Two Plays That Altered The Big Ten East
Imagine this scenario. Iowa kicker Keith Duncan shanks his 33-yard field goal in the waning seconds of Iowa’s clash against Michigan that would’ve given the Wolverines their first loss. Several weeks earlier, say Penn State wide receiver Irvin Charles runs the correct route and catches Trace McSorley’s pass in the back of the endzone to take down Pitt.
What’s the significance, you might ask?
In an alternate universe, Iowa misses FG against UM & PSU throws TD to beat Pitt. OSU/PSU/UM tied @ 11-1, Div. Champ chosen by Random Draw ?
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) November 27, 2016
Thanks to this tweet, we realize those two plays could’ve changed quite a bit for Penn State, and could’ve stirred quite a bit of controversy in the process. In the event of a three way tie atop the conference standings, the Big Ten would’ve had to resort to a random draw to decide the winner of the Big Ten East.
When fans discuss the perfect storm that hit the college football landscape and paved the way for Penn State’s incredible ascension to Playoff contention, one must consider how drastically different the outcome could’ve been. Though the Lions took down Ohio State, Michigan still beat Penn State handily in their September meeting in the Big House. Though, via the transitive property, one might assume the Lions would’ve deserved the East crown in such a scenario, their success would’ve been rendered irrelevant. A potential trip to the College Football Playoff dashed because of mere chance.
So, as the Lions prepare to face Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game, be thankful for how this year’s events played out — especially that fateful chip shot in Iowa City.