Big Ten Football Championship Details
After Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2010, the conference had the requisite 12 members needed to have a conference championship game at the end of the season starting in 2011. Rather than go with traditional division names like they now have (East and West), the conference decided to be unique and went with ‘Legends’ and ‘Leaders’.
The switch to East and West was made in 2014.
Initially, the plan was to rotate the location of the game. Indianapolis was selected to host the first game. The first four ended up being held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. In 2014, the conference announced the game would remain in Indianapolis through 2021.
The winner of the game receives an automatic bid to play in the Rose Bowl unless the team is one of the four selected to play in the College Football Playoffs.
In the short history of the game, two teams have dominated it—Wisconsin and Michigan State. The Spartans and Badgers played in the first one, a game won by the Russell Wilson-led Badgers, 42-39. Wisconsin earned a bid by default the following year since Ohio State, and Penn State were banned from postseason play. They went on to crush Nebraska, 70-31.
Ohio State recorded the only shutout in the six-year history of the game in 2014 with a 59-0 win over Wisconsin. Along with the shutout performance by the defense, the Buckeyes had quarterback Cardale Jones starting his first career game.
Last season saw Trace McSorley lead Penn State to its first Big Ten title with a come from behind win over Wisconsin, 38-31.
With a loaded roster returning in 2017, Ohio State is favored to win its second title (17/2) followed by Michigan (14/1), Penn State (35/1), and Wisconsin 65/1). If you are a gambler at heart, Rutgers, Purdue, and Illinois have 1000/1 odds. The odds are a little better but still long for Indiana and Maryland (500/1).