- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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On Monday, I unveiled the start of our own little March Madness: A Big Ten Champions Tournament.
In case you missed it, I selected an eight-team field of champions from the past 15 years. Your votes will determine who wins each matchup. Voting in the first game of our first round is open until 9 a.m. ET Wednesday, though No. 1 seed 2002 Ohio State appears to be running away from No. 8 seed 2007 Ohio State, as expected.
Now it's time to reveal the second matchup of our first round:
No. 2 seed 1997 Nebraska vs. No. 7 seed 1999 Wisconsin
The 1997 Cornhuskers were one of the best teams in school history, romping through an undefeated season and whipping Tennessee in the Orange Bowl to earn a share of the national title. This team was nearly unstoppable on the ground, rushing for an amazing 72 touchdowns in 13 games. Nebraska had the Outland Trophy winner in Aaron Taylor and the Lombardi Award winner in Grant Wistrom, along with All-Americans Jason Peter and Ahman Green. However, there are those who'll still insist the Huskers should have lost to Missouri in the famous "Flea Kicker" game.
The 1999 Wisconsin team had two losses, including one to Cincinnati. But these Badgers won their final eight games and beat Stanford in their second straight Rose Bowl appearance. They had the Heisman Trophy winner in Ron Dayne and a strong young quarterback in Brooks Bollinger. Barry Alvarez would have a chance to coach against his alma mater in this theoretical matchup. But would Wisconsin have the speed to slow down a high-octane Nebraska rushing attack?
Vote in the poll to determine the winner of this game, and send me your reasons for why you voted the way you did. The best responses will be included in the post announcing who moves onto the semifinals.
11hBrian Bennett and Austin Ward