SjT: Bowling after Texas Tech & Illiniois

A wild day and after the game in Champaign and the one just finished in West Texas, here's how Steve sees the bowl picture right now ...

Iowa's loss increases the likelihood of a cluster of 6-6 teams in the Big Ten, which is good for NU if they can get one more win to distance themselves from the pack and force a bowl to select us ahead of a 6-6 Iowa or Wisconsin. It would be nice if we could take care of that 8th win against OSU or Michigan, but it might come down to 7-4 NU vs. 6-5 Illinois for a spot in San Antonio.

And I still think the Big Ten is looking good for two BCS teams - no way that the Big East or ACC even deserve one, yet alone two. And the Pac 10 only gets two if Oregon State runs the table and beats SC for the Pasadena tiebreak. Tulsa's loss helps reduce the possibility of more than one buster and ND's loss eliminates any faint hopes. So unless they change the rule to allow a third Big XII team or the Buckeyes slip up the rest of the way, they're in.

So what does that mean, well ...

BCS BOWLS
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CHAMPIONSHIP: Penn State vs. Oklahoma - I think Tech loses in Norman (maybe to Okie State too) and Bama loses in the SEC title game (if not Baton Rouge) and all chaos breaks free for that #2 spot -- the SEC fans will throw a fit, but they snuck in to that spot last year on the strength of their league. Well, the Big XII is the top league this year and their top team deserves to be in the game more. End of story.

ROSE: Southern Cal vs. Alabama - No rematch with the Bucks, but with their first pick, the Pasadena folk select the SEC runners up for a classic matchup of big names.

FIESTA: Texas vs. Ohio State - Another big game between big names out in the desert.

SUGAR: Florida vs. West Virginia - Tebow vs. White, do the other 20 players on their respective sides of the ball even matter?

ORANGE: ACC TBA vs. Utah - I'm becoming convinced that the ACC will now have all teams finish 6-6 and will draw straws for the championship. The winner gets the BCS buster (which could be TCU) to complete the yawner.

BIG TEN BOWLS
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CITRUS: Michigan State vs. Georgia - As long as Sparty doesn't lose another game besides PSU, they're the #3 pick for the Big Ten and with two BCS teams, that means Orlando. As for the SEC team there, Georgia limps in after proving that there's a great deal of distance between the SEC's top two teams and #3.

OUTBACK: Minnesota vs. South Carolina - despite losing to NU, the Gophers are the better story and bring more fans, so as long as they win out, they get the spot here. As for the SEC team, they really drop off after LSU, so it could be Vandy (which would be a fun matchup if it were NU vs. Vandy!), Kentucky, Ole Miss or SC - go with Spurrier to help sell tickets.

ALAMO: Northwestern vs. Missouri - I'd rather be in Phoenix, but with the 6-6 mess, NU can all but assure itself of avoiding Phoenix/Detroit with one more win. As for the foe, the Big XII is loaded -- two head to the BCS, one to Dallas, one to San Diego and that still leaves one top 20 team for San Antonio (could be Okie State here as well - which would help Illinois' chances since it wouldn't be a rematch with Mizzou).

CHAMPS: Illinois vs. ACC TBA - The Badgers and Hawkeyes aren't exactly inspiring fans with their finish, so let's put the Illini here for that mythical Chicago TV market draw (Chicago only cares if the Illini are in the top 10). As for the foe? Again, whichever 6-6 ACC team draws the Orlando straw.

INSIGHT: Iowa vs. Kansas - I'd like NU's chances more here against KU, but Iowa's loss puts them too far below us to catch up so they're headed to Phoenix at 6-6 for a corn vs. wheat bowl with the Jayhawks.

MOTOR CITY: Wisconsin vs. Ball State - The Cheeseheads may be even less enthusiastic about travel to a mid-level bowl than the bumblebees, so they limp into Motown.

Of course, this could all change next week or next hour (Utah is in a dogfight at New Mexico).

GO CATS!!!
-SjT


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