BOWL RECAP 2018: WEEK TWELVE - JUST BEAT NEBRASKA

By Mike Jones on November 20, 2018 at 2:00 pm
Jake Browning is very good.

© Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

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While the Illinois v. Iowa game was just getting started, the college football world was tuned into Ohio State v. Maryland, a game that was not only competitive, but tied at the end of regulation. With the Buckeyes going up 52-45 on their first possession of overtime, Maryland needed a touchdown and a extra point to force a second OT. They got the touchdown and then Matt Canada made the call to go for two and the win.

You can always argue about deciding to go for two and the win. In Maryland’s case, they’re 5-5, miles out of the division race and need a sixth win to make it to a bowl game. They’re at home, it’s Senior Day, and the program has had a “rough go of it” this season (not the fault of the players). The Terps don’t have a tremendous amount to lose by going for two and the win. If they lose, there’s always Penn State to try to upset for win #6. If they win, they’ve beaten a top 10 team at home on Senior Day and clinch bowl eligibility.

All things considered, I think it was a good call to go for two.  The play call, though, was a bit suspect. Freshman running back Anthony McFarland had rushed for an insane 298 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. 16th string quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome had completed less than 50% of his passes for 181 yards and a touchdown. Running McFarland probably gave you a better shot than rolling Pigrome out, only to have him misfire to a guy this wide open:

It’s the old question of whether or not you run Marshawn Lynch or you have Russell Wilson throw. Never have Russell Wilson throw.

Nebraska, a team that once lost to Troy, has now won four out of their last five games, following a 9-6 win over Michigan State. The same Michigan State that beat Penn State and Purdue. I don’t understand Nebraska…or a lot of Big Ten teams in general.

Purdue, a team that led Wisconsin 27-13 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game, somehow ended up losing in triple OT. Apparently, the Boilermakers moved the ball to the Badger one-yard line when they were up 24-13 and instead of going for it they opted to kick the field goal. Don’t really understand this logic as the Purdue defense couldn’t stop a nosebleed and sure enough, they gave up 14 unanswered points, allowing the Badgers to force OT. All sorts of overtimes later, the Badgers walk away the winners, 47-44. The Boilers will now need to beat Indiana for bowl eligibility.

Play football to win the game on offense. Don’t play not to lose on defense. I think we’ve seen that a lot this season, especially as Iowa fans.

Bowl Eligible: Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Iowa.

To Be Eligible: Purdue.

Queso Bowl’d: Maryland, Indiana, Rutgers, Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota.

With one game remaining in the regular season, it's also appropriate to talk projected standings. Yes, I have Ohio State winning the Big Ten. I don't trust Harbaugh. There shouldn't be any upsets and Iowa should beat Nebraska, leaving this:

Big Ten East Overall Conference
Ohio State 11-1 7-1
Michigan 10-2 7-1
Penn State 6-3 9-3
Michigan State 5-4 7-5
Maryland 3-6 5-7
Indiana 2-7 5-7
Rutgers 0-9 1-11
Big Ten West    
Northwestern 8-1 8-4
Wisconsin 6-3 7-5
Purdue 5-4 6-6
Iowa 5-4 8-4
Nebraska 3-6 4-8
Illinois 2-7 4-8
Minnesota 2-7 4-8

We'll talk Iowa down below.

The Rules

  • Four teams are chosen for the College Football Playoff and six bowls rotate for the semifinals: Rose, Sugar, Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, and Peach. The bowls hosting the semifinals this year are the Orange Bowl and the Cotton Bowl.
  • The National Championship will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California on January 7th, 2019.
  • As the Rose Bowl is not hosting a semifinal, if the Big Ten Champion is selected for the College Football Playoff, the next highest ranked team by the CFB Playoff Committee, or the runner-up, will be selected for the Rose Bowl.
  • The highest-ranked champion from the Group of Five mid-majors (AAC, C-USA, MAC, MWC, Sun Belt) is guaranteed a spot in the non-playoff bowls if they fail to make the playoff.
  • The Big Ten has a six-year contract with the eight non-playoff bowl games (through the 2019 season). The Big Ten has an eight-year contract with the Pinstripe Bowl (through 2021).
  • The non-playoff bowls are broken down into three tiers. Tier 1: Holiday, Citrus and Outback. Tier 2: Pinstripe, Music City/TaxSlayer, and Redbox (formerly known as the Foster Farms Bowl). Tier 3: Quick Lane and First Responder (formerly known as the Heart of Dallas Bowl)/Armed Forces.
  • As the Orange Bowl is a CFB Playoff Bowl, the Citrus Bowl will feature a Big Ten team this season.
  • The Music City/TaxSlayer and First Responder/Armed Forces Bowls supposedly alternate each year. I’ve been doing this for a while and that’s the “official” line I always get. Despite this, an ACC team has played in the TaxSlayer Bowl for two straight seasons telling me that there really aren’t any hard and fast rules when it comes to bowl selections. It’s all about straight cash, homie.  
  • Iowa has played in the following bowls since 2010: Insight, Outback, TaxSlayer, Rose, Outback, and Pinstripe.

Media Projections:

247 Sports: Holiday, vs. Washington

Bleacher Report: Holiday, vs. Washington

CBS Sports: Holiday, vs. Washington

ESPN (Mitch Sherman): Holiday, vs. Utah

ESPN (Kyle Bonagura): Holiday, vs. Washington

SBNation: Holiday, vs. Utah

Sporting News: Holiday, vs. Washington

Sports Illustrated: Holiday, vs. Washington (Beware autoplay videos on SI.com)

USA Today: Holiday, vs. Stanford

Iowa’s biggest competitors for bowls appear to be Penn State, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Purdue. Penn State is currently ranked 14th in the College Football Playoff rankings so assuming they beat Maryland, they’re a candidate for a New Year’s Six Bowl. As the loser of the Big Ten Championship Game, Northwestern will probably go to the Citrus Bowl. Wisconsin played in the Holiday Bowl a couple years ago and is having an even worse season than the Hawkeyes. Purdue will probably be looking for a new coach (PLZ PLZ PLZ). For those reasons, if the Hawkeyes just beat Nebraska, going to the Holiday Bowl makes sense.

Of course, nothing makes sense so I’ll probably see you guys in Tampa (or Jacksonville).

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