The Big Ten is in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Ohio State’s victory over Arkansas on Tuesday — its first over a Southeastern Conference team in 10 bowl tries in 33 years — featured countless references to five Buckeyes allowed to play despite facing five-game suspensions to start the 2011 season.
Michigan did more to sully the conference’s reputation when it took two days to officially fire coach Rich Rodriguez.
Between bowl wins by Iowa and Illinois and the one by Ohio State, five Big Ten teams lost on New Year’s Day, including the collective 101-21 hammering of Michigan and Michigan State by two SEC teams.
That 3-5 bowl record is worse if you include soon-to-be Big Ten member Nebraska, which will become the 12th member of the conference next season, and its 19-7 loss to Washington in the Holiday Bowl.
When the Huskers join the fray, the league should be called the Dirty Dozen and its two divisions the Losers and Liars.
■ BUCKEYE FIVE — Five is a key number for Ohio State this year.
Five football players will miss the first five games of next season.
The Buckeyes football team beat Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl by five points less than an hour after the second-ranked Ohio State basketball team beat Iowa by five points.
Five also is the amount of dollars needed to start the bidding for Terrelle Pryor’s 2011 Sugar Bowl Most Valuable Player award.
■ CUBAN NO MATCH FOR ‘BOY-TOY’ — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban can’t match the accomplishments or wit of Lakers coach Phil Jackson.
Cuban didn’t like Jackson’s opinion to the Los Angeles Times on Sunday about the impact that Caron Butler’s season-ending knee injury will have on the Mavs.
On Tuesday, Cuban reacted to reporters’ questions by making fun of the legendary coach’s longtime romantic relationship with Lakers owner Jerry Buss’ daughter and team executive vice president, Jeanie Buss.
“I love that Jeanie Buss’ boy-toy had something to say about us,” Cuban said.
Jackson, 65, responded to Cuban’s comment by saying: “I love it. I consider myself an old man. To hear that I’m a boy-toy? That’s terrific.”
■ BAD DEAL — Helping his Memphis Grizzlies knock out the Lakers on Sunday in Los Angeles wasn’t enough pounding for Tony Allen.
After winning $1,000 to $1,500 in a card game with teammate O.J. Mayo on the team’s charter flight Monday, Allen connected with a few bombs to Mayo’s face over the gambling debt, according to The Commercial-Appeal.
Allen “jumped on” Mayo in an altercation that teammates had to stop, the Memphis newspaper reported. Mayo missed Tuesday’s game because of what the team called “bronchitis,” but the following day team officials acknowledged the incident was the reason for Mayo’s swollen face and absence.
A gambling ban on Grizzlies team flights was announced Wednesday.
It is a safe bet Mayo will not be endorsing Full Tilt Poker or the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
COMPILED BY JEFF WOLF
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL