SjT: Big 10 Bowling Mid November

Its getting about time for all the bowl game bids to work out - the Big 10 is down to its final week, so SjT handicaps the entire Big 10 with a good look at NU's possible opponents as they go bowling for another year. But first, who's likely to be the other B(C)S team - Iowa or Penn State ?

Oh, I think Iowa's a done deal now.
They were already good in the computers and they shouldn't drop far in the polls since they played a heck of a game in Columbus and so many teams below them lost (including AZ last night as well). Also, having Stanzi back for the bowl would boost their draw.

Since they beat PSU, the Nits are playing so sloppy lately (and the Big Ten can't send three), I think the Hawkeyes are in and PSU's playing for Orlando along with Bucky next weekend (though NU and MSU won't be easy wins for either).

The bottom end of the league should be just as interesting. I wouldn't put it past MSU to beat slumping PSU next week at home, but even if they don't, both 6-6 Sparty and 6-6 Minny beat 7-5 NU, so it would not surprise me if we were jumped by one or both. We had a better argument last year with Iowa and were still jumped. MSU jumps us because of "name" and fans. As for Minny, they may jump us only because the Alamo and Insight would have repeat visitors otherwise.

And this year, the bump may not be a bad thing -- last year it was a New Year's Day bowl with big exposure vs. the Alamo (plus a lesser opponent_ and we lost out. This year, the Champs/Alamo/Insight are all on pretty equal footing and all are popular vacation destinations. The Motor City would be a big drop, but if we get two in the B(C)S, we won't have to worry about that.

So the big difference is opponents. Orlando brings Miami/VaTech/Clemson, San Antonio brings Nebraska/Oklahoma/OK State where Phoenix is likely to be Texas Tech, Missouri or K-State. Obviously I'm biased because I could go to the Insight Bowl, but I like the matchup better and I don't think we lose out on prestige with the bump like last year.

Of course, winning next week puts us in a tie for fourth with the Badgers and possible a tie for third with PSU. We'd likely lose out on the New Year's bowls to them, but it'd be nice to be third ... and especially nice to finish the year with three big wins over our three most hated rivals!


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