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Around The-Ozone Water Cooler: What Will the B1G's Bowl Record Be This Year?
By the-Ozone Staff

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Big Ten's bowl games were announced on Sunday night, so that got us talking on Monday about what to expect from the conference that is under more fire than a Bunsen burner. With only seven Big Ten teams bowl eligible, that means there are fewer possibilities to lose, but also fewer possibilities to win.

How will it all shake out? Here's what we think. How about you?

Tony Gerdeman – The fact that there are only BCS teams on the B1G's bowl schedule is actually a good thing, in my opinion. These games are usually lost by the team that wants to be there less, and no B1G team ever wants to have to play a MAC team in a bowl game. It's much easier for a Minnesota to get excited for Syracuse than it would be to get excited for Western Michigan.

Looking at the schedule, I think the Outback Bowl between LSU and Iowa may be the only game that the B1G absolutely cannot win, but then I've been surprised by Kirk Ferentz's bowl gumption before. Perhaps the question to ask is if playing Iowa is a letdown for the Tigers, especially when LSU will be missing quarterback Zach Mettenberger. A rematch between Nebraska and Georgia in the Gator Bowl features two teams with backup quarterbacks, but terrific running backs.

I like Michigan State against Stanford, but I know the Cardinal will have success down the seams with their tight ends. I'm looking forward to seeing Chris Borland chase down Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw, as both of those guys never stop fighting. I think it will be difficult for Michigan to get as excited to play Kansas State as Kansas State will be to play Michigan.

As far as the Orange Bowl is concerned, I think the Buckeyes are going to need to fix their secondary if they're going to have any shot to contain Clemson's passing game. They say a one-dimensional offense can be stopped, but I'll have to see it to believe it. Ohio State will be able to run the ball, but they'll need to be able to throw it to win. The Big Ten could win all seven of their bowl games, and they could lose them just as easily. I guess that's what makes for an entertaining slate of games. With all of that in mind, a bowl record of 4-3 is what I feel most confident about, and I don't feel confident about it at all.

Rob Ogden – The Big Ten won't be represented in the national championship game, but it does draw two nice matchups in other BCS bowls. Michigan State might feel like it's looking into a mirror when it faces Stanford in the Rose Bowl and Ohio State's defense will be tested against one of the nation's top offenses in Clemson in the Orange Bowl. The Big Ten hasn't won more than one BCS bowl game in a single season since 2009.

Luckily for the rest of the league, Wisconsin is done embarrassing itself in the Rose Bowl. Now the Badgers have the chance to do so on the Atlantic coast this time against South Carolina. Watching Michigan's Vincent Smith get leveled by Jadeveon Clowney - not so funny anymore to James White and Melvin Gordon.

SEC opponents for Iowa and Nebraska, as well. Luckily for them, they got the SEC teams that are without their starting quarterbacks. There's hope for Nebraska after all.

That fact that Michigan is playing in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl isn't doing the Big Ten's perception any favors.

Overall Big Ten bowl record: 4-3.

Brandon Castel – My initial reaction to seeing the Big Ten’s bowl matchups was: Really? That’s what the Big Ten has to deal with after all the muckraking the conference has taken throughout the 2013 season? Three SEC schools, Clemson and Stanford. That hardly seems fair. My second reaction was that the Big Ten might not win a game in the postseason, unless Ohio State and Michigan State really come to play. It’s difficult for me to think Nebraska is going to rise up and knock off Georgia as a valiant attempt keep Bo Pelini on solid footing in Lincoln. The same goes for Iowa’s matchup with LSU in the Outback Bowl That one almost seems like a practical joke to me. Like Mark Slive snuck it in there to see if Jim Delany or anyone else would notice.

My third reaction was maybe this will be the Big Ten’s chance to rise up and surprise some people, earn back some credibility for the conference. My fourth reaction was, no, the Big Ten is almost certainly who we thought they were. It’s a conference with two really, really good teams at the top and a bunch of mediocrity after that. Michigan and Minnesota hold the conference’s best chances to get a couple non-BCS bowl wins, which tells you what I think of those other matchups. Wisconsin could come to play against South Carolina, especially if Jadeveon Clowney is off driving his Chrysler 300 somewhere, but it’s going to come down to Mark Dantonio and Urban Meyer.

Are the Buckeyes and Spartans really as good as they appear to be? They’re going to be tested. I think Stanford is a team nobody wants to play right now. I know they lost to Utah and USC, but they’ve also beaten seven ranked opponents this season, including four teams ranked in the top 15 at the time. It’s a tough matchup for MSU because of the style Stanford plays, but the Spartans defense is for real and Connor Cook gives them a fighting chance on offense.

Patrick Murphy – Bowl season is the time when a conference can change or confirm its reputation and the Big Ten has a chance to do that.

There are three matchups between Big Ten and SEC teams and winning those games will give the conference a big boost. Iowa and Nebraska catch breaks as Zach Mettenberger of LSU and Aaron Murray of Georgia are out with torn ACLs.

The Cornhuskers have questions of their own to answer with Taylor Martinez injured, but they have had more time to work in the backups. Wisconsin has a tough game with South Carolina, but a winnable one if they can pound the ball and control the clock.

Michigan State and Stanford will collide in the Rose Bowl in what will be an intriguing game. Both teams win in similar fashion and it will say a lot about the Big Ten if their champion represents well in Pasadena.

Clemson will again challenge Ohio State’s pass defense in the Orange Bowl. Tajh Boyd – who easily could have been in Scarlet and Gray – has weapons that will stress this defense as much as any OSU opponent this season.

Those games, on or after New Year’s Day will go the furthest in challenging the Big Ten is weak opinion, but two more bowl wins wouldn’t hurt.

Michigan has a chance to show the nation that the way they played against Ohio State was how they could have played all year facing Kansas State and Minnesota should have a nine win season after their bowl game against Syracuse.

The Big Ten does enough here to go 5-2 in their bowl games, possibly raising some eyebrows but not changing perception too much.

John Porentas – Michigan State will out-Tresselball Stanford. Sparty has a Tressel on staff for crying out loud. Stanford doesn't. Each team is likely to kick three field goals. The one who also scores a touchdown will win, and that will probably be Sparty.

The Buckeyes will bounce back against Clemson. OSU's front seven will offset the back four woes. Also be looking for some new faces in that back four when the game kicks off. OSU defense to harass Tajh Boyd enough to help OSU win.

The Badgers coming off a loss will be nasty. They will handle South Carolina.

The Hawkeyes will hang with LSU, but in the end the lack of offense will cost them the game. LSU's defense will be too much for Iowa's vanilla offense.

If the Michigan team that faced the Buckeyes shows up against Kansas State they will have little trouble bringing home a win, especially with a healthy Devin Gardner.

Nebraska will head to Florida to take on Georgia in the Gator Bowl. They will wish they stayed home. Georgia will take care of the Cornhuskers.

The Gophers' defense will be better than the Syracuse offense. If they get any offense at all, particularly in the form of a running game, they should come home winners from the Texas Bowl. Gophers will win.

B1G with five wins, two losses.

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