Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Outback Bowl thoughts

Following up on Andy's comment to the original Outback Bowl post:

I think that's interesting too, since everyone has basically assumed that we're not going back to the Cap One Bowl for the third straight year.

Here's my fear: Missouri or Will's alma mater, West Virginia, loses on Saturday; Ohio State goes to the national title game; Illinois goes to the Rose Bowl; Michigan then leaps into the Cap One Bowl and not the fourth-tier bowl they deserve.

Whatever, I'm happy with Tampa. We've been there three times before: losing to Georgia in 2005 and 1998 and beating Duke in 1995 (see, basketball isn't that important - we beat Duke in football 13 years ago!).

Those were wildly uneven matchups. Following the '94 season, in which we had the talent to challenge for the Big Ten or national title, we got a Duke team that had overachieved and was outclassed. The first Georgia game followed a '97 season where we were pretty mediocre, undeservedly leapfrogged Purdue in the bowl pickings because our fan like getting drunk in Florida, then watched Mike Bobo turn into Joe Montana for one morning. The last trip was the culmination of a painful late '04 collapse, when we lose our last three games after starting 9-0, including the Tucson monsoon and Minnesota blowout on a perfect Madison November day that most of us were at. What I remember from that one is how much the media hyped the Erasmus James-David Pollack defensive end matchup, which was won convincingly by Pollack.

As I said earlier, I'd really like Tennessee to be the opponent, for variety's sake. Of course, the way LSU's games have been going this season the Vols could win Saturday, bump LSU to the Capital One Bowl, and bump Florida to the Outback Bowl. I'd be okay with that, too, although we're less likely to beat Florida than Tennessee. Trying to stop Tim Tebow would be challenging and entertaining, but they run the freaking spread, and you all know how I feel about that.

Don't know much about Tennessee, but pretty sure they run a man's offense. I'd rather face Erik Ainge winging it around back there than some magician/quarterback. Ainge threw for 2,900 yards and 27 TDs this year, they seem to have a number of capable wideouts, and Arian Foster is a 1,00-yard back. Will research more once the opponent is determined for good.

-Rivals announced its all-Big Ten team. Our first teamers are Travis Beckum, Kraig Urbik, Nick Hayden, and David Gilreath as a punt returner. Our second teamers are Matt Shaughnessy, Jack Ikegwuonu, Shane Carter, and Ken DeBauche. Good to see Gilreath get some pub.

-In the Journal Sentinel's Badger Blog Dave Heller today found that a Yahoo NFL Draft columnist thinks Wisconsin expects both Becks and Ike to return next season. I'm not so sure, but we would be looking pretty damn good if they did.


will said...

Fear not: I'm pretty confident that WVU will win this weekend and then defeat Missouri (if that's the matchup) in the BCS title game.

Now if Ohio State somehow makes it to the title game, things might be a little tougher. But if the Buckeyes couldn't stop Juice, do you think they can stop White and Slaton?

I'm happy with the Outback Bowl, and I think that most sensible Badger fans would agree with the selection.

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