Let’s assume two Big Ten Conference teams play in BCS bowls. Just saying, considering that’s been the case the past six seasons.
Wisconsin vs. Southern California — Jan. 1, 4 p.m. on ESPN
The Badgers were good enough to represent the Leaders Division in the conference championship game even before Penn State and Ohio State became postseason-ineligible. The defense should be one of the best since Bret Bielema became the coach in 2006. The running game will be among the best nationally if Montee Ball and his NFL-bound protectors stay healthy.
Michigan State vs. Oklahoma — Jan. 3, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Big Ten runner-up against Big 12 champion — maybe the most intriguing of the bowl matchups. Sooners coach Bob Stoops got the last laugh against Iowa last season in what then was called the Insight Bowl, and the Spartans beat Georgia in three overtimes in the Outback. Hard to believe, but this would be the first meeting between the teams.
CAPITAL ONE BOWL
Michigan vs. Georgia — Jan. 1, Noon, TBA
This is the destination for the Michigan State-Michigan loser. The rivalry continues at the Big House in Ann Arbor, where ironically, the Spartans have won two in a row. Neither team played in this bowl last year, so it’s a good landing spot for everyone involved.
Nebraska vs. South Carolina — Jan. 1, Noon, TBA
If this insinuates a Cornhusker victory against Iowa on Nov. 23 in Iowa City, so be it. Remember, bowls basically can select any team they want. Cover your eyes, Iowa fans: Nebraska has a better fan following.
Iowa vs. Auburn — Jan. 1, 11 a.m., ESPN2
It’s really an either-or for this bowl’s selection committee. Iowa or Nebraska. Either makes sense, especially since scandal-ridden Penn State is in bowl lockup the next four years. Remember, won-lost records are only a guide in most selection instances. Ferentz vs. Chizik could be interesting.
BUFFALO WILD WINGS BOWL
Illinois vs. Texas — Dec. 29, 9:15 p.m., ESPN
Prognosticators expect the Illini to be improved to the extent that they could be eligible for this bowl. And let’s face it, Iowa isn’t likely to make a third trip in a row to the Valley of the Sun for what used to be called the Insight Bowl.
Northwestern vs. Kansas State — Dec. 28, 8 p.m., ESPN
This had Penn State written all over it — until the NCAA dropped the hammer last month. Therefore, cross out Lions and replace it with Cats, a team that expects to be respectable again and a lock for their fifth bowl appearance in a row.
Purdue vs. SMU — Jan. 1, 11 a.m., ESPNU
Look at it this way, Boilermakers. It’s not the day-after-Christmas pizza bowl. Some pick Purdue as a contender in the Leaders, but the schedule includes games against Notre Dame, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State and annual non-division rival Iowa.
LITTLE CAESARS PIZZA BOWL
At-large vs. Ohio — Dec. 26, 6:30 p.m., ESPN
By the time these guys pick, the Big Ten could be out of eligible teams. Penn State and Ohio State are not eligible, and does anyone really expect Minnesota and Indiana to win at least six games?
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football