Dec. 7, 2008
The Big Ten office announced the bowl destinations for seven conference football programs tonight, including sending a pair of teams to Bowl Championship Series (BCS) games for the eighth time in the system's 11 years. Big Ten co-Champions Penn State and Ohio State both earned trips to BCS contests, with the Nittany Lions returning to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1995 and the Buckeyes playing in the Fiesta Bowl for the fourth time in the last seven seasons. In addition, Michigan State was selected for the Capital One Bowl, Iowa was chosen for the Outback Bowl, Northwestern will take part in the Valero Alamo Bowl, Wisconsin will travel to the Champs Sports Bowl and Minnesota will compete in the Insight Bowl.
The Big Ten will send two schools to BCS games for the eighth time in the 11-year history of the system and the sixth time in the last seven seasons. Since the inception of the BCS in 1998, the Big Ten has qualified 19 teams for BCS bowls, more than any other conference. The SEC ranks second with 17 BCS bids followed by the Big 12 (16), Pac-10 (13), ACC (11) and Big East (11). The Big Ten also sent a pair of squads to BCS games in 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007. Overall, seven conference programs have taken part in a BCS contest, including Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin. The Big Ten and Pac-10 have each won eight BCS games to rate second behind the SEC (11 victories) and ahead of Big 12 (6) and Big East (6).
The Big Ten's seven bowl berths in 2008 rank as the second-highest single-season total in conference annals, behind only the eight bowl bids earned following the 2003 and 2007 campaigns. The conference also qualified seven schools for postseason play after the 1993, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2006 seasons. The Big Ten is sending six or more teams to bowl games for the 10th straight year and 17th time overall. Including the upcoming bowl season, conference programs will have made 69 bowl appearances over the last decade (1999-2008) and 241 appearances all-time.
Penn State (11-1 overall, 7-1 Big Ten) will take part in the Rose Bowl for the third time overall and the second time since joining the Big Ten in 1993. The Nittany Lions will battle Pac-10 Champion Southern California (11-1, 8-1 Pac-10) on Thursday, Jan. 1 at 5 p.m. ET in Pasadena, Calif. PSU fell to the Trojans in the 1923 Rose Bowl before returning to Pasadena following the 1994 campaign to defeat Oregon and complete a 12-0 season. Joe Paterno will make his 35th bowl appearance at Penn State and boasts 23 victories, both of which stand as NCAA records. Overall, the school has built a 26-12-2 record in postseason play, including a 9-2 mark since joining the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions have won their last three bowl games, including triumphs in the Orange, Outback and Alamo Bowls. The Big Ten has produced a 29-32 record in the Rose Bowl including a mark of 29-31 against the Pac-10.
Ohio State (10-2, 7-1) will play in its fourth straight BCS contest when the Buckeyes return to the Fiesta Bowl for the fourth time in seven years. OSU has now qualified for seven BCS games in the 11-year history of the system, which is tied with USC and Oklahoma for the lead among all programs. Ohio State heads to Arizona for postseason play for the fifth time in the last seven seasons, including Fiesta Bowl berths in 2003, 2004 and 2006 and a spot in the BCS Championship game, held in Glendale in 2007. The Buckeyes will face the Big 12's Texas (11-1, 7-1 Big 12) in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl which will be played on Monday, Jan. 5, at 8 p.m. ET in Glendale, Ariz. The four-time defending Big Ten Champions are making their ninth consecutive bowl excursion, including eight straight under head coach Jim Tressel. The Buckeyes mentor has won four of his last six bowl games overall, including BCS triumphs in 2003, 2004 and 2006. Ohio State will be playing in its 40th bowl, which leads all Big Ten programs, and holds an 18-21 record in postseason play. Big Ten teams have produced a 6-1 mark in the Fiesta Bowl, including a record of 4-1 for the Buckeyes.
Michigan State (9-3, 6-2) returns to Orlando, Fla., for the second straight season with a Capital One Bowl berth after playing in the Champs Sports Bowl last year. The Spartans will square off against the SEC's Georgia (9-3, 6-2 SEC) on Thursday, Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. ET. MSU will make its second trip to the Capital One Bowl, edging Florida in what was then known as the Citrus Bowl following the 1999 season. The school has posted an overall record of 7-11 in bowl games with a mark of 7-10 since joining the Big Ten. Head coach Mark Dantonio has led Michigan State to bowl games in each of his first two seasons on campus. Big Ten squads maintain a 10-8 mark in the Capital One Bowl, including victories in each of the last four years by Iowa (2005), Wisconsin (2006, 2007) and Michigan (2008).
Iowa (8-4, 5-3) returns to postseason play for the seventh time in the last eight years with a bid to the Outback Bowl, after missing out on a bowl last season despite a 6-6 record. The Hawkeyes will challenge the SEC's South Carolina (7-5, 4-4 SEC) on Thursday, Jan. 1 at 11 a.m. ET in Tampa, Fla. Iowa will make its third trip to the Outback Bowl, including a win and a loss to Florida following the 2003 and 2005 seasons, respectively. The program has produced a bowl record of 11-10-1 and has played in January in four of its last five postseason outings. Head coach Kirk Ferentz has won three of six bowl games with the Hawkeyes, including triumphs in the Alamo, Outback and Capital One Bowls. The Big Ten has produced a record of 8-11 in the Outback/Hall of Fame Bowl, including recent victories by Penn State (2007), Iowa (2004) and Michigan (2003).
Northwestern (9-3, 5-3) will also return to bowl action with a trip to the Valero Alamo Bowl after narrowly missing a berth last season with a 6-6 mark. The Wildcats will battle the Big 12's Missouri (9-4, 5-3 Big 12) on Monday, Dec. 29 at 8 p.m. ET in San Antonio, Texas. Northwestern will play in the Alamo Bowl for the second time after facing Nebraska in 2000. After making only one bowl trip in its first century of college football, the program will be appearing in its sixth bowl since the 1995 season. The recent bowl run was sparked by current head coach Pat Fitzgerald, who led the Wildcats to the 1996 Rose Bowl on his way to winning the Nagurski Award as the nation's top defensive player. Northwestern is 1-5 in bowl games, as the program looks for its first postseason win since the 1949 Rose Bowl. The Big Ten has produced an 8-6 record in the Valero Alamo Bowl, including recent triumphs by Penn State (2007) and Ohio State (2004).
Wisconsin (7-5, 3-5) will take part in the Champs Sports Bowl, the program's fifth straight trip to Florida for a postseason contest. The Badgers will kick off a week-long celebration of Big Ten football in Orlando when they square off against the ACC's Florida State (8-4, 5-3 ACC) on Saturday, Dec. 27 at 4:30 p.m. ET, to be followed by Michigan State playing in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1. Wisconsin will make its first appearance in the Champs Sports Bowl, but returns to Florida after playing in the Outback or Capital One Bowls after each of the last four seasons. Bret Bielema will make his third bowl appearance, including a victory in the 2007 Capital One Bowl and a narrow loss in the 2008 Outback Bowl. Wisconsin will take part in a program-record seventh straight bowl game, breaking the previous record of five consecutive bowl bids set from 1996-2000. The school has played in 19 overall bowl games with a 10-9 record. The Big Ten has produced a record of 1-3 in the Champs Sports Bowl, including a victory by Illinois in 1999 when it was known as the Micronpc.com Bowl.
After winning only one game last season, Minnesota (7-5, 3-5) returns to bowl play after a one-year hiatus by earning a berth in the Insight Bowl for the second time in three seasons. The Gophers will battle the Big 12's Kansas (7-5, 4-4 Big 12) on Wednesday, Dec. 31 at 6 p.m. ET in Tempe, Ariz. Minnesota's only other appearance in the Insight Bowl occurred in 2006, an overtime loss to Texas Tech which marked the program's school-record fifth-straight bowl appearance. In his second year as the head coach, Tim Brewster has led the program to the 13th bowl game in school history. The Gophers are 5-7 overall in postseason play, including triumphs in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Big Ten teams are 2-2 in this game, including victories by Indiana (1991) and Wisconsin (1996) when the game was known as the Copper Bowl.