Bowl Games 2012: Part 5

Happy New Year!

First, though, I’d like to correct an error in the previous post. Somehow I missed that Tulsa and Iowa State actually played each on September 1 of 2012. Whoops. For what it’s worth, Iowa State won that matchup 38-23. Now, back to our new programming.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Tuesday, January 1

  • Northwestern vs. Mississippi State (Gator Bowl @ Jacksonville, FL; ESPN2): I’m calling a narrow Northwestern victory here. This is mostly due to Miss State’s flop against Ole Miss in their last game of the season. If you lose 41-24 to your most bitter rival, how can you get up for a team wearing purple from the Big Ten?
    Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these two teams.
    Last bowl game: The Wildcats are making their fifth straight bowl appearance. They lost 33-22 to Texas A&M in last year’s Car Care Bowl. Miss State is making its third straight appearance. They beat Wake Forest in last year’s Music City Bowl, 23-17.
    Announcers: Bob Wischusen, Danny Kanell
    Fun facts: We’ve railed on the Gator Bowl here before, so this shouldn’t be a huge surprise:

    Gator Bowl prez: BCS needs to “wake up” and stop letting in non-AQ… … His SEC/Big Ten game is going for $2.50.
    — Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 18, 2012

  • Oklahoma State vs. Purdue (Heart of Dallas Bowl @ Dallas, TX; ESPNU): Against any other reasonably competent team, Purdue’s offense has struggled big time. I believe that Oklahoma State qualifies as “reasonably competent”, at least with their own offense.
    Previous meetings: Just one, the 1997 Alamo Bowl. Purdue won, 33-20.
    Last bowl game: Oklahoma State is making its seventh straight bowl appearance. In last season’s Fiesta Bowl, they beat Stanford 41-38. After missing a few years, Purdue is back for its second straight game. Last year, they beat Western Michigan in the Little Ceasars Pizza Bowl, 37-32.
    Announcers: Clay Matvick, Matt Stinchcomb


  • Georgia vs. Nebraska (Capital One Bowl @ Orlando, FL; ABC): Nebraska doesn’t just need to have a short memory, they might be well-served by having some lobotomies considering what happened to them in Indianapolis last month. This is a team that had Rose Bowl aspirations and fell completely flat to a 5-loss Wisconsin. Yes, UGA lost their last game too. But the circumstances were completely different, and I think they can get over missing out on the title game since they actually tried.
    Previous meetings: Just one, the 1969 Sun Bowl. Nebraska won, 45-6.
    Last bowl game: UGA is making their 16th straight bowl appearance, and notably blew last year’s Outback Bowl against Michigan State, giving up a large lead to lose 33-30. Nebraska’s making their fifth straight appearance and lost last year’s Capital One Bowl to South Carolina, 30-13.
    Announcers: Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer
  • Michigan vs. South Carolina (Outback Bowl @ Tampa, FL; ESPN): Michigan has surprised me in bowl games before. That said, South Carolina’s defensive line is just that good. Both offenses are pretty questionable, though, which may help keep this a close game late.
    Previous meetings: Two, and surprisingly neither was a bowl. South Carolina won the initial meeting in 1980 17-14, but in 1985 the Wolverines evened things up with a 34-4 victory.
    Last bowl game: The Wolviners are making their third straight bowl appearance. They beat Virginia Tech in last season’s Sugar Bowl, 23-20. The Gamecocks are making their firth straight appearance, and they won last year’s Capital One Bowl over Nebraska, 30-13.
    Announcers: Mike Tirico, Jon “THIS GUY” Gruden

5:00: Wisconsin vs. Stanford (Rose Bowl @ Pasadena, CA; ESPN): Stanford has a pretty solid defense, and it’s hard to see how Wisconsin will run over them the same way they ran over Nebraska. Remember, this Wisconsin team wasn’t some sort of sleeping juggernaut that picked it up late in the season. They lost their previous two games to Ohio State and Penn State before heading to the Big Ten title game. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Badgers still got their yards, but I will be surprised if they can consistently turn them into touchdowns instead of field goals.
Previous meetings: Five, with the most recent being the 1999/2000 Rose bowl, which the Badgers won 17-9. Before then, they played two series of home-and-away match-ups in 1959/1960 and 1995/1996. Wisconsin won all of those games, except for in the 1995 games they had a 24-24 tie.
Last bowl game: Wisconsin is making its 11th straight bowl appearance. They lost last year’s Rose Bowl to Oregon in a 45-38 thriller. Stanford, meanwhile, is making its fourth straight bowl appearance. They had their own thriller last season against Oklahoma state in the Fiesta Bowl, but they ended up on the losing end of a 41-38 game.
Announcers: Brent Musbuger, Kirk Herbstreit

8:30: Florida State vs. Northern Illinois (Orange Bowl @ Miami Gardens, FL; ESPN): Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for cheering for the underdog. (Today provided a good example, I picked against Vandy and Clemson but certainly didn’t mind seeing them win.) But I just cannot really conceive of a way Northern Illinois can win this game. For as much as I talked about the gap between the relative talent levels of GT and USC yesterday, this blows that out of the water. NIU is a good football, but their best win of the year came over Kent State in double overtime in the MAC title game. NIU played two teams from major conferences this year: a very down Iowa (that they lost to) and an awful Kansas team. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here saying that NIU has not faced an offense or defense like Florida State’s. That said, it is not impossible for NIU to win this game. FSU could come out flat. E.J. Manuel can be rattled, as was demonstrated in the 2nd half of ACC title game (or the Florida game for that matter, when he threw three picks). But despite all of that, I just really, really find it doubtful they will even be within two scores.
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these two teams.
Last bowl game: FSU’s longest bowl streak doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, as this will be their 31st consecutive bowl game. They beat Notre Dame in last year’s Champs Sports Bowl, 18-14. This is NIU’s fifth straight game. They beat Arkansas State in last season’s Bowl, 38-20.
Announcers: Joe Tessitore, Matt Millen