Big Ten equals conference record with bowl bids for eight different teams
Park Ridge, Ill. â€“ The Big Ten office announced the bowl destinations for six more conference football programs tonight, including sending a pair of teams to Bowl Championship Series (BCS) games for the seventh time in the systemâ€™s 10 years. Big Ten Champion Ohio State will make a second straight trip to the BCS National Championship game while Illinois will take part in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1984. In addition, Michigan was selected for the Capital One Bowl, Michigan State will travel to the Champs Sports Bowl, Indiana will compete in the Insight Bowl and Purdue was chosen for the Motor City Bowl. Last week, Wisconsin was announced as the Big Tenâ€™s Outback Bowl representative while Penn State was picked to take part in the Valero Alamo Bowl.
The Big Ten will send two schools to BCS games for the seventh time in the 10-year history of the system and the fifth time in the last six seasons. Since the inception of the BCS in 1998, the Big Ten has qualified 17 teams for BCS bowls, more than any other conference. The SEC ranks second with 15 BCS appearances followed by the Big 12 (14), Pac-10 (12), ACC (10) and Big East (10). 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), 2005 (Ohio State, Penn State) and 2006 (Michigan, Ohio State). The Big Ten has won eight BCS games to rate second behind the SEC (9 victories) and ahead of the Pac-10 (7), Big 12 (5) and Big East (5).
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The Big Tenâ€™s eight bowl berths in 2007 matches the conference record set following the 2003 campaign. The conference 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 ninth straight year and 16th time overall. Including the upcoming bowl season, conference programs will have made 67 bowl appearances over the last decade (1998-2007) and 234 appearances all-time.
Ohio State (11-1 overall, 7-1 in Big Ten) advances to the BCS National Championship game for the second straight year and the third time in the last six seasons. The Buckeyes completed a perfect 14-0 season by knocking off top-ranked Miami (Fla.) in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl to win the national championship before falling to Florida in last yearâ€™s national title match. Ohio State will face SEC Champion Louisiana State (11-2, 6-2 SEC) in the 2008 BCS National Championship game which will be played on Monday, Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. ET in New Orleans, La. The Buckeyes are looking for their eighth national title and 34th championship for the Big Ten. OSU returns to New Orleans for postseason action for the first time since taking part in back-to-back Sugar Bowls following the 1997 and 1998 campaigns. The Big Ten Champions are making their eighth consecutive bowl excursion, including seven straight under head coach Jim Tressel. The Buckeyes mentor has won four of his last five bowl games overall, including BCS triumphs in 2003, 2004 and 2006. Ohio State will be playing in its 39th bowl, which is tied with Michigan for the conference lead, and holds an 18-20 record in postseason play.
Illinois (9-3, 6-2) returns to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1984 and will battle Pac-10 Champion Southern California (10-2, 7-2 Pac-10) on Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 5 p.m. ET in Pasadena, Calif. Big Ten Coach of the Year Ron Zook will look to lead the Fighting Illini to their first 10-win season since 2001 after the program collected only eight victories the last four seasons combined. Illinois has played in the â€œgranddaddy of all bowl gamesâ€ on four occasions with a 3-1 mark, including triumphs following the 1946, 1951 and 1963 campaigns. The Illini will be making their 15th bowl trip overall and first since playing in the 2002 Sugar Bowl. The school has posted a 6-8 record in postseason play, including victories in two of its last three appearances. The Big Ten has produced a 29-31 record in the Rose Bowl including a mark of 29-30 against the Pac-10.
Michigan (8-4, 6-2) will play in the Capital One Bowl for the first time since 2002 in what will be the final game in the storied career of head coach Lloyd Carr, who announced his retirement following the regular-season finale. The Wolverines will be challenged by the SECâ€™s Florida (9-3, 5-3 SEC) on Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. ET in Orlando, Fla. Michigan made three trips to Orlando over a four-year stretch following the 1998, 2000 and 2001 seasons to play in this event, which was then known as the Citrus Bowl. The school boasts a 2-1 mark in this bowl, including triumphs after the 1998 and 2000 campaigns. Michigan will take part in a bowl game for the 33rd straight season, which currently ranks as the longest active streak of bowl appearances in the country. The Wolverinesâ€™ 39 bowl bids are tied for the conference lead with Ohio State. Michigan is 18-20 overall in bowl games, including a mark of 5-7 under Carr, who has led the team to postseason play in each of his 13 seasons. Big Ten squads maintain a 9-8 mark in the Capital One Bowl, including victories in each of the last three years by Iowa (in 2005) and Wisconsin (in 2006 and 2007).
Michigan State (7-5, 3-5) returns to postseason action for the first time since 2003 and has been selected to play in the Champs Sports Bowl, which means both teams from the state of Michigan will be playing bowl games in Orlando, Fla. The Spartans will kick off a week-long celebration of Big Ten football in Orlando when they square off against the ACCâ€™s Boston College (10-3, 6-2 ACC) on Friday, Dec. 28 at 5 p.m. ET. MSU has made one prior trip to Orlando, edging Florida in what was then known as the Citrus Bowl following the 1999 season. The school has posted an overall record of 7-10 in bowl games with a mark of 7-9 since joining the Big Ten, including victories in two of its last three appearances. In his first year as the Spartans mentor, Mark Dantonio is looking to improve to 2-0 in postseason action after leading Cincinnati to a Fort Worth Bowl victory following the 2004 campaign. The Big Ten has produced a record of 1-2 in this bowl, including a victory by Illinois in 1999 when it was known as the Micronpc.com Bowl.
Indiana (7-5, 3-5) ends the Big Tenâ€™s longest active bowl drought by earning a berth in the Insight Bowl for the programâ€™s first postseason appearance since 1993. The Hoosiers will challenge the Big 12â€™s Oklahoma State (6-6, 4-4 Big 12) on Monday, Dec. 31 at 5:30 p.m. ET in Tempe, Ariz. Head coach Bill Lynch has boosted Indiana to its first bowl trip since taking part in the 1993 Independence Bowl. The Hoosiers have produced a 3-5 mark in eight postseason games, including a victory in this same event in 1991 when it was known as the Copper Bowl. Big Ten teams are 2-1 in the Insight/Copper Bowl, including a triumph by Wisconsin in 1996.
Purdue (7-5, 3-5) will become the second Big Ten team take part in the Motor City Bowl and will face MAC Champion Central Michigan (8-5, 6-1 MAC) in a rematch of a game earlier this season won by the Boilermakers in West Lafayette, Ind. The two teams will square off again on Wednesday, Dec. 26 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Detroit, Mich. Purdue will make its second straight postseason appearance and 10th in 11 seasons under head coach Joe Tiller, after taking part in only five bowl games prior to his arrival. The Boilermakers are 7-7 all-time in postseason action and join Northwestern as Motor City Bowl participants from the Big Ten, after the Wildcats were chosen to play in the 2003 event.
The bowl destinations for both Wisconsin (9-3, 5-3) and Penn State (8-4, 4-4) were announced last week and their opponents were revealed tonight, with the Badgers facing the SECâ€™s Tennessee (9-4, 6-2 SEC) in the Outback Bowl and the Nittany Lions battling the Big 12â€™s Texas A&M (7-5, 4-4 Big 12) in the Valero Alamo Bowl.