Michigan and Michigan State give the Big Ten a couple chances to enhance the league's football reputation the opening week of the season.
No. 8 Michigan plays second-ranked and defending national champion Alabama on Saturday night. That's after No. 13 Michigan State opens its season Friday against 24th-ranked Boise State.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke downplayed the significance of flying the flag for the conference.
The Big Ten was 4-6 in bowl games last year after its teams went a combined 7-7 in the regular season against BCS conference opponents and Notre Dame.
Since 1999, the Big Ten is 1-8 in the Rose Bowl and its 4-3 bowl record in 2009 is its only season above .500 in that time frame.