Big Ten Announces Bowl Destinations

The Big Ten announced the bowl destinations for seven squads and will send two teams to BCS games for the fifth time in eight years. Co-Big Ten champs Penn State and Ohio State both earned a BCS bowl berth, with the Nittany Lions going to the Orange Bowl and the Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl. Wisconsin will play in the Capital One Bowl, Iowa will go to the Outback Bowl, Michigan will play in the Alamo Bowl, Northwestern will compete in the Sun Bowl and Minnesota was chosen for the Music City Bowl.

Since the inception of the BCS in 1998, the Big Ten has now qualified 13 teams for BCS bowls, more than any other conference. The league also sent a pair of squads to BCS games after the following seasons – 1998 (Ohio State, Wisconsin), 1999 (Michigan, Wisconsin), 2002 (Iowa, Ohio State) and 2003 (Michigan, Ohio State).

The Big Ten's seven bowl berths in 2005 matches the second-highest total in conference annals, trailing only the league record of eight bowl participants established following the 2003 campaign. The Big Ten also qualified seven schools for postseason play after the 1993, 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2002 seasons. The conference is sending six or more teams to bowl games for the seventh straight year and 14th time overall. Including this season, league programs have made 66 bowl appearances over the last decade and 219 appearances all-time.

Penn State (10-1 overall, 7-1 Big Ten) will make its first appearance in a BCS bowl and returns to the Orange Bowl for the fifth time in school history to face ACC champion Florida State on Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. EST in Miami, Fla. The Nittany Lions earned a share of the 2005 Big Ten title and claimed the league's BCS automatic bid based on a victory over Ohio State. Big Ten Coach of the Year Joe Paterno will make his 32nd bowl appearance at Penn State and boasts 20 victories, both of which stand as NCAA records. Overall, the school has built a 23-12-2 record in postseason play, including a 6-2 mark since joining the Big Ten in 1993. PSU has been victorious in three of four trips to the Orange Bowl with wins following the 1968, 1969 and 1973 campaigns. The school's last trip to the Orange Bowl occurred after the 1985 season, when an undefeated and top-ranked Penn State squad was defeated by No. 2 Oklahoma. Big Ten schools have played in four Orange Bowls, most recently when Iowa challenged USC after the 2002 campaign, and have produced a 2-2 record, including triumphs by Ohio State (1976) and Michigan (1999).

Ohio State (9-2, 7-1) is back in the Fiesta Bowl for the third time in the last four seasons and will square off against Notre Dame on Monday, Jan. 2 at 5 p.m. EST in Tempe, Ariz. The Big Ten co-champions are making their sixth consecutive bowl excursion, including five straight under head coach Jim Tressel. The OSU mentor has won three straight bowl games with a pair of Fiesta Bowl triumphs, including clinching the national title and an undefeated season with an overtime victory over Miami (Fla.) following the 2002 season. The Buckeyes will be playing in their 37th bowl, which is tied with Michigan for the league lead, and hold a 17-19 record in postseason play and a 3-1 mark in the Fiesta Bowl. The Big Ten boasts a 5-1 ledger in the Fiesta Bowl, including a current five-game win streak.

Wisconsin (9-3, 5-3) will be making its first trip to the Capital One Bowl and will take on a team from the SEC on Monday, Jan. 2 at 1 p.m. EST in Orlando, Fla. In his final game as the Badgers' head coach, Barry Alvarez will look to improve upon a 7-3 postseason record in his 11th bowl trip in 16 years on campus. Wisconsin has played in 16 bowl games overall with an 8-8 record and will be making its fourth straight postseason appearance. Big Ten squads maintain a 7-8 mark in the Capital One Bowl, including a last-second victory by Iowa over LSU last season.

Iowa (7-4, 5-3) has accepted a bid to the Outback Bowl for the second time in the last three years and will face an opponent from the SEC on Monday, Jan. 2 at 11 a.m. EST in Tampa, Fla. The Hawkeyes clinched their fifth straight bowl excursion under head coach Kirk Ferentz for the first time since appearing in eight straight postseason events from 1981-88. Iowa has played in 20 bowl games all-time, building a record of 11-8-1, including a victory over Florida in its lone Outback Bowl appearance following the 2003 season. The Big Ten has produced a record of 7-9 in the Outback Bowl, including victories in two of the last three games by the Hawkeyes and Michigan (2002 season).

Michigan (7-4, 5-3) returns to the Alamo Bowl for the second time in school annals and will battle a Big 12 foe on Wednesday, Dec. 28 at 8 p.m. EST in San Antonio, Texas. The Wolverines were edged by Texas A&M in their lone Alamo Bowl appearance in 1995. Michigan will take part in a bowl game for the 31st straight season, which currently ranks as the longest active streak of bowl appearances in the country. The Wolverines are 18-18 overall in bowl games and their 37 bids are tied for the league lead with Ohio State. The Big Ten has produced a 7-4 record in the Alamo Bowl, including a victory by the Buckeyes last season.

Northwestern (7-4, 5-3) will make its first appearance in the Sun Bowl facing a Pac-10 team on Friday, Dec. 30 at Noon EST in El Paso, Texas. The Wildcats clinched their sixth bowl trip in school history and head coach Randy Walker has guided the school to three postseason games, including their first-ever berths in the Alamo Bowl (2000) and Motor City Bowl (2003). Big Ten programs have built a 5-6 mark in the Sun Bowl, including a narrow loss by Purdue to Arizona State last season.

Minnesota (7-4, 4-4) will travel to the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn., for the third time in the last four seasons to challenge an ACC opponent on Friday, Dec. 30 at Noon EST. Head coach Glen Mason has led the Gophers to four straight bowl games for the first time in school history and six postseason games overall, compared to the program's five bowl trips prior to his arrival in 1997. Minnesota is undefeated in two Music City Bowls, picking up victories over Alabama last season and Arkansas in 2002, and boasts a 5-5 record in all postseason contests. The Big Ten has produced a 2-1 mark in the Music City Bowl.

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