Top-Ranked Buckeyes to face Florida in BCS National Championship Game
PARK RIDGE, IL â€“ The Big Tenâ€™s two remaining bowl-eligible programs earned spots in a pair of Bowl Championship Series (BCS) games with Ohio State collecting a berth in the BCS National Championship Game and Michigan returning to the Rose Bowl for the third time in four seasons.
The Big Ten will send two schools to BCS games for the sixth time in the nine-year history of the system and the fourth time in the last five seasons. Since the inception of the BCS in 1998, the Big Ten has qualified 15 teams for BCS bowls, more than any other conference. The SEC, which is the only other conference to collect two BCS berths this season, ranks second with 13 BCS appearances followed by the Big 12 (12), Pac-10 (11) and Big East (9). The Big Ten also sent a pair of squads to BCS games after the following seasons â€“ 1998 (Ohio State, Wisconsin), 1999 (Michigan, Wisconsin), 2002 (Iowa, Ohio State), 2003 (Michigan, Ohio State) and 2005 (Ohio State, Penn State). The Big Ten tops all conferences with eight BCS victories in 13 prior appearances, while the SEC ranks second with seven BCS triumphs.
Ohio State (12-0 overall, 8-0 in Big Ten) will take part in the first-ever stand-alone BCS National Championship game which will be played on Monday, Jan. 8 at 8 p.m. EST in Glendale, Ariz., just one week after the Fiesta Bowl is played in the same location. The Buckeyes will play for the BCS national title for the second time in the last five seasons after knocking off top-ranked Miami (Fla.) in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3, 2003, to complete a perfect 14-0 season and win the national championship. Ohio State will face SEC Champion Florida (12-1 overall, 7-1 SEC) in the first postseason meeting between the two programs. The Buckeyes are looking for their eighth national title and 34th championship for the Big Ten. Ohio State returns to Arizona for postseason action for the fourth time in the last five years after winning the Fiesta Bowl following the 2002, 2003 and 2005 campaigns. The Big Ten Champions are making their seventh consecutive bowl excursion, including six straight under head coach Jim Tressel. The Buckeyes mentor has won four straight bowl games, matching the longest bowl victory streak in program annals since the school won the Rose Bowl four times between 1949 and 1968. Ohio State will be playing in its 38th bowl, which is tied with Michigan for the conference lead, and holds an 18-19 record in postseason play.
Michigan (11-1, 7-1) returns to Pasadena, Calif., for the third time in four seasons and will battle Pac-10 Champion USC (10-2 overall, 7-2 Pac-10) in a rematch of the 2004 Rose Bowl on Monday, Jan. 1 at 5 p.m. EST. The Wolverines lost to the Trojans following the 2003 campaign before being edged by Texas in the 2005 Rose Bowl. Michigan will be making its 20th appearance in the â€œgranddaddy of all bowl gamesâ€ with an all-time mark of 8-11 in Pasadena. The program will take part in a bowl game for the 32nd straight season, which currently ranks as the longest active streak of bowl appearances in the country. The Wolverinesâ€™ 38 bowl bids are tied for the conference lead with Ohio State. Michigan is 18-19 overall in bowl games, including a mark of 5-6 under head coach Lloyd Carr, who has led the team to postseason play in each of his 12 seasons. The Big Ten has produced a 29-30 record in the Rose Bowl including a mark of 29-29 against the Pac-10 before playing Texas following the 2004 season.
The Big Ten office announced the bowl destinations for five other conference football programs on Nov. 21. Wisconsin will make its second straight trip to the Capital One Bowl, Penn State was selected for the Outback Bowl, Purdue will make the Big Tenâ€™s first appearance in the Champs Sports Bowl, Iowa will travel to the Alamo Bowl and Minnesota was chosen as the first conference squad to play in the Insight Bowl.
The Big Tenâ€™s seven bowl berths in 2006 matches the second-highest total in conference annals, trailing only the Big Ten record of eight bowl participants established following the 2003 campaign. The conference also qualified seven schools for postseason play after the 1993, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2005 seasons. The Big Ten is sending six or more teams to bowl games for the eighth straight year and 15th time overall. Including the upcoming bowl season, conference programs will have made 66 bowl appearances over the last decade (1997-2006) and 226 appearances all-time.
Courtesy of the BigÂ Ten