And for the 7th-straight year (and 10th time in 14 years), two teams in BCS bowl games. Cash money, y'all.
Big Ten Sets New Conference Record With 10 Teams Receiving Bowl Invites
Wisconsin and Michigan both headed to BCS games
For the first time in Big Ten history, 10 conference teams have been selected to participate in postseason bowl games, with two squads taking part in Bowl Championship Series (BCS) games. It marks the 10th time in 14 seasons that two conference teams will play in BCS contests. In addition, the Big Ten’s total of 10 bowl teams marks a new conference record for most bowl berths in a season, bettering the previous mark of eight following the 2003 and 2007 campaigns.
This season’s bowl campaign will mark the seventh straight year that seven or more Big Ten programs have earned postseason berths, the longest streak in conference history. Seven conference schools took part in postseason play after the 1993, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons. The Big Ten will send six or more teams to bowl games for the 13th straight year and 20th time overall. Including the upcoming bowl season, conference programs will have made 74 bowl appearances over a 10-year span (2002-11) and 266 appearances all-time.
Two Big Ten schools will play in BCS games for the 10th time in the 14-year history of the system and the eighth time in the last 10 seasons. Since the inception of the BCS in 1998, the Big Ten has qualified 25 teams for BCS bowls, more than any other conference. The SEC ranks second with 21 BCS bids followed by the Big 12 (18), Pac-12 (16), ACC (13) and Big East (13). A pair of Big Ten squads also competed in BCS games following the 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 campaigns. Overall, eight current conference programs have taken part in a BCS contest, including Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin.
Big Ten Champion Wisconsin (11-2, 6-2 Big Ten) heads to the Rose Bowl Game for the second consecutive season. The Badgers will face Pac-12 Champion Oregon in the 98th edition of the game, to be held Jan. 2, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. Wisconsin is making its fourth appearance in the Rose Bowl Game since the inception of the BCS in 1998 and eighth appearance overall. Making their 23rd appearance in a bowl game, and 10th consecutive year with a bowl berth, the Badgers hold a 3-4 record in games in Pasadena, while the conference is 30-34 in the Rose Bowl Game, including 29-31 against Pac-12 opponents.
Michigan (10-2, 6-2) climbs back in to the BCS picture after being selected to the Allstate Sugar Bowl, where it will face Virginia Tech of the ACC on Jan. 3, 2012 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. The Wolverines advance to their first BCS game since appearing in the 2007 Rose Bowl Game. Michigan will make its 41st postseason appearance, returning to the bowl scene for the second straight year, and will compete in the Sugar Bowl for the second time in program history. The Big Ten is officially 1-4 in the Sugar Bowl, including the Wolverines’ narrow loss to Auburn after the 1983 campaign.
Nebraska (9-3, 5-3) heads to the postseason as a member of the Big Ten for the first time, but will make its 48th appearance in a bowl game, the fourth most in NCAA history. The Huskers head to Orlando to make their first appearance in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 2, 2012 at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN, where they will face South Carolina of the SEC. Head coach Bo Pelini has led the Cornhuskers in four previous bowl contests, including the Holiday Bowl after the last two seasons. Big Ten teams hold an 11-10 ledger at the Capital One Bowl.
Legends Division Champion Michigan State (10-3, 7-1) will make its 22nd bowl appearance when it takes the field for the first time in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 2, 2012 at 1 p.m. ET on ABC, taking on SEC East Champion Georgia. The Spartans are heading to their fifth straight bowl game, advancing to the postseason in each of Mark Dantonio’s five years as the head coach. It marks the first time in program history the Spartans have earned bowl invitations in five straight seasons, having gone to three Florida bowl games in that span, including Capital One Bowl appearances following the 2008 and 2010 seasons. Big Ten schools have won nine of 22 Outback Bowl matchups.
Iowa (7-5, 4-4) will make a return trip to the Insight Bowl this season, scheduled to kick at 10 p.m. ET on Dec. 30 on ESPN. The Hawkeyes take on Oklahoma of the Big 12 in Iowa’s 26th all-time bowl appearance. Boasting a 14-10-1 mark in bowl action, Iowa has achieved bowl eligibility in the last 11 campaigns, posting victories in each of its previous three berths in the postseason. The Hawkeyes capped last season by earning a 27-24 victory over No. 12 Missouri in their first appearance in the Insight Bowl. Big Ten representatives are 3-4 in the Insight Bowl.
Making its 42nd official bowl appearance, Ohio State (6-6, 3-5) is heading to the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl for the first time since 1978, the first conference team to appear in the bowl. The Buckeyes will face Florida of the SEC at 1 p.m. ET on Jan. 2, 2012 in a game to be televised by ESPN2. OSU returns to a Florida bowl game for the first time since the 2001 campaign after making the second of back-to-back appearances in the Outback Bowl. It marks the seventh appearance for a Big Ten team in the Gator Bowl, including the Buckeyes’ narrow loss to Clemson in the 1978 game.
Northwestern (6-6, 3-5) will appear in its fourth straight bowl game for the first time in program history when the Wildcats participate in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas in Houston. The Wildcats will meet Texas A&M of the Big 12 at Noon ET on Dec. 31, 2011, in a game to appear on ESPN. Northwestern is making its 10th bowl appearance in its history and has been to postseason play in four of the six seasons under head coach Pat Fitzgerald. It marks the programs’ second straight bowl game in Texas, appearing in the 2010 TicketCity Bowl in Dallas. The Big Ten was victorious in its first appearance in the bowl last season, with Illinois defeating Baylor last season.
Penn State (9-3, 6-2) is bowl-bound for the 44th time in program history, the eighth most in college football history, and the seventh straight season. The Nittany Lions will face Houston of Conference USA in the TicketCity Bowl, to be held in Dallas, Texas, on Jan. 2, 2012 at Noon ET on ESPNU. The Nittany Lions boast the third-most postseason victories in Football Bowl Subdivision history with 27 triumphs. Penn State returns to the Lone Star State for a postseason game for the first time since 2007, when it defeated Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl. In its history, Penn State is undefeated in bowl games in Texas with a 4-0-1 mark. Northwestern made the Big Ten’s first appearance in the TicketCity Bowl last season and was edged by Texas Tech.
Returning to postseason play for the first time since 2007, Purdue (6-6, 4-4) heads to Detroit, Mich., to take part in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl with its 16th all-time berth in bowl action. The Boilermakers will face Western Michigan of the MAC on Dec. 27, 2011, at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. It is the program’s first postseason appearance under third-year coach Danny Hope, and the team returns to the site of its last bowl game, the 2007 Motor City Bowl, where it defeated Central Michigan. The Boilermakers hold a winning record in postseason competition, boasting an 8-7 mark. The Big Ten has split two games in Detroit.
Illinois (6-6, 2-6) will make back-to-back bowl trips for the first time since the 1991 and 1992 seasons. The Illini will take part in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at 3:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 31, 2011, in San Francisco, Calif., where they will take on UCLA of the Pac-12. 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. The Illini are 7-9 in bowl games all-time, including a victory over Baylor in the Texas Bowl last season.