Going Bowling With The Big Ten

By Johnny Ginter on December 6, 2011 at 2:00p
Big Ten, base 12 math.

Maybe we're bad college football fans. Or blinded by ideology. Or simply just mean, hateful people. In any case, Big Ten football fans don't really seem to "get" this whole idea of conference pride. Really, the mere thought of Ohio State fans chanting BIG TEN BIG TEN BIG TEN after a victory over a mid tier opponent in the WhoGivesACrap Car Care Bowl fills me with sadness and dread; mine is a covetous fandom, and I don't wish to share my victories with anyone. If Ohio State ends up beating Florida in the Gator Bowl, it's not going to be because some Illinois fans in Champaign lent us their karmic good vibes, it'll be because our pure distilled hate for every living being that wells up in us in the interim between the Michigan game and the bowl game has psychically transferred into Braxton Miller's legs and given him super powers. Duh.

Still, it's not like I want the other Big Ten teams to lose. It's good for the image of the conference in general that it has a good record against the assorted rabble that is the college football universe, and aside from Michigan, I'll probably be even find it within me to root for my midwest brethren during their games. But a winning or losing record isn't going to radically change how I view the conference as a whole.

If you're saying to yourself, "Wow, that is a very zen way to approach it," you would be correct. I am extremely well-composed individual, provided Michigan fulfills its destiny and loses their bowl game in a humiliating fashion. So, without further ado, here are the record setting 10 bowl games that the ol bee one gee will be participating in this year, along with a bunch of pithy comments from a fan of a team that is really only playing for pride and to avoid their first losing season since 1988 (not bitter!).

Little Caesars' Pizza bowl, Dec. 27th: Purdue vs. Western Michigan

Western Michigan is probably the MACest team in the country right now; they managed to lose a game to Toledo by the score of 63-66, which is kind of funny in that they put up 35 more points on the Rocket defense than Ohio State did, which came two weeks after losing a 14-10 game to Eastern Michigan. Less funny is their 107th ranked rushing defense, and that should be the way Purdue wins this game (also by just being generally better than the Broncos). I would be lying if I said that I wasn't pulling for the Boilermakers here mostly because I'm pretty sure that my brain can't take an OSU loss to a team that would then go on to lose to a team with a player named Tyler VanTubbergen on the roster. Of course, win or loss, both teams get to spend the week in sunny Detroit Michigan, with many pregame festivities planned at... uh. Bill's house. And... that old parking garage. You know, the one with the violent commune of post-apocalyptic survivalists. Some guys have all the luck.

INsight Bowl, Dec. 30th: Iowa vs. #14 Oklahoma

So many questions need to be answered here, such as: how did this happen? Can you prosecute an entire football team for manslaughter? Is Kirk Ferentz going to skip the game entirely and instead spend three hours rolling around in a gigantic pile of money? Will Bob Stoops join him?

Look: yes, Oklahoma was vastly overrated at the beginning of the season, yes, they looked completely lifeless against Oklahoma State and yes, their best win this year has come over an 8-4 Florida State team. Doesn't matter. Landry Jones is going to absolutely destroy Iowa and its 66th ranked pass defense. For comparison's sake, Texas Tech, the 65th rated pass defense, gave up 412 yards and 5 passing TDs to Jones. Tech won that game, but unless James Vandenberg decides to channel his inner Ricky Stanzi and win this one for America, I don't see it happening.

Meineke Car Care Bowl, Dec. 31st: Northwestern Vs. Texas A&M

Watch me do my Russian dance

I guess southerners have some kind of weird beef with guys named Sherman, which is unfortunate for Texas A&M in that they no longer have a coach. It's not entirely unexpected: the Aggies played six ranked teams this year and lost to all but one of them, beating Baylor back in October. Similarly, Northwestern has played five ranked teams this year and only managed to beat... wait, Nebraska? Huh. Well, anyway, Northwestern rebounded nicely after losing five in a row earlier in the season, which included improved play by Dan "Really Angry I Can't Make A Lame Early 1900s Writer Reference Here" Persa. Right now A&M are probably playing better on offense than the Wildcats, but keep in mind this game is in Houston which means that the collective malaise of being there might force both teams into some kind of existential quandary where they sit in a circle around the 50 yard line and discuss the impact of urban sprawl for three hours. Well, Northwestern might do that while A&M salutes their dog or whatever they do in their spare time.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Dec. 31st: Illinois Vs. UCLA

I'm moderately confident that both teams are going to get lost on the way to the game; Zook and Neuheisel both took the Garmins with them when they got fired so if this thing doesn't start until 10pm or something don't be surprised. The Illini have lost six straight, UCLA 3 of their last 4. The game is going to be so bad that it might actually contribute to the spread of hunger in America rather than fight it. In fact, this is literally the only non-negative factoid the Big Ten was able to put in their press release for this game:

The last time a Big Ten team played in a bowl game in the state of California that was not the Rose Bowl Game was when Michigan State completed in the Silicon Valley Classic in 2001.


TicketCity Bowl, Jan. 2nd: #23 Penn State vs. #19 Houston

This one might be tough for the Big Ten as Houston gets to play a virtual home game since the TicketCity Bowl takes place in Dallas. But when you think about it, Penn State also gets to play a virtual home game because the sport of football is comprised of both offensive and defensive aspects, and the Nittany Lions are much more familiar with the entire concept of "defense" than the Cougars. Case Keenum threw for approximately a bajillion yards against the likes of Rice, Tulane, UAB, and Marshall, but chances are that PSU will offer up slightly stronger resistance, given that they have the nation's 5th rated passing D (162.2 yards per game). It'll also be interesting to see what Moxie McGloin and Silas Redd do against a defense that gave up 49 points to Southern Miss (although it should be noted that the Golden Eagles oh hey that's their mascot, cool. What was I talking about? Oh, right. Houston has a terrible defense).

Gator Bowl, Jan. 2nd: Ohio State Vs. Florida

Luke Fickell, and, presumably, Jims Heacock and Bollman will be at it for one last rodeo. It's been a weird season, filled with ups and mostly downs, but a win over Florida would be a pretty big morale boost for OSU fans and also serve to make Florida fans even angrier than they already are, which is always nice. Ramzy detailed the kindergarten slap fight that is the matchup between Bollman and Weis, but if nothing else it should be fun watching Braxton Miller do his usual Steve Slaton/Dubstep/Tyrod Taylor performance art. Florida actually has a pretty decent defense, allowing just under 300 yards per game, so a low scoring contest suits them even better than it does Ohio State, if you can believe that. The real key for OSU is to make sure that they break the pattern that has doomed them in the second half of the season: falling behind 10 points or more in the first quarter and then being forced to play catchup for the rest of the game.

Should Braxton continue to improve his passing, should Boom Herron look more like the guy who averaged 138 yards per game in his first three games back rather than the guy who averaged 59 yards per game in his next three, and should the defense find a way to get healthy enough to field at least most of their starters, this is definitely a winnable game for the Buckeyes.

OUtback bowl, Jan. 2nd: #17 Michigan State vs. #16 Georgia

Both the Spartans and the Bulldogs are coming off of losses in their conference championship games, but that isn't going to stop this game from being fun as hell to watch. Many OSU fans  might still be laboring under the impression that Sparty is still Sparty and they don't really have a shot against an SEC opponent, but it should be pointed out that despite the SECs supposed top-to-bottom superiority over all that it observes, Georgia only played two ranked SEC teams during conference play; a South Carolina team that beat them in September, and an incredibly mediocre Auburn team that they admittedly stomped. My point is, Georgia has an inconsistent offense, is coming off a game where they looked completely whipped in the second half, and will be playing against an incredibly physical and angry MSU team hell bent on running the ball down their opponent's throat. Dantonio has done wonders with this team, and the BBC (Bell, Baker, Cousins) should have enough broadcasting power to drown out any SEC propaganda.

Capital One Bowl, Jan. 2nd: #20 Nebraska Vs. #9 South Carolina

The final leg of the 1pm January 2nd football tripod should be a good one. It's pretty funny to me that Steve Spurrier was finally able to settle his restless QB syndrome by having one of them eventually just getting too hurt to play for three random series during the game. Connor Shaw is now officially The Guy, and his rushing ability adds an important dimension to a Gamecock offense that needed it after the loss of Marcus Lattimore. It's pretty much feast or famine with Shaw, but recent 200 yard plus passing/~100 yard rushing games against The Citadel (who cares) and Clemson (oh, okay) have shown that he's got some real ability. The biggest challenge for the Huskers will be defending against this guy. Maybe before the game Spurrier and Pelini can compare notes on how to belittle developing talent or something, I don't know.

Rose Bowl, Jan. 2nd: #10 Wisconsin Vs. #5 Oregon


I'm starting to really enjoy the Rose Bowl, even more than I used to, because of all the backhanded compliments that the people running it and commenting on it end up giving the Big Ten representative. It's cool guys. Just come out and say it: you think that Big Ten football and the part of the country in which it is played is an unrelenting hellhole inhabited by fat, slow, and horrible people who love watching fat and slow football players play horrible football. And when Oregon inevitably beats the absolute crap out of the Badgers (I really don't trust any team that lost to Ohio State this year, even if they do have HEISMAN NOMINEE Montee Ball and ASSUMED HEISMAN WINNER Russell Wilson), the rest of the country will breathe a sigh of relief as all of their assumptions will have supposedly been confirmed. Cool!

Allstate Sugar Bowl, Jan. 3rd: #13 Michigan vs. #11 Virginia Tech

Both of these teams basically lucked into BCS bowls, seeing as how VT got demolished in the ACC championship and Michigan is literally the devil (and also didn't even win its division), so at the end of a long bowl season I will take exquisite pleasure in watching both of these teams flail around for three hours or so. The rushing attack for either team will be the difference maker in this game; if David Wilson gets going early and often, it's Tech's game to lose. If Denard controls the pace of the game like he's capable of, Michigan has a shot. For my part, I'll be watching the sidelines intently for Brady Hoke buffoonery involving a banana peel or threatening to send his wife to the moon, since if Michigan wins that's the only enjoyment I'll get out of this game.

And that's it! As per usual, January 2nd is where it's at for Big Ten football games. Woe be to he who is at work during the 1pm hour.


Comments Show All Comments

cplunk's picture

All I know is the Big Ten better win most the games on January 2nd, because we're the only thing on TV. I'm not into the whole conference thing but I am into my Buckeyes getting respect over the next few years as they dominate the Big Ten, so go Boilermakers, Hawkeyes, Wildcats, Nittany Lions, Spartans, Cornhuskers, Badgers and even any other Big Ten team that might be playing. Most of all, of course, GO BUCKS!

BED's picture

I root for B1G teams during bowl season (save scUM, and most of the time Wisky), but I get what you're saying.  Also great line about our collective hate.

Second, Oregon is pretty dismal.  Rains a lot.  It's cold.  You probably do want to die there most of the time.  Also, Chip Kelly sucks.

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

BED's picture

Also, Fight Boredom Bowl - LOL

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

onetwentyeight's picture

[ will resist making joke about attractiveness of Oregon co-eds versus Wisky's ]


But seriously, f wisky. I hope oregon nukes the sh*t out of bielema. 


chibuck's picture

Oregon definitely has the best cheerleaders. Went to a game there this year and it confirmed my thoughts.

cronimi's picture

There is no denying this fact. Hottest cheerleaders in CFB, maybe in all of sports. Colorful uniforms aren't the only things Nike money pays for....

cplunk's picture

I dunno- Arizona State is always really, really impressive. Arizona as well. USC and UCLA usually represent, and Tennessee and Texas are always solid contenders. Now the non-hottest cheerleaders? Purdue.

chibuck's picture

It was actually the Oregon-Arizona State game I went to and their cheerleaders were nice too. I hadn't really known about them beforehand.

BED's picture

ASU is generally considered to have the hottest coeds.  That's why Tosh filmed there!  Plus, I've been to Tempe a few times.  Always a pleasure.

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

buckeyedude's picture

Oh! I love debating, "who has the hottest cheerleaders?" Hate to admit, but ever since I was a kid in the seventies, watching USC playing in the Rose, couldn't get enough of the USC cheerleaders. Hottest. I wonder what Sarah and Elika think? Whom are their favs?



buckeyedude's picture

I thought I read something somewhere, where it said that Oregon had the highest suicide rate in the country. I guess it rains there all the time. It could have been the state of Washington, but both are interchangable, IMO. 



nickma71's picture

If michigan went 0-13 every year, I would snicker at them. I don't care what the teethless wonders of Alabama, Louisiana, Kentucy, Tennesee...have to say. I don't care.

AJ's picture

I wonder how many people chant BIG BIG BIG just out of spite if we win.  So everyone from the south is toothless, or is that just a myth?

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization." -----------Woody Hayes

cronimi's picture

As inane and stupid as it may be, I would LOVE for a "B-1-G! B-1-G!" chant to be heard during a bowl broadcast. The heads of any SEC fans watching would likely explode.

joel121270's picture

 and aside from Michigan, I'll probably be even find it within me to root for my midwest brethren during their games.


I haven't even read the rest of the article...my sentiments exactly..screw them turds up north!

KE's picture

These posts amaze me. If there is one rule about deciding which team to root for, it's Bros Before Hos. The B1G gets all sorts of crap from the rest of the country about being big, slow, and dumb. It's the bowl season that can end that lie. If there are ten Big Ten teams playing, I am rooting for all ten - including Michigan.

William's picture

Dumb? Who said the B1G is dumb? 

onetwentyeight's picture

Or... Urbz could goes on the warpath and we demolish anyone who dares to play us for the next decade? That would probably end that "lie" without us having to root for the likes of purdont, wisky (UGHHH), TSUN, etc

Bros before Hos ... sorry but TSUN is NOT OUR BRO 


johnblairgobucks's picture

Sorry Brady Hoke can eat a poop sandwich, hold the bread.  Any "Bro" who disrespect us by  calling us "Ohio" can get rolled up in any game they play.

Brady Hoke is from Ohio, went to college in Indiana, but says he rooted for UM only to be different from his friends (awesome).  Coached at Toledo, Oregon, Michigan, SanDiego St, Western Michigan.  What makes him a "Michigan Man"?  Why is the Ohio St Game personal to him?

Muck Fishigan

Denard Robinson can eat cereal all night in New Orleans....preferably Cheerios floating in Hokie pee.

Bucksfan's picture

I can see the B1G losing all of these games, realistically.  Purdue? No way.  Iowa might as well not even bother taking the field against Oklahoma.  Can't put money on Northwestern to do anything this year - they were supposed to be better with a healthy Persa and did a jack load of squat.  Illinois has a good chance at winning their game, maybe.  Penn State doesn't have the horses, and would need to win in a shootout against Houston.  We saw Michigan State-Georgia just 3 years ago in a bowl, and it didn't end well (neither did their game against 9-3 Alabama last year).  Do we really think Nebraska is going to be able to handle South Carolina's defense?  Oregon has the edge against Wisconsin in special teams, and Wisconsin is going to give Oregon a short field all day I feel.  The ACC is due for a BCS win, and Virginia Tech is actually a very good team that simply didn't match up well with Clemson.

That leaves the Bucks.  Man, both teams are going to go into this game thinking the other squad sucks.  Plus, it's a bad Ohio State team in a bowl against the SEC.  Not a traditionally good recipe for a win.

So, best chances are maybe Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin.  If we get lucky, 3 wins maybe 4.  Realistically, 2 wins, maybe 1.

KAINO's picture

Really? only 2 wins?

I actually like how the bowls shake out for the B1G this year.  I can easily see posting a 5-5 record and possibly much better if all teams show up with their A game.

Oregon has only seen one defense as good as Wisconsin's this year and that game didn't turn out well for the ducks, but with that explosive offense they are never out of a game. Wisconsin has the offense to go toe to toe though and this one i can see going either way.

Although I think Oklahoma State should be facing LSU for the National Championship, this works in Michigan's favor as Alabama would have filled the Sugar Bowl slot in that situation.(alabama would have killed them) Instead, Michigan faces a Virginia Tech team whose best win is against an overachieving 8-4 Virginia squad and have been blasted twice by Clemson.  Michigan wins this one.   

The B1G SEC match-ups could all go either way, but i do slightly like the B1G teams in all them. Florida, S Caralina and Georgia  all play in the East and have avoided the elite west teams or been beaten badly by them.  6-6 Florida is the best win on Georgia's  record, and the best wins for Florida are  Vanderbilt and Kentucky,  not exactly football powerhouses. 

Houston's offense will likely slow down with a top defense across the field. Penn state gets this one.

I do not like the Iowa/oklahoma matchup, but the sooners are without 2 of their top offensive weapons and have to be disappointed to be in the Insight Bowl after being a top Ten team all season long.  Oklahoma should win this one but stranger things have happened.