Big Ten Bowl Tie-ins
- Rose Bowl
- CapitalOne Bowl
- Outback Bowl
- Gator Bowl
- Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
- Meineke Car Care Bowl
- Heart of Dallas Bowl
- Little Caesars Bowl
Just when Nebraska looked to be back in the college football elite and Wisconsin’s season looked to be slipping into the muck (following two straight losses), the Badgers jumped up and blasted the Huskers right out of Indianapolis in the Big Ten title game, 70-31.
That put Wisconsin (8-5) into the Rose Bowl for the third straight year, where it will face Stanford. But, perhaps, the bigger upset came shortly after, when Head Coach Bret Bielema announced he was leaving the Badgers to take over the mess at Arkansas. Another ding for the self-image of the Big Ten, as one of its more respected coaches bolts for the SEC.
That might add a bit more color to the annual series of Florida bowls pitting Big Ten and SEC runners-up.
Nebraska finished 10-3, but looked plenty ugly in two of its losses (last week, and its 63-38 loss to Ohio State in October. Nevertheless, the Huskers got the next-best bowl slot, a return trip to the CapitalOne Bowl in Orlando, where it will take on Georgia. The Bulldogs came within a hair of an upset visit to the national championship game.
Michigan (8-4) got the bid to the Outback Bowl in Tampa. The Wolverines take on South Carolina, who delivered a nasty blow to Georgia before losses to Florida and LSU.
Northwestern (9-3) will have the third shot at upending an SEC outfit -- in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville. The Wildcats face Mississippi State, which was 7-0 before sliding to 8-4.
The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl is not in Buffalo. It is in Tempe, Arizona. It was once known as the Insight Bowl. Michigan State (6-6) gets the Big Ten slot, and will face Big XII newcomer TCU.
Similarly, the Meineke Car Care Bowl has identity issues. The bowl game in Houston appropriated the title sponsor of the bowl in Charlotte that is now known as the Belk Bowl. The Houston version (formerly known as the Houston Bowl), is now the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas. Regardless, Minnesota (6-6) will play there, against Texas Tech.
But there are no identity issues for the Heart of Dallas Bowl, which is played -- surprise! -- in Dallas. Formerly known as the TicketCity Bowl, it is played in the Cotton Bowl, since, of course, the Cotton Bowl itself is not played there. (Maybe there are identity issues after all.) Purdue (6-6) will go there to face Oklahoma State.
The Big Ten did not fill its slot in the Little Caesars Bowl.