The season has finally come to a close, I know the Illini faithful are happy to hear that. Many other schools more fortunate than us have high hopes for postseason play. Wisconsin was in my projections for the college football playoff, you can read that here.
As for the rest of the B1G many schools are still hoping they get the chance to play on New Year’s Day. Several schools are happy to be back in postseason play. Boilermakers faithful should probably give Jeff Brohm a nice Christmas card this year.
The Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl (Jan 1st)- Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Miami Hurricanes
Ohio State made a heck of a run this season but the two losses they incurred will likely be enough to keep them out of the playoff. That being said this would be a very exciting match-up. Pitting JT Barrett against that high intensity defense in Miami would make for some definite fireworks. Miami could still make the playoff if they can overcome Clemson in the ACC championship but that is a tall task and I would put my money with the Tigers in that game.
TCU gets a fun draw playing Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship. Should they win or lose they are likely in position to play in a major bowl game. TCU’s defense has been scary good this season allowing an average of just 15.7 ppg. Penn State has shown they are one of the most well rounded teams in the country this season. Expect Saquon Barkley to have a big game, he’s the type of guy to come out and show up big time to a major showcase such as this.
I have a bad habit of keeping old match-ups from the weeks prior on these bowl projections. Often times I put a match-up together and can’t help but salivate at the thought of those two teams going head to head. This is one of my favorite games i’ve picked so i’ll stick with it. Imagine Brian Lewerke and Mark Dantonio’s ball control style of play up against Mason Rudolph, James Washington and the high octane Cowboys offense. Who would control the tempo? Who could make the other team play to their strengths? Let’s all hope this game comes to fruition.
Many think that Jim Harbaugh and company underachieved this season but I beg to differ. Michigan fans need to remember the Rich-Rod years and cut Harbaugh a little slack, but hey, that’s just my opinion. Boise State has managed to be the best under-the-radar team in the country this year. If it hadn’t been for a heartbreaking loss to Washington State early, and a late let down to Fresno State, they would be among the nations few one loss squads.
Akrum Wadley ended the year with his second straight thousand yard rushing season and will graduate as one of the best Iowa running backs in recent memory. South Carolina will enter Bowl Season with the 27th ranked defense in the country and an 8-4 record out of the SEC to boast. This would be a hard-nosed grinder of a game. These two teams better be ready to enter into battle if this is the match-up they draw.
I think a lot of people thought Pat Fitzgerald would do big things in Evanston. Well I think it would be safe to say that he has. After going 26-12 in his last three seasons I think it’s safe to say Fitz and Northwestern have arrived. Mississippi State may have lost head coach Dan Mullen but don’t let that take anything away from the season they had. The Bulldogs and Nick Fitzgerald are going to want to prove they can do it without their former head coach.
Turning a program around in one season is a lot to ask out of a new coach, maybe a coach we know well could take notes from Jeff Brohm. Purdue went from the underbelly of the B1G to a bowl team in one foul swoop. Texas has been on the opposite end of the spectrum. They came into the season expected to compete at a higher level than they did. That being said I don’t have too much criticism for them, making a bowl with a freshman quarterback is tough to do especially in this year’s Big 12. Even if that quarterback is Sam Ehlinger.
Didn’t Make the Cut:
We wish all the best to the teams from the B1G in bowl season this year, but that being said there were an unlucky few teams that did not get the pleasure of being among the ranks of post-season contenders. Here is the list of teams from the B1G that didn’t make a bowl and their final record.
Minnesota Golden Gophers: (5-7)
Indiana Hoosiers: (5-7)
Nebraska Corn Huskers: (4-8)
Maryland Terrapins: (4-8)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights: (4-8)
Illinois Fighting Illini: (2-10)