Big Ten Bowl Preview

Well, no bowl for the Maize & Blue this year, but that should have zero effect on how bad this bowl season will be for the conference as a whole. It's not that I don't think teams like Penn State, tOSU and Michigan State can win...

...okay, actually it is that I think they can't win. But I'll give my fellow Big Ten schools some credit. They made it to their bowl games fair and square (aside from tOSU. See: Below)). It's not their fault they have to play against far superior opponents. That's right folks, every Big Ten team is an underdog in each of their bowl games. ALL of them!

Starting us off...

Champs Sports Bowl - Wisconsin vs. Florida State
Saturday, December 27, 2008 - 4:30PM - ESPN
Line: FSU by 3

I'll say that not only did Wisconsin suck for most of this season, but they lost in absolutely horrible fashion versus maybe the worst Michigan team of all-time. Any team they played this year that was decent at all, they lost to. And some of their wins (see: Minnesota, Cal Poly) were way too close for comfort. But the Big Ten/ACC has a tie-in with the Champs Sports Bowl, thus, they get what we give them.

I can see this game getting ugly. Florida State is basically playing a home game against a mid-level Big Ten team that doesn't necessarily travel that well. So FSU will have the instant home field advantage. I like FSU by at least 14.

Valero Alamo Bowl - #21 Missouri vs. #23 Northwestern
Monday, December 29, 2008 - 8:00PM - ESPN
Line: Missouri by 10.5

Again, apologies to the good people at Valero and also the Alamo Bowl. Northwestern will not only not be able to hang with Missouri, but they'll probably only bring about 2,000 fans to the game. Maybe.

I do have high hopes for the nerds from NW though. Missouri is a tough opponent. And especially tough considering they have a very good passing game. Mizzou got lit up by Oklahoma last week, so they may have a slight chip on their shoulder. NW is playing for perpetual respect...respect that they will never get because they're Northwestern. But it will be fun to see two schools playing for something. I like Missouri in this one. They just have too much speed and firepower. The Big 12 is a superior conference, and it should show in this game.

Insight Bowl - Minnesota vs. Kansas
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 5:30PM - NFL Network
Line: Kansas by 10

This game will be watched by only Minnesota and Kansas fans. There is no way anyone with a pulse will tune in unless it's a one-score game in the 4th quarter. Plus it's on the NFL Network. Plus it's Minnesota and Kansas.

How in the hell did Minnesota make it to a bowl game in the first place? They lost their last 4 games of the year, including one to a really bad Michigan team. And they polished it all off with a 55-0 pounding by Iowa. All told, they're 7-5 with a 3-5 conference record.

Apparently, this is what qualifies for a bowl game in the Big Ten now. You can argue about how bad our top tier teams have fared against good non-conf. teams, but the mere fact that we're sending a bad Minnesota team to a bowl game at all is proof that the Big Ten sucks.

Outback Bowl - South Carolina vs. Iowa
Thursday, January 1, 2009 - 11:00AM - ESPN
Line: South Carolina by 2.5

Iowa was a strange team this year. They were very inconsistent. Losses to Pitt, NW, MSU and Illinois did nothing to help them out. But the win against Penn State threw everyone. I thought that game would be a trap for PSU. Iowa City in the afternoon, in November, on ESPN. They stepped up when it counted. And I think that win alone was enough to make the Outback Bowl people take notice.

They should be happy with this game. I think it will be very close. And I predict, against my better judgement, that Iowa will win. And I'm only saying that because they looked pretty good late in the year. And they typically play pretty well in bowl games.

Capital One Bowl - #15 Georgia vs. #18 Michigan State
Thursday, January 1, 2009 - 1:00PM - ABC
Line: Georgia by 8.5

Ouch. Tough draw for Sparty. They had a good year. 9-3 overall and 6-2 in the Big Ten...including a win over Big Brother. Not bad. But unfortunately, Georgia is probably about on par, skill-wise with tOSU. But faster.

Sparty is juiced to be in a new years day bowl. So I won't discount that. They should be able to hang with Georgia early, but it might get out of hand by the 3rd quarter. Georgia is just too fast. They played a tough SEC schedule to get to this game. MSU played a pretty light Big Ten schedule. That will be obvious when the scoreboard reads 0:00.

Rose Bowl Presented by Citi - #8 Penn State vs. #5 USC
Thursday, January 1, 2009 - 4:30PM - ABC
Line: USC by 10

Ugh. I'm so tired of Big Ten teams going out to the Rose Bowl only to get demolished by USC. And I'm really sick of Michigan doing it. I got to say though, that if any Big Ten team is going to hang with the Trojans, it could be Penn State. At least in theory.

But games aren't played in theory, they're played on the field. And this field is about 15 or so miles from USC's campus. And everyone is SoCal is a USC fan. But it should be entertaining. This is the marquee Big Ten bowl game this year, and Penn State has played well in tough environments. I fully expect this game to be closer than most think. I just really hope Penn State pulls it out. I hate Pete Carroll.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - #10 tOSU vs. #3 Texas
Monday, January 5, 2009 - 8:00PM - FOX
Line: Texas by 8

Two teams that simply should not be in this game. And two very different reasons.

For Texas, they were totally screwed out of the Big 12 Championship game, and thus screwed out of the BCS National Championship they had to settle for this meaningless contest.

For tOSU, they were granted a gift from the heavens for a shot at a BCS bowl. Does tOSU deserve to be here? Who's to say? But one thing is for sure, tOSU and Texas are both marquee names, with fan-bases that love to travel. Hell, tOSU fans probably own timeshares in Arizona.

This game was purely a product of potential revenue. I mean, ALL bowl games are a product of potential revenue, but none more so than this one. It's obvious that the BCS and FOX are much more interested in tOSU than they would be in, say, Texas Tech or Boise State. So, money talks.

But, enough about politics. This is the matchup we have. And a good game it should be. On one hand, Texas is royally pissed off they're not playing Florida. So they will take out their frustration on tOSU. On the other hand, tOSU will be totally psyched to be in a BCS bowl when they know damn well that they don't really deserve to be there...or that no one really wants them there.

I could try and be impartial and give a good reason why tOSU could win. But I can't stand them. I have way too many relatives who have lived or still live in Texas to go any other way. I like Texas in this one. I hope Bevo gives all of those over-paid tOSU seniors a nice, big, brown going away present. Hook'em horns!


  1. Anonymous6:07 PM

    To play Devil's advocate, the SEC was bad this year too.

    I think MSU can pull off that game. They had about the toughest Big 10 schedule they could possibly had, with only Minnesota and Illinois off the schedule.

    Georgia on the other hand did just what MSU did in conference: getting crushed by their two best opponents. And that's a Georgia team that didn't play Ole Miss. Something you may not realize is that MSU actually has 1 ranked win to Georgia's none.

    I think PSU and OSU can also pull their games off. Texas's defense will be exposed. Iowa will win. If the Big 10 has a winning record, we're going to sneak by with 4 wins, and that will require the 2 BCS teams to win.

  2. While I fear you are correct about the Big Ten this year, at least give Northwestern a bit of respect by using their proper moniker, NU.

  3. Anonymous2:55 PM

    The Big Ten just has to win the Rose Bowl, CapOne, and the Outback. If the Big Ten beats two SEC teams and USC, no one can say shit about this conference...