The B1G Uglies. Bowling.
MSU QB Kirk Cousins
MSU QB Kirk Cousins
Posted Dec 30, 2011

CFN's Phil Harrison and Bart Doan bring you all thing B1G. Two Big Ten writers. Two different opinions. One of them always right. Sort of.


(i) What is the best B1G bowl match-up?

Phil Harrison:

That's a slam dunk answer--Wisconsin vs. Oregon in the Rose Bowl. If not for a couple of bad breaks here or there, both of these teams could be playing for far more than a bouquet of Roses. You could make the argument that the match up of the Oregon pace and speed vs. the physical Wisconsin balanced attack is the most intriguing contrast of styles of any of the big bowls. Add the spice of some Heisman/fringe Heisman players with LaMichael James, Montee Ball, and Russell Wilson, and there are sure to be fireworks in Pasedena. Both teams can score, and it should be about as entertaining of a game as you'll find amongst all the bowls. You add the pageantry, tradition, and back drop that is the Rose Bowl set at the hills of the San Gabriel Mountains and Picasso couldn't have painted a better masterpiece.

Bart Doan:

Is it the best game in terms of talent on the field? Probably not, unless you like mediocrity, in which case Iron Man has been out on DVD for quite awhile now and Katy Perry is still putting out music--Or at least her version of it. Both teams in the Gator Bowl pretty much stink as far as bowl squads go, but the names are big and the vitriol is bigger. We all know the story of Urban Meyer, but at this point Florida fans' disdain for the Buckeyes nearly rivals that of the Michigan variety. Expect there to be some chants of "41-14" if they can find a way to make something rhyme with it. There is no doubt that it will be an absolute circus. The bowl officials may need to bring the National Guard or Godzilla in to officiate the two fan bases drinking in the parking lot. It would be even more classic if Meyer showed up on the sidelines to watch his new club. On the field, it should be competitive in the same way two obese kids with terrible eyesight fighting in an ally is competitive. High emotions plus two teams that are fairly even makes for outstanding theater no matter the level. It's as can't miss of a game as two 6 loss teams can get.

(ii) What's your least favorite B1G bowl match-up and why?


How about the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl? The only thing this bowl will be fighting is the unemployment line. In fact, why don't we re-brand this one as the bowl as both coaches are on their way out the door with Ron Zook and Rick Neuheisel having already been given pink slips. You have one team in Illinois who has lost six straight, and another team in UCLA who stands with a record of 6-7 because of a get out of jail free card from the NCAA. Someone has to win, you're just not sure if anyone will be watching. That begs the question: If a bowl game takes place, but nobody watches, did it really occur? I'm guessing the ratings on this one will be somewhere between hockey on Versus and the reincarnation of Fear Factor.


It's gotta be the Ticket City Bowl. With the B1G title in a 1 game playoff, Penn State looked flatter than an open 40 of St. Ides sitting in the back of a pickup truck for a week in the Sahara Desert--mixed with Calista Flockhart. Okay, that was mean, but so was their performance to close the season against Wisconsin. This also will be the first time they've seen an offense quite like Houston, where throwing it "only" 50 times is considered "conservative play." On top of that, PSU's offense isn't good enough to really expose the Houston D. Toss in a little "last game of his college career" for possible 1st round draft pick QB Case Keenum and then glaze it over with a little more "win one for the interim coach who might not get another shot like this (think Ruffin McNeil)" and you've got a flat out pole axing coming (in all possibility). People will say that the contrasting styles will make for good theater, and I'd suggest to them that they must love Lifetime movies. It's an unfortunate pairing for a Penn State squad and coaching staff that mentally is probably worn out.

(iii) What every B1G fan should be talking about this bowl season, but isn't?


The chance to make some hay in the national respect meter. There are quite a few games that--if they go the Big Ten's way, would be a feather for the cap of the conference. You have the previously mentioned Rose Bowl with Wisconsin vs. Oregon, MSU vs. Georgia in the Outback, Iowa vs. Oklahoma in the Insight, and the Gator Bowl with Ohio State vs. Florida (aka the Urban Bowl). All are either the big, bad SEC, or against a brand name opponent with a pedigree. If the Big Ten wants to lay down its hand and rake in the all-in chips, it needs to make a statement in some of these games and start a positive trend in bowl games--not just have a flash in the pan year like a couple years ago.


Soon, bowl games will be over, and the ardent fans will be left to wait with bated breath for spring games and preseason magazines--after recruiting season, that is. And an old friend is lurking around the top of every list of classes: Michigan. It would appear they're back to being a recruiting heavyweight, if only on paper, since recruiting is an inexact science. Take it from someone who coaches high school kids and sees it first hand. They change their minds more than their socks and less than their girlfriends on a weekly basis. So projecting greatness or "following them" on Twitter is both creepy and completely inexact. However, valid statistical data exists that suggests you don't play for national titles without consistent top 20 classes. Ohio State is putting together a good class as well, but after a few years of the Dark Ages in recruiting for Big Blue, it would appear they're a force to be reckoned with already. All that winning didn't hurt, you figure.

IN FOCUS: What they want for the New Year. And what they'll get?

The Hoosiers' New Year's Resolution....
Harrison: Anything...anything at all because beggars can't be choosers.
Doan: Gunner Kiel to miss his momma, and maybe a win over an actual FBS team.

And what'll happen....
Harrison: A New Year's Resolution that has no shot of gaining momentum.
Doan: None of the above, and a right to hang out with Akron for another 9 months as teams with 0 FBS wins in 2011.

The Illini's New Year's Resolution....
Harrison: Hasn't the New Year party already been thrown via Tim Beckman accepting the invitation?
Doan: Um...better coaching.

And what'll happen....
Harrison: A coach that won't make decisions with a magic-eight ball.
Doan: Well, the bar's been set pretty low, considering asking for better coaching that what Zook offered is like asking for a meal that tastes better than drywall mud. Toledo's Tim Beckman is in Champaign, and he'll add to death and taxes as lifetime guarantees with..."coaching better than Ron Zook."

The Hawks' New Year's Resolution....
Harrison: Jump in a time machine to go back to the years of Ferentz past.
Doan:Install pink locker rooms on for their opponents when the Hawks hit the road too.

And what'll happen....
Harrison: A Toyota Camry program that gets you from point A to point B but won't wow the neighbors..
Doan: None of that, and probably more abysmal road play next year.

The Wolverines' New Year's Resolution....
Harrison: To have more seasons like the current one, but consecutively.
Doan: It has already been partially delivered with sanctions for Ohio State, but the Maize and Blue could also use a top ranked recruiting class, and someone to allow the Rich Rod years to be removed from the record books.

And what'll happen....
Harrison: A whole lot of Urban Meyer making life difficult in many ways despite the sanctions.
Doan: It's looking good so far, but as far as Rich Rod goes--It's burned into memory like terrible Ryan Seacrest appearances through the New Year festivities.

Michigan State
The Spartans' New Year's Resolution....
Harrison: To win over a solid SEC team.
Doan: Bring Rich Rodriguez back to Michigan, and pronto.

And what'll happen....
Harrison: A competitive game against an overrated SEC team.
Doan: Angst. RR to Hoke is like going bald, weird Britney Spears back to the "Hit me baby one more time" variety.

The Gophers' New Year's Resolution....
Harrison: Build a good team to go with its new stadium.
Doan: Being referred to as "ground squirrels" and living 2-3 years max isn't that great, so a change in perception.

And what'll happen....
Harrison: An increased focus on snow removal in its new stadium.
Doan: We're believers...that it'll snow in Minnesota. As for the football team...2-3 years. Sounds like when they might actually see a bowl game

The ‘Huskers' New Year's Resolution....
Harrison: Bring the black shirts back!!
Doan: Bring back Iowa State, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, Kansas State...

And what'll happen....
Harrison: The black shirts in layaway.
Doan: More loot per year from the conference, but more work for it. The deceased Big 12 North was the empty half of a Ruffles bag and the Legends is the actual part with chips.

The ‘Cats' New Year's Resolution....
Harrison: A win in a bowl game against a quality opponent.
Doan: Pre-2010 Dan Persa Achillies. And more time to study for finals.

And what'll happen....
Harrison: A dissertation and/or book report on the economics of a bowl game.
Doan: A mediocre bowl game with the promise of at least being able to break out the cheer "Two, four, six, eight, you'll all work for us one day!"

Ohio State
The Bucks' New Year's Resolution....
Harrison: To play a game of hide and seek with the NCAA.
Doan A time machine to convince T. Pryor to go to Michigan instead.

And what'll happen....
Harrison: Nothing close..There you are! The NCAA has found the Buckeyes crouched in the closet and levied a bowl ban. Sorry Urban.
Doan: A nice salty bowl ban, scholarship losses, and a game against 50,000 ornery Florida fans.

Penn State
The Lions' New Year's Resolution....
Harrison: Justice for the victims of a sad, sad, scandal.
Doan: More favors than Christmas elves can make.

And what'll hapen....
Harrison: Justice for the victims of a sad, sad, scandal.
Doan: Football futility to go along with school, town, and nation-wide embarrassment. Just disgraceful.

The Boilers' New Year's Resolution....
Harrison: They'll have what Illini are having.
Doan: Speaking of disgraceful... Better looking girls on campus, and more of them. Kidding. Sort of. And another guy with a fierce mustache to bring the program back.

And what'll happen....
Harrison: More Hope than anyone could ask for.
Doan: Another year of Danny Hope, who isn't awful, but doesn't have the panache of Joe Tiller, who completely gave that program an identity and had the best ‘stache since Selleck in "Mr. Baseball." And of course, more torn knee ligaments.

The Badgers' New Year's Resolution....
Harrison: A Rose Bowl win.
Doan: Correct two specific defensive plays from earlier in the year.

And what'll happen....
Harrison: A tour of Rodeo Drive.
Doan: Same thing we all get when we ask for our college years back. Nun-ya.

Follow Phil on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN and Bart @Bart_CFN