2015 Michigan State Spartans Football Big Ten Championship Ring
The 2015 Big Ten Conference football season was the 120th season of college football play for the Big Ten Conference and wass a part of the 2015 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The conference began its season on Thursday, September 3, with Michigan and Minnesota opening their seasons. The remainder of the teams in the conference began their seasons on September 4 and 5.
This was the Big Ten's second season with 14 teams. The league was home to the defending national champion and inaugural winner of the College Football Playoff in Ohio State.
The Big Ten also welcomed four new head coaches for the 2015 season. Jim Harbaugh replaced Brady Hoke as head coach at Michigan, Mike Riley took over for Bo Pelini at Nebraska, Paul Chryst came in as the head man at Wisconsin, replacing Gary Andersen, and Bill Cubit served as the interim head coach at Illinois after Tim Beckman was fired just one week before the beginning of the season. There were also two coaching changes made during the middle of the 2015 season. On October 13, Maryland dismissed coach Randy Edsall and named his offensive coordinator Mike Locksley as interim coach for the rest of the season. On October 28, Jerry Kill retired as Minnesota's head coach due to health concerns. His defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys was named as interim coach before being named the permanent replacement on November 11.
In preseason polling, Ohio State was unanimously voted to repeat as the Big Ten champion by the media in the Big Ten Preseason poll, receiving all 40 first place votes. The Badgers were favorites to win the Big Ten West Division with 32 votes, followed by Nebraska with five and Minnesota with three.
At the conclusion of the regular season, Iowa won the West Division championship with a perfect 12-0 (8-0) record. Michigan State and Ohio State finished tied atop the East Division standings, both at 11-1 (7-1), but Michigan State's head-to-head victory placed the Spartans into the Big Ten Championship Game opposite Iowa. Following the season, Illinois removed the interim tag from Bill Cubit's title and gave him a two-year contract as head coach, while Rutgers has decided to part ways with Kyle Flood.
In the Big Ten Championship Game, Michigan State defeated Iowa 16-13 to win their second Big Ten championship in three years. With the win, the Spartans advance to the College Football Playoff. Iowa and Ohio State were both placed into New Year's Six Bowls, going to the Rose and Fiesta Bowls, respectively. A total of 10 Big Ten teams went to bowl games in 2015, including Nebraska and Minnesota, both with 5-7 records.