B1G Life, B1G Stage, B1G Bowl Matchups

By Kyle Rowland on December 2, 2012 at 9:50p

Despite two bowl eligible teams staying home for the holidays this season, including No. 3 Ohio State, the Big Ten will be well represented in the postseason. Seven conference teams have been selected to play in sites from sea to shining sea. 

Rarely does it get better than Pasadena on New Year's Day.

It is the 14th straight year at least six teams from the Big Ten have played in bowl games, but it is the first since 2004 that only one conference school made it to the BCS. That is the same amount as the Mid-American Conference, which placed Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl.

The Big Ten has been mocked roundly a majority of the season for its uninspiring wins and perceived low caliber of play. But the postseason is the time when bragging rights are secured. If the conference one-ups the SEC, Alabama's 41-14 victory over Michigan will fade into the rearview mirror. More losses to the SEC, however, will only make the conference's image worse. 

Without further ado, the Big Ten bowl lineup: 

Rose Bowl

Wisconsin (8-5) vs. Stanford (11-2), Jan. 1, Pasadena, Calif.

Wisconsin would have been the sixth-best team in the Big Ten without divisions. But the Badgers had the luxury of being paired with Ohio State and Penn State. Five losses mattered little on Saturday night, when Wisconsin defeated Nebraska, 70-31, in the Big Ten championship game. The win propelled Wisconsin to its third consecutive Rose Bowl, where the Badgers will play No. 8 Stanford.

The Andrew Luck-less Cardinal proved they weren’t just a flash in the pan. Impressive victories poured into Palo Alto this season, acting as a springboard to Stanford’s first Rose Bowl berth in more than a decade. Many are forecasting a blowout with a lackluster Big Ten acting as the culprit. But Wisconsin’s losses have all come by narrow margins, and the offense, running back Montee Ball included, is clicking.

Capital One

Nebraska (10-3) vs. Georgia (11-2), Jan. 1, Orlando, Fla.

Both teams are coming off conference championship game defeats, but under vastly different circumstances. Nebraska was the prohibitive favorite to win the Big Ten title game, which would have been the Cornhuskers' first conference championship since 1999, but they were instead humiliated by Wisconsin.

Georgia played the role of underdog against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, which acted as a play-in to the national championship game. The Bulldogs held an 11-point second-half lead, but let it dwindle away. Then with a chance to steal the game, miscommunication doomed Georgia.

The Bulldogs' offense could have a field day against a Nebraska defense that has struggled all season. But the excitement level for both teams will likely be minimal, which could make the game closer than expected.


Michigan (8-4) vs. South Carolina (10-2), Jan. 1, Tampa, Fla.

Another potential nightmare matchup for the Big Ten. South Carolina’s defense, led by defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, is among the nation’s elite. Quarterbacks and running backs have had limited success. Michigan’s split system between Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner is not the proper way to neutralize South Carolina.

The Wolverines’ defense has already faced an SEC school once this season, and we all know how that ended. The backend, while competent against the slower Big Ten, cannot hold its own against the faster SEC. After an 11-2 dream season in Brady Hoke’s first year, it’s been a fall back to earth in Year 2 for Michigan.


Northwestern (9-3) vs. Mississippi State (8-4), Jan. 1, Jacksonville, Fla.

Northwestern has turned into a consistent bowl participant under Pat Fitzgerald, but the Wildcats are still looking for their first postseason win since the 1949 Rose Bowl. If you’re keeping score at home, Northwestern has lost nine straight bowl games.

The Wildcats have played one SEC school already this season – Vanderbilt – and won. Mississippi State’s defense will pose much bigger challenges, however. Northwestern might still hold an unathletic stereotype, but that is vastly outdated. The Wildcats have long had an exciting offense. A quick Bulldog defense will attempt to slow them down, much like Mississippi State did to Michigan two years ago.

Mississippi State started out the season 7-0, but it lost four of its final five games. The lone win came against hapless Arkansas.

Truman was president during Northwestern's last bowl win.

Buffalo Wild Wings

Michigan State (6-6) vs. TCU (7-5), Dec. 29, Tempe, Ariz.

How many ‘We’re going to overtime’ commercials will be shown during this game? I think that is a better question than who will win. This bowl game has been home to disappointing seasons since it began. Michigan State’s inclusion is appropriate. The Spartans were thought to be the Big Ten’s best when the season began. An opening-night win over Boise State seemed to validate that until Michigan State went kaput. The Spartans, like TCU, lost four of their last six games.

These two teams are offensively challenged, and head coaches Mark Dantonio and Gary Patterson are two bright defensive minds. Whichever quarterback makes the least mistakes will likely “lead” its team to victory.

Meineke Car Care

Minnesota (6-6) vs. Texas Tech (7-5), Dec. 28, Houston, Texas

Minnesota was arguably the biggest feel-good story in the conference this season. The Gophers have struggled since Glenn Mason was fired and Tim Brewster proceeded to decimate a program that became a middle of the pack Big Ten team. Now Jerry Kill, who has suffered multiple seizures on the sideline, has Minnesota relevant again. Kill’s condition has heightened awareness to epilepsy and led to fans rallying around Minnesota.

Ironically, Texas Tech was the opponent for Minnesota in the 2006 Insight Bowl, a game that cost Mason his job. On that night, the Gophers blew a 38-7 third-quarter lead.

Fading was part of Minnesota’s problem this season. It started 4-0 but finished the Big Ten season with a 2-6 record. The biggest reason for that was an offense that could never get going. At one point, Texas Tech had the No. 1 defense in the country, but that number slipped to 39. Still, the Red Raiders are almost certain to be heavy favorites. Like Minnesota however, the second half of the season did them no favors. Texas Tech lost four its final five games.

Heart of Dallas

Purdue (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State (7-5), Jan. 1, Dallas, Texas

Nothing says New Year’s Day like the Cotton Bowl. Well, it isn’t the Cotton Bowl game, but it is played at the Cotton Bowl stadium.

The Boilermakers enter the bowl season on a three-game winning streak, not that it did Danny Hope any good. He was quickly fired after Purdue secured the Old Oaken Bucket with a win over archrival Indiana.

Purdue and Oklahoma State are both ‘basketball-on-grass’ teams, though they had varying degrees of success this season. It has been several years since Purdue had a top-flight quarterback, while Oklahoma State lost first-round draft pick Brandon Weeden. The Cowboys did still possess the seventh-best passing attack in the country. Purdue’s defense is capable of slowing them down, but the Boilermakers are not the model of consistency.


Comments Show All Comments

USMCBUCKEYE82's picture

I hate bowl season!!!! 
EDIT: Just this year.

NYC Buckeye's picture

Call me crazy, but I like the Badgers to upset Stanford...
Georgia and South Carolina, both by double digits...
Northwestern will finally notch a bowl win...  
Tech and Oklahoma state both win, hopefully Purdue and MN can keep them close..
Sparty and TCU is a pretty good matchup, very similar teams, hopefully Dantonio can salvage something of this season with a bowl win...

QBYBuckeye's picture

Okay, you're crazy!  LOL

New York Buckeye

Grant Edgell's picture

I think Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and South Carolina are about to prove just how 'down' the Big Ten is by wide, wide margins. Georgia and Mississippi State probably have an opportunity to do the same.
Most intrigued by Stanford v Wisconsin and Sparty v TCU, especially the latter, but I'll likely watch every one of them.
Prediction: 1-6 (Michigan State over TCU) but 0-7 wouldn't shock me.

kr66osu's picture

At this point I really struggle to predict anything other than 0-7

TheHannimal's picture

I think Northwestern is our best hope. Unreal.

Buckeye in Illini country's picture

Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Northwestern are the only hopefuls.  Wiscy is better than their record, and the other two are tossups.
2-5 for the B1G.

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  "We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!"

703Buckeye's picture

Overall B1G record: 2-5 (this is being generous to the B1G)
Wisconsin over Stanford: If Wisky comes out like it did against Nebraska, they can beat a similarly talented Cardinal team.
Georgia over Nebraska: Georgia is going to be a very motivated and angry team, I wouldn't want to be the Huskers.
USC over scUM: You think the Buckeye d-line had fun against the Wolverines? Wait until Clowney and Co. get their hands on Gardner.
Northwestern over Miss. State: I have a feeling this is the year the Wildcats finally get over the hump and win against a Bulldogs team which doesn't seem to be very motivated lately.
TCU over Michigan State: I don't see Sparty being able to move the ball on the Horned Frogs.
Texas Tech over Minnesota: The Red Raider D will dominate the Gopher O, I can see the TTU offense having a field day as well.
Oklahoma State over Purdue: The Cowboys will roast the Boiler D.

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

Haybucks's picture

It doesn't help the conference image by sending lower teams to higher bowls. 
I know the rules and the rules suck.

If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later. -  Mark Twain


Matthew's picture

Could easily see a 2 win ceiling for the B1G this year.

Class of 2010

painterlad's picture

It keeps coming up that Wisconsin hasn't lost its games by very much. So what? If a team goes 0-12 by a combined score of 12 points, are they a good team? Stanford by 10.
Nebraska gets killed, as does Minnesota and Purdue. MSU has a 50/50 at winning and Northwestern should win.
That leaves Michigan. I think that if Michigan can figure out that nobody will drop back in coverage if Robinson lines up at QB because it is going to be a running play 100% of the time and that Robinson is much better out wide than up the middle, the Wolverines have a good chance to pull the upset.
That being said, are all of the BIG teams underdogs? If so, how sad is that.

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

PWLafferty. TBDBITL. TRow.'s picture

Man, this is really sad. :-( Thank god for Buckeye Basketball

"I'm up there with Chris and Dave Pass, getting ready to broadcast that game, and that band came out of that tunnel, I was wiping tears out of my eyes and all the memories came back." ~Urban Meyer

T4EHill's picture

Screw the conference...I was never a root for your conference person and this season just sums up my case...the other teams hated on OSU during bowl games but they couldn't back their talk up in their game and bring the conference down even lower...so again screw the rest of the B1G

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you." Woody Hayes

USMC11917's picture

I agree with you but have recently taken a different stance. The Big Ten image is very important. Had we had the "Tough Conference Image" we'd be shown more love by the AP and wouldn't drop so far when defeated by a conference team. Look at how Mississippi State and Tennessee benefited early in the year before they actually played anyone. Both were ranked at one time. (Pretty sure that is a correct statement) We don't get that image unless we win some bowl games.

Haybucks's picture

I used to spread "Screw the Blue" throughout the conference at bowl times, but having the rest of the B1G fail ultimately is a perception issue that hurts tOSU rankings.  So now I've downsized it to "Screw the Blue and Wiscy too".

If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later. -  Mark Twain


dumpus's picture

may or may not attempt to drop a 7-team progressive parlay against the B1G this year. 
after all - if i have to suffer through the B1G shitting the bed this year, suffer through there not being an NHL regular season, and suffer through a limited watchable sports schedule outside of the B1G hoops tourney and the odd PGA event, i've gotta find a way to fund 'ye olde single malt' habit. 

cplunk's picture

I would consider it- Northwestern is the only one I think has an actual chance to win

Maestro's picture


vacuuming sucks

SilverBulletNYC's picture

Best case: 3-4. Worst Case: 0-7. The B1G is bad. Very bad.

The South will NOT rise again!

DetroitBuckeye's picture

Yes, I had 3-4 but then again I thought TSUN had a chance to upset Alabama.

Phillips.449's picture

Mark May is a D#@che!  Did anyone see him hold up his "Ohio State Bowl Tee" at the end of the BCS Selection show on ESPIN?

Kurt's picture

To everyone saying - and who will say after a predictable poor performance - how bad the B1G is all should be reminded that our matchups are handicapped by 2 winning teams. Its not much, but it really does matter in the end.

Nick's picture

Looking at those matchup I see 0-7 a very realistic possibility. At the same time I could see Northwestern winning and Michigan State winning making it 2-5

The Vest-er's picture

Jadaveon Clowney's teammates after he introduces himself to Denard Robinson


Fundamentals are a crutch for the talentless.

cinserious's picture

Your such an asshole tommy... er is that bobby?

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

I can only see NW, and MSU winning. Wisconsin is the only close loss that might happen.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Haybucks's picture

Wiscy losing the Rose is a Brent Bielemia tradition.

If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later. -  Mark Twain


ColoradoBuckeye74's picture

I would love to see a run for the Big10 but this going to hurt.

Matthew's picture

I hate when crappy bowl games like the Heart of Dallas one are featured on January 1st.

Class of 2010


Or after January 1st

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

Matthew's picture

Another pet peeve: games between January 1st and the Title Game (which has thankfully been moved back a few days this year).
3 non BCS games are set to take place between the 1st and the 7th.

Class of 2010

gravey's picture

Having OSU and PSU out hurts; but it's the same scenario almost every bowl season.  Teams that travel well and sell TV ads get into better bowls than their record should allow and wind up playing up in competition....and against teams playing close to home.  It's a losing formula year after year...just magnified this year because 2 of the 3 biggest draws are sitting at home.

DaiTheFlu's picture

This is a damn good point. Then everyone talks about what a genius Delaney is because the B1G is so rich. The league always lobbies for two BCS teams, which just forces teams like Iowa, Purdue and Northwestern into virtually unwinnable games against LSU, Alabama or Florida. The B1G invariably gets its collective ass kicked, then everyone talks about what garbage the conference is. There's a fine lie between "competing against the best", as Delaney puts it, and putting your average teams into virtual home games against absurdly better competition. It's a losing proposition for everyone except the university bank accounts.

We can't stop here; this is bat country...

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Meatchicken gettin blown out by 3TDs wouldn't shock me.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

MediBuck's picture

Northwestern, our only hope. That said, I surprisingly don't have a problem watching the Wisconsin Skunk Beavers and the Michiscum Skunk Weasels get blown out by their respective opponents. I hate TSUN and Bret Bielma so much that losses by both teams would be moral victories in my book.

"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone." --Woody Hayes

DetroitBuckeye's picture

Wisconsin vs Stanford=win
Nebraska vs Georgia=tough to call, loss
Michigan vs South Carolina=not really sure but probably a loss
Northwestern vs Mississippi State=win
Michigan State vs Tcu=win
Minnesota vs Texas Tech=loss
Purdue vs Oklahoma State=loss

cinserious's picture

watch stanford beat whisky
georgia crush nebrasky
michigan/S.C. =toss up, I mean, that RB blew out his knee didn't he?
Mississippi st. beats northwestern
TCU wins over MSU (possible blowout)
minnesota somehow beats texas tech
oklahoma st beats purdue (another blowout)

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

William's picture

Wisconsin-Stanford= Loss
Nebraska-Georgia= Loss
Michigan-South Carolina= Going to be interesting, close loss for Michigan
Northwestern-Mississippi State= Win
Michigan State-TCU= Win
Minnesota-Texas Tech= Loss
Purdue-Oklahoma State= Loss, this will be the most lopsided game of all of the match-ups.
The B1G goes 2-5 with a shot at 3-4.

Buckman's picture

I'm one of those people who love underdogs.  Which is why I don't bet often.
B1G goes 4-3 or 3-4.  Don't know how it's going to happen.  I have know idea where the wins will come from ,but I'm sticking with it.
I will say this though as bad as the B1G is.... other than Stanford show me an impressive win by one of the other teams and I can show you at least two games in which they played terrible.

I like to believe that my best hits border on felonious assault.


NYC Buckeye's picture

Not that I want you to develop a bad habit, but I must advise you, loving underdogs and not betting is a mistake!  Please see this past weekend (all wins)...
NCAA : UCLA +10, Kent St +8, Georgia +9, Wisconsin +3
NFL : Seattle +3, Indianapolis +7, Pitt.+7.5, Phil. +11
Take the points!

nickma71's picture

Michigan got lucky in drawing the weakest available for tie-ins, and not Georgia or LSU. Or even Texas A&M. They still go home with 5 losses.

DetroitBuckeye's picture

I actually think that Michigan would be the perfect matchup to knock off Texas A&M.  If Michigan has one strength it would be defending running quarterbacks and their secondary.  

cinserious's picture

At this point do we really care if the big ten gets its ass handed to it yet again? Screw the big ten! All Ohio st does is win,win,win and if the conference cant keep up, then screw them! I know it hurts our SOS but its out of our hands and the other league teams havent done anything to improve their level of play. Im sick and tired of defending weak ass big ten teams that have been utterly pathetic in bowl games over the last ten yrs. After all, now we have added rutgers and maryland to the conference and all the added tv revenue that brings in, who needs teams that actually win?

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

cinserious's picture

To the dickhead that downvoted me, my last sentence I was being sarcastic: "After all, now we have added rutgers and maryland to the conference and all the added tv revenue that brings in, who needs teams that actually win?"

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

timdogdad's picture

is it safe to say that the sec started all of this conference competition and now that's such a big deal for the bowls. did we care about this as much 15 yrs ago?  personally, i want the big 10 to beat the sec teams, but go stanford-lets see an 0-3 for squinting bret and their rose bowl by default team.  still love how regardless of the stupid rules, media clowns, etc, we'll still beat an sec team on the field and that can't be disputed.  

steensn's picture

N Illinois should have booted Wisc not Louisville, at leaast Louisville was ranked...

QBYBuckeye's picture

When the two best teams in the conference stay home and 3 through 9 play against everybody else's 1 through 5, it's hard to find good matchups.  Can Northwestern score 42 points agains MSU?  Can MSU hold TCU to 10 points? Can Stanford miss the bus?  Those are our top three chances for wins this bowl season.

New York Buckeye