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The Big Ten And Bowl Games: Could Have Gone Better

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I'm on the record as saying that bowl games are stupid. They're a relic of a bygone era, and serve little purpose besides lining the pockets of bowl executives. They're also a poor measuring stick for determining if one conference is better than another. Unless you think one-off, neutral site games one month after the regular season ended have a lot of probative value. I'm not trying to say that the Big Ten is the best football conference in the country. Far from it. I just don't think the small sample bowl results provide prove much of anything.

But yeah, the Big Ten didn't do great this year. 2011 was undeniably a step up from the disaster of 2010, but going 4-6 in bowls isn't really something to be proud of.

Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl, from lovely Detroit, MI
Purdue Boilermakers 37 - Western Michigan Broncos 32

Purdue held on against a fairly frisky MAC team. The Boilers turned the ball over four times, but Western did so seven times. THAT'S A LOT OF PEPPERONI!

...Or something. Whatever. Let's go.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, from the actually lovely San Francisco, CA
Illinois Fighting Illini 20 - UCLA Bruins 14

I think it's probably for the best if all copies of this game were destroyed. Two teams with already fired head coaches gummed each other to death in a baseball stadium. Nathan Scheelhaase went for over 100 yards both passing and rushing, but that's about all you can say. Illinois won with only 326 yards of offense against the country's 88th ranked defense. Fun.

Insight Bowl, from the chain restaurant of cities, Phoenix, AZ
Oklahoma Sooners 31 - Iowa Hawkeyes 14

AIRBHG returned once again, as both Marcus Coker and Mika'il McCall both missed the game because Iowa running backs aren't allowed to use facebook or breathe or something. Even with both of them, Iowa probably wasn't going to beat Oklahoma. The Sooners had them in a 21-0 hole before they even got on the board in the fourth quarter, and by then it was too late.

TicketCity Bowl, from stupid Dallas, TX
Houston Cougars 30 - Penn St. Nittany Lions 14

Moving on.

Taxslayer!!!!!!!!!.com Gator Bowl, from the execrable Jacksonville, FL
Florida Gators 24 - Ohio St. Buckeyes 17

Neither team had more than 300 yards of offense. If we're going to get rid of the Illinois-UCLA game tape, we should probably ditch this one too. Horrible game between two impotent teams.

Capital One Bowl, from the 1998 of cities, Orlando, FL
South Carolina Gamecocks 30 - Nebraska Cornhuskers 13

The Huskers came out great guns forward in the first quarter, but were shut out in the final three. Kind of weird how playing a one dimensional offense against a very good defense like South Carolina's can backfire, no? The game was actually pretty close until Carolina scored twice in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. Oh, and this happened.

Outback Bowl, from the giant strip club known as Tampa, FL
Michigan St. Spartans 33 - Georgia Bulldogs 30 (3OT)

Playing for field goals is a winning strategy. Just ask Mark Richt.

Michigan State didn't play their best game of the year by any stretch, but they took advantage of sloppy play on the part of Georgia to get back in the game.

Rose Bowl, from the quite lovely Pasadena, CA
Oregon Ducks 45 - Wisconsin Badgers 38

Everyone's prediction of "Whoever has the ball last wins!" was almost right. Then Oregon's defense had to go and mess things up by holding Wisconsin's offense scoreless in the fourth quarter. Both offenses put on an absolute show in this game. I would pay good money to see this game made into a best of seven series.

Allstate Sugar Bowl, from the delightfully filthy New Orleans, LA
Michigan Wolverines 23 - Virginia Tech Hokies 20 (OT)

Michigan had 184 yards of offense and won the game. Denard Robinson was held to 13 yards rushing. How did they win then? Well, because they are apparently immune to penalties, and because Virginia Tech was calling plays like they didn't know they had a 6'6" battering ram for a quarterback. Also, was this a touchdown by Danny Coale?


I'm still not sure, but I kind of think it was. Coale was probably the star of the night. Not just because of that. He had 117 yards receiving, and also was responsible for the single greatest fake punt DERP of all time.

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