Ohio State's victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl en route to a national championship win — not to mention big New Year's Day bowl wins by Michigan State and Wisconsin — gave the Big Ten some bragging rights over the long-dominant SEC.
Now the Big Ten can claim some more, at least when it comes to spring attendance.
In addition to boasting the highest attendance by a single conference with 410,943 fans at 11 different spring games (the SEC drew 408,566 fans to 12 spring games), five Big Ten teams ranked in the top eight, including owning the top three spots, in spring-game attendance.
Ohio State broke records by packing nearly 100,000 fans into Ohio Stadium for its spring game, the first open-to-the-public, on-field action for the team following the Buckeyes' win in the national championship game in January.
And though there's a significant drop-off after the eye-popping numbers generated by Ohio State, Nebraska and Penn State rank second and third, respectively, with 76,881 and 68,000 fans.
Alabama (65,175), Tennessee (63,016) and Auburn (62,143) rank fourth, fifth and sixth, showing the SEC can still pack 'em in. But then come strong numbers from Michigan — which drew 60,000 thanks to renewed fan enthusiasm in the wake of Jim Harbaugh's arrival in Ann Arbor — and Michigan State, which drew 48,000.
Georgia, another SEC team, and Oklahoma round out the top 10 at 46,815 and 42,807, respectively.
So, while no real games were played this spring, the Big Ten can claim some very specific bragging rights over the conference to the south.