follow me on twitter

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Big Ten Bowl Woes Continue

As an Ohio State fan it pains me to write that the Big Ten has been awful in bowl games recently. (Which is not news in itself.) As a matter of fact I just read a stat that the Big Ten has gone 1-9 in Rose Bowls over the last 10 trips, with their only victory coming in 2010 (A 26-17 Ohio State victory over Oregon).

But if that weren't enough, the Big Ten's struggles in New Year's Day Bowl are enough to drive even the most causal midwestern football fan nuts. In the past three years, the Big Ten is only 4-13 on New Year's Day. In addition, the conference is a mere 4-20 versus Top 10 nonconference opponents since 2006. (Stats courtesy of the Big Ten Network).

So there's absolutely no mystery to why the Big Ten has been looked at as a joke when it comes to cfb the past several years. And to this point the teams in the conference who already played haven't done the Big Ten any favors.

Minnesota looked like this year's Cinderella team, winning 8 games despite the uncertain health of their head coach, Jerry Kill, and a roster that was in constant flux. Yet in there game versus Syracuse they couldn't pull off a victory against a  6-6 team from the ACC.

Then there is Michigan. I will say that I half expected true freshman Shane Morris to struggle mightily when he got the call to replace the injured Devin Gardner at QB for the Wolverines. If only because he was making his first career start on a neutral field in front of a national audience Well, to my surprise (and probably the rest of the nation as well) he performed better than expected, completing  more than 63% of his passes. Yet someone forgot to tell the rest of the Michigan team, especially the defense, to show up as well, as they gave up a whopping 420 yards total offense to Kansas State in a 31-14 loss.

So the Big Ten is now 0-2 this Bowl Season. Based on recent historical trends, that doesn't come as a big shock. So how will the conference fare in the rest of their games? I pull out my crystal ball to offer a prediction (if not quite accurate, however) on all the games in the conference from here on out:

Gator Bowl Georgia vs. Nebraska: Huskers and Bulldogs are both without their starting qbs. Unfortunately of Husker fans, Bulldog backup does a fairly decent impression of Aaron Murray in this one. Georgia 35. Nebraska 17

Capital One Bowl, Wisconsin vs South Carolina: I don't really know why, but I feel the Big Ten gets their first win of the 2013-2014 Bowl season here. Badgers run all over Gamecocks, negating any advantage that Jadeveon Clowney gives them on defense. Wisconsin 24, South Carolina 17

Outback Bowl, LSU vs Iowa: When will the Bowl committees stop scheduling mismatches like this one? LSU is without starting QB Zach Mettenberger, but I just think Tigers have too much speed. LSU 31, Iowa 20

Rose Bowl, Stanford vs. Michigan State: This is going to be a throwback to the Rose Bowl of the 60's and 70s that features smashmouth football, with the team gaining the most yards on the ground winning the 100th version of the granddaddy of the all. I give a slight edge to David Shaw's Cardinal in this one. Stanford 21, Michigan State 17

January 3, Orange Bowl, Ohio State vs Clemson: Well I would like to make an objective prediction but, to be honest, I just don't know. Buckeyes defense (or what passes for their defense these days) is banged up, and without lineman Noah Spence. On the other hand Urban Meyer has yet to lose in a BCS Bowl game. But Tajh Boyd will be looking to send a statement to all NFL draft scouts on hand, and Buckeyes' secondary may be more than willing to oblige. Honestly, this could be a shootout, and one that could go to the team who has the ball last.

I guess the bottom line is unless I am horribly wrong, the Big Ten doesn't do much to help its nonconference reputation today.