Miami OH (4-8, 3-5) LOST at Ball State, 31-24. The Redhawks gamely staged a comeback against one of the stronger teams in the MAC, but came up just a little bit short once again. Jahawn Edwards ran for 98 yards and 3 scores for Ball State, and the Cardinals converted 50% of their 18 third down chances to keep Zac Dysert and the Redhawk passing attack off the field. Miami now graduates their best QB (statistically anyway) in program history after a disappointing finish to the year. While Don Treadwell may have done a great job as Michigan State's interim coach after Mark Dantonio had his heard attack two seasons ago, he hasn't done a whole heck of a lot this point in Oxford. Next season will be make or break for him.
UCF (9-3, 7-1) BEAT UAB (3-9, 2-6), 49-24. The Knights shook off a disappointing loss last week against Tulsa to take care of business against UAB, giving themselves another shot at the Golden Hurricane in the C-USA title game. UCF's Quincy McDuffie led the way with three rushing TDs, and Blake Bortles was his usual efficient self, going 17/23 for 225 and two scores. UAB actually outgained UCF thanks to 510 yards passing, but like many of their other games this season, inopportune mistakes (two turnovers, including a pick-six) kept them from upsetting a more talented squad. UCF faces Tulsa next week. UAB's season is over.
CAL (3-9, 2-7) Did not play last week as they'd already played all 12 of their games. They did fire 11th year head coach Jeff Tedford though.
COMBINED OHIO STATE NON-CONFERENCE RECORD (PENDING UCF's C-USA TITLE GAME AND BOWL) – 19-29. Going undefeated in the BCS era is very hard no matter who is on your schedule, but that 19-29 is hard to ignore if you're going to try and claim an AP title for the Buckeyes (which at the very least seems all but impossible at this point). It's not hard to imagine that it won't be too much better next season, with a bad FCS team in Florida A&M and Buffalo joining Cal and SDSU.
Michigan State (6-6, 3-5) BEAT Minnesota, 26-10. Michigan State's defense completely swarmed the overmatched Gophers, holding them to a measly 96 yards total offense, securing a bowl bit for the Spartans in an underwhelming season. Le'Veon Bell ran for a career high 266 yards and a TD, in a game where Minnesota coach Jerry Kill, who left after suffering yet another seizure. The Spartans also forced 4 turnovers, and would have held Minnesota without a TD if not for an Andrew Maxwell pick 6. The Spartan's bowl opponent is not yet known.
#14 Nebraska (10-2, 7-1) BEAT Iowa, 13-7. It wasn't pretty, but hey, not much was in the Big Ten this year. Nebraska got the go-ahead score from a Rex Burkhead plunge late in the 4th quarter, and the Cornhuskers got just enough offense to officially clinch a spot in the Big Ten title game next weekend. Iowa turned the ball over twice and was held to only 200 yards of total offense, while Nebraska could only muster 263. The Cornhuskers will face Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game, while Iowa's season is over. After going 4-8 with Kirk Ferentz being paid a small country's GDP annually, we'll see if any assistants take the fall for a massively underachieving season.
Indiana (4-8, 2-6) LOST to Purdue (6-6, 3-5), 56-35. Keeping the Old Oaken Bucket wasn't enough to save Danny Hope's job, but it was enough to get the Boilermakers into a bowl game, despite wildly underperforming this season. Purdue wracked up 558 total yards, thanks to a career day from Akeem Shavers, who rushed for 126 and a score. Robert Marve also went out on a high note, throwing for 348 and 4 TDs. Cameron Coffman threw for 348 yards to pace the Hoosiers, although he also tossed 3 picks. Still, you have to think there is a glimmer of hope down in Bloomington for Indiana next season. Indiana's done for 2012, Purdue will play in a bowl game under interim head coach, Patrick Higgins, the team's wide receivers coach.
Penn State (8-4, 6-2) BEAT Wisconsin (7-5, 4-4), 24-21 OT. Embattled Penn State kicker Sam Ficken hit the game winning 37 yard field goal in OT as the Nittany Lions ended a strong season in which they dramatically exceeded expectations. Montee Ball set the NCAA all-time scoring record with his 97th TD, but the Badgers couldn't get enough stops to win the game in regulation and actually needed a late rally (again) to force overtime. Wisconsin will face Nebraska in the Big Ten title game, while Penn State, thanks to sanctions, will at least have a season of happy memories to help them as they ease into sanctions. An NCAA decree blocking the Hawaii exception (which allows teams to schedule a 13th game if it's a road game to Hawaii) supposedly isn't in place in their NCAA sanctions for future seasons, however it's no sure thing (the NCAA would still have to green light such a plan), and if going to the island to play a game isn't an option for Bill O'Brien and company, there have been rumors they've been looking to play a regular season game potentially overseas
Illinois (2-10, 0-8) LOST AT Northwestern, 50-14. Illinois finally ended their comedy of errors of a season, as they turned the ball over four times and piled up nearly 100 yards in penalty yardage. Northwestern even gave a defensive lineman carries near the end of the game as it turned into a route, upping their chances for a New Year's bowl game. Kain Colter tossed a career high three TDs, and also ran for 88 yards and a score. The Wildcats will get a solid bowl for their successful season, while Illinois is mercifully done playing football. Will Tim Beckman survive after a first season that saw the Illini go 2-10 and him tarnish his reputation by shamelessly stalking Penn State players immediately in the days that followed the NCAA's penalties?
#19 Michigan (8-4, 6-2) LOST at Ohio State, 26-21. Did you guys hear? Michigan lost to Ohio State. They'll get to play in a bowl game though, which should give them some time to figure out what they hell they are doing with their offense.
COMBINED RECORD (title game and bowls notwithstanding) OF BIG TEN OPPONENTS – 51-45, aka, decidedly average.
TOTAL OPPONENT RECORD: 70-74. While it is possible to get back to .500 if UCF wins the C-USA championship and the Big Ten gets hot in bowl games, it is pretty likely that this finishes below .500. UCF, Nebraska, Penn State and Michigan appear to be Ohio State's best wins, but like everybody has said all along, this has not been the most challenging schedule.
In addition to a fairly meh out of conference schedule in 2013, Ohio State skips Nebraska and Michigan State, gets Wisconsin and a sanctioned Penn State at home, and has road games at Michigan, Northwestern, and perpetual house of horrors, Purdue. The Bucks should hope the Big Ten improves next season, so they won't find themselves penalized as they prepare for a national title push.