compared within their division.
  3. The records of the three tied teams will be compared against the next highest placed teams in their division in order of finish (4, 5, and 6).
  4. The records of the three tied teams will be compared against all common conference opponents.
  5. The highest ranked team in the first Bowl Championship Series following the completion of the Big Ten regular season conference play will be the representative in the Big Ten Football Championship Game, unless the two highest ranked tied teams are within one place of another. Should this happen, the head-to-head results of the top two tied teams will determine the representative in the Big Ten Championship Game.
  6. The team with the best overall winning percentage (excluding exempted games) will be the representative.
  7. The representative will be chosen by random draw.

Procedure in the case of ineligible division champions[edit | edit source]

If one or both of the division champions are ineligible to play in the championship game, the following procedure will be followed:

  1. If the ineligible team is tied with an eligible team, the eligible team will be the championship game representative.
  2. If two or more teams are tied with an ineligible team, then the ineligible team is removed and the remaining teams revert to the tie-break procedure.
  3. If the ineligible team is the sole division winner, the division runner-up shall be the championship game representative.
  4. If there is a division runner-up tie, then the tied teams will revert to the tie-break procedure.

Procedure in the case of no championship game[edit | edit source]

If the championship game cannot be played for reasons beyond the control of the Big Ten Conference, the two division champions (using the previously stated divisional tie-breakers) will be declared co-champions and the following procedure will determine the Big Ten Conference representative to the Bowl Championship Series:

  1. Teams ranked either first or second in the final Bowl Championship Series standings will be placed in the BCS National Championship Game.
  2. If the two division champions met previously in the regular season and neither is ranked first or second in the final BCS standings, the team ranked higher in the final BCS standings will be the representative to the BCS, unless the other team is ranked within five or fewer places of the higher ranked team. In this case, the head-to-head results of the two teams will determine the Big Ten's BCS representative.
  3. If the two division champions did not meet previously in the regular season, the team ranked higher in the final BCS standings will be the BCS representative.
  4. If the two teams are tied in the final BCS standings, the team with the better overall Big Ten record shall be the BCS representative.
  5. If the two teams remain tied after (4), the team with the better combined record of the tied teams against all common Big Ten opponents each team played that season shall be the BCS representative.
  6. If the two teams remain tied after (5), the BCS representative will be the team with the better overall winning percentage.
  7. If the two teams remain tied after (6), the BCS representative will be the team further removed from BCS participation.
  8. If the two teams remain tied after (7), the BCS representative will be determined by a random draw.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Big Ten Announces 2013 and 2014 Conference Football Schedules". BigTen.org: The Big Ten Conference Official Site. April 6, 2011. http://www.bigten.org/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/040611aaa.html. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  2. "Jerry Sandusky regrets showers with boys at Penn State". BBC News. November 15, 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15730317.
  3. "Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium Selected as Proposed Site for 2011 Big Ten Football Championship Game". BigTen.org: The Big Ten Conference Official Site. August 5, 2010. Archived from the original on 23 August 2010. http://web.archive.org/web/20100823182140/http://www.bigten.org/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/080510aab.html. Retrieved August 5, 2010.
  4. "Soldier Field good bet to host Big Ten title game". ChicagoBreakingSports.com. November 18, 2010. http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2010/11/soldier-field-good-bet-to-host-big-ten-title-game.html. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  5. http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/157692/fox-moves-to-majority-position-in-big-ten-network.html#axzz2DBJFtjus
  6. "Big Ten Announces Media Agreement with FOX Sports to Televise 2011-16 Big Ten Football Championship Games". BigTen.org: The Big Ten Conference Official Site. November 17, 2010. Archived from the original on 23 December 2010. http://web.archive.org/web/20101223112326/http://www.bigten.org/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/111710aaa.html. Retrieved November 17, 2010.
  7. "Soldier Field good bet to host Big Ten title game". ChicagoBreakingSports.com. November 18, 2010. http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2010/11/soldier-field-good-bet-to-host-big-ten-title-game.html. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  8. "An Ingenious Inception: Penn State Joins the Big Ten Conference". BigTen.org: The Big Ten Conference Official Site. September 11, 2006. http://www.bigten.org/sports/wchamp25/spec-rel/091106aaa.html. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
  9. Sherman, Ed (December 10, 1993). "Kansas, Big 10 a good fit?". Chicago Tribune. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1993-12-10/sports/9312100144_1_commissioner-jim-delany-big-southwest-missouri. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
  10. "Notre Dame shuns Big Ten, fears losing `distinctiveness'". National Catholic Reporter. February 19, 1999. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1141/is_16_35/ai_80680415/. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
  11. "University of Nebraska Approved to Join Big Ten Conference by Council of Presidents/Chancellors'". BigTen.org: The Big Ten Conference Official Site. June 11, 2010. Archived from the original on 22 December 2010. http://web.archive.org/web/20101222184204/http://www.bigten.org/genrel/061110aab.html. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
  12. "Big Ten sets new divisions; splits up Illinois-NU". ChicagoBreakingSports.com. September 1, 2010. http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2010/09/big-ten-divisions-to-be-revealed-on-6-pm-tv-show.html. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
  13. "Big Ten Conference Reveals New Logo and Honors Football History with Division Names and Trophies". BigTen.org: The Big Ten Conference Official Site. December 13, 2010. http://www.bigten.org/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/080411aaa.html. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  14. "Big Ten Schools to Play Nine Conference Games Beginning With 2017 Season". BigTen.org: The Big Ten Conference Official Site. August 4, 2011. http://www.bigten.org/newlogo. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
  15. "Big Ten Conference Football Divisional Tiebreaker". BigTen.org: The Big Ten Conference Official Site. September 1, 2011. http://www.bigten.org/sports/m-footbl/archive/081011aaa.html#. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
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