Bob on the Big Ten
The Big Ten is sending seven teams to the football postseason and all of them are underdogs. Here’s beat writer Bob Asmussen’s look at the games involving Gerry DiNardo’s favorite league:
MEINEKE CAR CARE OF TEXAS BOWL
Minnesota (6-6) vs.Texas Tech (7-5)
Dec. 28, 8 p.m., Houston, ESPN
Jim Delany will be happy if ... Jerry Kill takes advantage of the coach-less Red Raiders and the Gophers get even for that awful loss in the 2006 Insight Bowl.
Jim Delany will be sad if ... the Texas Tech players coach themselves to another win against Minnesota.
Bob Asmussen’s call: Would love to pick N-G favorite Kill to pull off the upset. But the Red Raiders have too much offense and it doesn’t matter that an interim coach is in charge. Red Raiders 38, Gophers 14.
BUFFALO WILD WINGS BOWL
Michigan State (6-6) vs. TCU (7-5)
Dec. 29, 9:15 p.m., Tempe, Ariz., ESPN
Jim Delany will be happy if ... the Spartans look like the team that was supposed to win the Legends Division, scoring a win in the tastiest bowl game of all.
Jim Delany will be sad if ... a Big Ten team gets blown out for the second time this season at Sun Devil Stadium (remember Illinois loss to Arizona State).
Bob Asmussen’s call: After five consecutive bowl losses, Michigan State got an overtime win last year against Georgia. The winning streak continues with a 21-20 win against the Horned Frogs.
HEART OF DALLAS BOWL
Purdue (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State (7-5)
Jan. 1, 11 a.m., Dallas, ESPNU
Jim Delany will be happy if ... despite firing Danny Hope, Purdue extends its bowl winning streak to three games.
Jim Delany will be sad if ... Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle goes all Montee Ball on the Boilermakers, scoring five touchdowns and gaining 250 yards in an easy Cowboys win.
Bob Asmussen’s call: Darrell Hazell’s going to have to do some deprogramming after Oklahoma State’s 48-21 victory. The good news for Hazell is he’s getting big bucks and has a long-term deal.
Northwestern (9-3) vs. Mississippi State (8-4)
Jan. 1, 11 a.m., Jacksonville, Fla., ESPN2
Jim Delany will be happy if ... Pat Fitzgerald’s team builds a fourth-quarter lead against a good team and actually holds on.
Jim Delany will be sad if ... The Bulldogs play like the team that opened 7-0, not the one that finished 1-4, and hand the Wildcats another bowl loss.
Bob Asmussen’s call: Last time, OK only time, Northwestern won a bowl was in 1948. Until this game. Venric Mark returns a punt for a touchdown in a 31-21 Northwestern victory.
Michigan (8-4) vs. South Carolina (10-2)
Jan. 1, noon, Tampa, Fla., ESPN
Jim Delany will be happy if ... Brady Hoke earns his second consecutive bowl victory with the Wolverines. How’d they do it: “We’re Michigan” Hoke grunts after the game.
Jim Delany will be sad if ... Jadeveon Clowney starts his 2013 Heisman campaign early, sacking the Michigan quarterbacks eight times in a Gamecocks blowout.
Bob Asmussen’s call: It would be easier if the Wolverines would stop getting suspended. But they are still going to pull off the upset, winning 19-18 thanks to a gutsy two-point conversion call by Hoke. Spurrier plays 18 holes after the game.
CAPITAL ONE BOWL
Nebraska (10-3) vs. Georgia (11-2)
Jan. 1, noon, Orlando, Fla., WICD (ABC)
Jim Delany will be happy if ... Bo Pelini’s defense remembers that it is OK to tackle and the 10-point underdogs pull off a New Year’s Day surprise.
Jim Delany will be sad if ... The Bulldogs remember how close they were to playing for the national title and take it out on the Huskers.
Bob Asmussen’s call: Nebraska was bad in this game a year ago, getting stomped by South Carolina. Time for Pelini to regain the Nebraska fans, with Taylor Martinez leading a 27-24 victory. Martinez wins the game on a last-second touchdown pass to Rex Burkhead.
Wisconsin (8-5) vs. Stanford
Jan. 1, 4 p.m., Pasadena, Calif., ESPN
Jim Delany will be happy if ... Montee Ball adds to his touchdown record, running over Stanford’s defense and giving the Big Ten bragging rights over the Pac-12.
Jim Delany will be sad if ... Barry Alvarez forgets all of the Wisconsin plays and the Badgers suffer a reversal of the 70-31 romp in the Big Ten title game.
Bob Asmussen’s call: Alvarez is still sharp as a tack and he’s going to show it in Wisconsin’s 20-10 victory. Afterward, he’s going to wonder why he didn’t hire himself to take over at Wisconsin. And maybe the Chicago Bears will call, too.