|Michigan claimed the first and only Fake Big Ten title with a 4-0-0 stretch run, including a win over archrival Michigan State at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena on February 2nd. Photo: MGoBlue.com|
Michigan probably won't win any actual trophies this season, but they will always be able to claim a title in the only season of the Fake Big Ten, 2012-2013. The Wolverines used a late-season 4-0-0 surge against Michigan State and Ohio State to edge out Minnesota, whose loss to Wisconsin on February 17th in the outdoor Hockey City Classic at Chicago's Soldier Field proved fatal.
Unfortunately for the maize-and-blue, they don't get an autobid to the NCAA tournament for winning the Fake Big Ten - in that sense, the Gophers get the last laugh as the only future Big Tenner likely to earn the right to play for a (real) national championship.
Penn State finished third, a result just as stunning as the 3-2 overtime win at Wisconsin Monday in the final game of the season for both the Nittany Lions and the Fake Big Ten that clinched a top-half placement (only NCAA Division I games are counted in PSU's overall numbers, by the way). The Badgers were Holstromed into fourth, while Ohio State dropped to fifth after being swept by Michigan over the weekend. Michigan State... well, at least this doesn't count for anything.
Obviously, this isn't a perfect way to look at things by any stretch of the imagination, although generally, teams did grab a decent sample of games against future Big Ten rivals this season. Minnesota-Wisconsin and Michigan-Michigan State-Ohio State games are ensured by present conference arrangements, of course. However MSU, to their credit, also scheduled Penn State and Minnesota, only missing Wisconsin. Independent PSU worked in those games against the Spartans, as well as the Buckeyes and Badgers. OSU played three of the five, with CCHA opponent Michigan joining the Nittany Lions and Spartans. Minnesota (Wisconsin, Michigan), Michigan (Michigan State, Ohio State) and Wisconsin (Minnesota, Penn State) hit two.
Here are the final standings:
October 12: Michigan State 1 at Minnesota 5 [box score]
October 13: Michigan State 1 at Minnesota 7 [box score]
November 9: Michigan State 1 at Michigan 5 [box score]
November 10: Michigan 2 at Michigan State 7 [box score]
November 16: Wisconsin 2 at Minnesota 2 [box score]
November 17: Wisconsin 1 at Minnesota 3 [box score]
November 30: Ohio State 1 at Michigan State 0 [box score]
December 1: Ohio State 3 at Michigan State 1 [box score]
December 29: Penn State 5 vs. Ohio State 4 (Pittsburgh, PA) [box score]
December 30: Michigan State 2 vs. Michigan 5 (Detroit, MI) [box score]
January 25: Penn State 3 at Michigan State 5 [box score]
January 26: Penn State 3 at Michigan State 2 [box score]
February 1: Michigan State 2 at Michigan 3 [box score]
February 2: Michigan State 2 vs. Michigan 5 (Detroit, MI) [box score]
February 15: Minnesota 3 at Wisconsin 2 [box score]
February 17: Minnesota 2 vs. Wisconsin 3 (Chicago, IL) [box score]
February 22: Michigan 5 at Ohio State 3 [box score]
February 23: Michigan 6 at Ohio State 3 [box score]
February 24: Penn State 0 at Wisconsin 5 [box score]
February 25: Penn State 3 at Wisconsin 2 (OT) [box score]