The Big Ten: diminishing the meaning of “New Year’s Day Bowl” since the last round of bowl contracts. Everyone gets a prominent forum.
Gator Bowl: Tickets for this game were going for $2.25 on StubHub, the lowest of any bowl game. Mississippi State started 7-0, then lost four of five against the tough part of their schedule. Northwestern went 9-3, losing to Nebraska and Michigan by a combined one point in regulation. This game is about even. Mississippi State can be run on. The Big Ten has to win one of these. [Pick: Northwestern -1]
Heart of Dallas Bowl: Purdue closed with three-straight wins to make a bowl game. Those wins were against Iowa (by a field goal), Illinois (by a field goal) and Indiana. Entering 2012 with his most talented team since arriving, those wins were not enough to save Danny Hope’s job. Oklahoma State fell off a bit from last year, though going 5-4 in the Big 12 with freshmen quarterbacks was no small feat. The Cowboys were No. 1 in yards per play offense. OSU is clearly the better team, though that is spread seems high for a bowl game. [Pick: Purdue +17]
[Photo via USA Today Sports]