Welcome to the B1G Bowl season! In previous years, we’ve previewed all of the season’s bowl games. This year however, we’re going to be looking at the Big Ten games and BCS bowl games. In other words, the only games you remotely care about. Your spinal column and eyeballs should thank us.
History: The Texas Bowl has a relatively short history, first coming into existence in 2006 as the Meineke Car Care Bowl. It replaced the now non-existent Houston Bowl that ran from 2000-2005. The game was originally tied to the Big 12, but rotated its other tie-in between the Conference USA, Big East, and Mountain West Conference. They also invited MAC member Western Michigan to play a game in 2008. Lately, the Big Ten has been its second conference of choice.
The Big Ten has visited the Texas Bowl the last three seasons and holds a 1-2 record. First Big Ten win came in their first appearance, when Illinois beat Baylor 38-14. Two years ago, Texas A&M won their last game as a member of the Big 12 conference by beating Northwestern 33-22. That was followed last season by Texas Tech picking up another win for the Big 12 by a score of 34-31. That win was over Minnesota, who now makes their second appearance in the game.
Well, howdy-do, Buckeye nation! Thanks for paying attention to my little neck of the sunshine state… hope it works out as well as last time Ohio State had a team out here. You know what? Since we’ve already got a visit scheduled to the Bay Area for September, what say we just go for the trifecta and come on back out this way in January. Multiple options for today’s soundtrack- Vintage, Old School, Hippie, Country, Top 40, Hip Hop, Rock. Oh, and I’ve got a great recommendation for a place to stay.
The college basketball season is winding down but that doesn’t mean that the excitement is too. More over time games, more losses, and more surprises continue to be story of the season. Duke kept the streak of Top 5 teams losing by dropping their game to Maryland. The Miami Hurricanes continue to turn heads and move up the polls and will most likely do the same this week after beating Florida State. The Big East and Big Ten are proving to be the two best conferences in the nation as they continue to beat up on each other. The week of games are becoming too much for me to wrap up in a paragraph so I will stop rambling so you can see how everyone did last week.
Here’s a look at the Top 25 Week Ahead and Week in Review:
1. Indiana (23-3, 11-2) Previous Rank: 1
Past Week: 2/10 @ (13) Ohio State, W 81-68 & 2/13 Nebraska, W 76-47 & 2/16 Purdue, W 83-55
Upcoming: 2/19 @ (8) Michigan State
So the Hoosiers lose and stayed number one this past week……No love to the Hurricanes. After knocking off Ohio State in Columbus they now travel to East Lansing to face a scorching hot Michigan State team.
2. Duke (22-3, 9-3) Previous Rank: 4
Past Week: 2/10 @ Boston College, W 62-61 & 2/13 North Carolina, W 73-68 & 2/16 @ Maryland, L 81-83
Upcoming: 2/21 @ Virginia Tech
Duke held their own on home court in college basketball’s biggest rivalry after beating North Carolina. They followed it up with a disappointing loss at Maryland. They hope to bounce back when they face Virginia Tech on the road. Read More
And then there were 4! While I love to sit here and talk about the Syracuse Orangemen falling from the ranks of the unbeatens, Christmas came a week early for me. Three teams lost their first game of the season - Syracuse, Illinois, and (No….I do not have my shocked face on at this one) New Mexico. In addition to these upsets, several other ranked teams lost at least one game this week. Some teams lost in surprising games and others to fellow ranked squads (I thought the madness was in March). Wichita State fell from the Top 25, as expected, and made room for Butler after their amazing win over Indiana. This week many teams take a very light schedule to spend time with their families and gear up for their conference runs. So, without further delay, let’s see what happened this week.
Here’s a look at the Top 25 Week Ahead and Week in Review.
1. Duke (11-0) Previous Rank: 2
Past Week: 12/19 Cornell, W 88-47 & 12/20 Elon, W 76-54
Upcoming: 12/29 Santa Clara
Duke spent their first week at Number One with easy wins over Cornell and Elon. Santa Clara visits Cameron Indoor this week but Duke should win this one easily. Read More
Even though the week featured many blowouts and easy wins, this week’s Top 25 has many changes to it from the previous week. Two teams dropped out of the polls, including a Top 10 team disappearing from the nation’s top teams. This week’s action also only featured one loss to any of the current Top 25 teams (it would have been two if Colorado decided to get off the plane in Kansas). The upcoming week only features one Top 25 matchup when (6) Florida travels to (8) Arizona but does feature some possible upset alerts (We’re looking at you Purdue and West Virginia).
Here’s a look at the Top 25 Week Ahead and Week in Review.
1. Indiana (9-0) Previous Rank: 1
Past Week: 12/8 Central Connecticut State, W 100-69
Upcoming: 12/15 Butler
Indiana cruised to a victory over Central Connecticut State but this week’s Butler team will be a tougher challenge for the Hoosiers
2. Duke (9-0) Previous Rank: 2
Past Week: 12/8 Temple, W 90-67
Upcoming: No Games This Week
The Blue Devils didn’t have any let downs after an emotional win against Ohio State in walloping Temple. This week they look to rest a little bit with an off week
3. Michigan (9-0) Previous Rank: 3
Past Week: 12/4 Western Michigan, W 73-41 & 12/8 Arkansas, W 80-67
Upcoming: 12/11 Binghamton & 12/15 @West Virginia
The Wolverines were challenged from time by Arkansas but pulled away in the end to defeat the Razorbacks. They travel to Morgantown to meet upset-minded West Virginia.
4. Syracuse (8-0) Previous Rank: 6
Past Week: 12/3 Eastern Michigan, W 84-48 & 12/6 Long Beach State, W 84-53 & 12/8 Monmouth, W 108-56
Upcoming: 12/15 Canisius
Syracuse continues the cream puff part of their schedule as Jim Boeheim works toward becoming the third coach in history with 900 wins.
5. Louisville (8-1) Previous Rank: 6
Past Week: 12/4 @Charleston, W 80-38 & 12/8 Missouri-Kansas City, W 99-47
Upcoming: 12/15 @Memphis
Not much to speak of with Louisville either, as they breezed past their two opponents this past week and Memphis probably won’t be much different.
6. Florida (7-0) Previous Rank: 7 Read More
After week one I am way down the list and am rethinking my position as an “expert” picker for this pool! Anyhow, as it is I do not have a choice because I drew the short straw in our last office meeting and the current status of our picketing union has caused me more work. My pay has been doubled by Mali, but my work has been increased three-fold… go figure!
Week one saw me going 2 and 3 as I grade things- here are the results for my picks. Keep in mind that I expect my picks to be spot on with regards to score, competitive level and who won!
As we move forward I have decided to format my choices into five titles, hope you enjoy it and if you have any suggestions of things you’d like to see just let me know. Here we go with the even weaker week two! Read More
I was recently asked to do a conference preview of the Big East for the upcoming season. Go ahead and laugh. We drew straws, and I got the shortest one, so here I am, writing about the Big East, a conference that only has eight teams competing in football. I know this conference’s football doesn’t inspire a lot of excitement, but hey, you never know, Louisville could come out and win a national title for all we know (doubt it). So now, with all jokes aside, I give you our Big East football preview.
Where does the conference fall in the national rankings – how likely are they to have a team in the Title game?
With the departure of West Virginia, Louisville is the cream of the crop in this conference. They are currently the only team ranked in the AP Top 25, and the conference has no ranked teams in the USA Today Poll. The Cardinals are coming off a 2011 campaign where they went 7-6. Yes, the strongest team in the conference was 7-6 last year, so that should tell you a lot about how the conference compares to others nationally.
Behind Louisville, the next best team is likely Cincinnati, a team that went 10-3 last year, but the Bearcats lost some key players on offense, including quarterback Zach Collaros and running back Isaiah Pead. Past those two teams, it’s Pittsburgh and everybody else. Expect Louisville to get the at-large automatic BCS Bowl bid come bowl season.
In terms of conference strength, I’m going to be blunt. It’s the weakest BCS conference. Put these teams up against any of the other power conferences, and it makes for an ugly comparison… there just isn’t any other way to put it.
Who is the best team in the conference? Who will play for the conference title game (if there is one)? Read More
The Ohio State Buckeyes and Syracuse Orange met in Boston this evening to decide who would represent the East Region in the Final Four. After a tight, hard-fought battle, the Buckeyes succeeded in picking up the 77-70 victory over the 1-seeded Syracuse Orange. Every single Buckeye contributed a key piece to this tough victory, but Jared Sullinger led all scorers with 19 points and 7 rebounds. He was followed closely by Lenzelle Smith’s 18 points, most scored in the 2nd half with the game coming down to the wire. On Syracuse’s side of the ball Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine combined for 29 points and a pair of rebounds.
Both teams started off hot attacking the paint with extreme aggression. That may have been a surprise to many who suspected the Buckeyes were going to have to use the long ball to attack the Syracuse 2-3 zone. However, as the Bucks had demonstrated against Cincinnati, they had learned well the methods of handling the 2-3 under the basket. Those lessons were proven valuable again as OSU was able to misdirect, and pass around, the Syracuse zone.
Unfortunately, Jared Sullinger was forced to sit with 13 minutes with two quick fouls. His second foul seemed to be a bit ticky-tack, but with the game being an intense back-and-forth affair, it was understandable that the refs were playing things conservatively. Thankfully, the Buckeyes have been forced on many occasions this season to play without him, which has been to the benefit of Ravenel’s development. He certainly put those skills on display tonight, demonstrating that he could handle the quality interior presence of the Orange.
With OSU’s best big sitting on the bench Syracuse seemed to press their attack into the paint even more. By doing so, they were able to force Evan Ravenel into a quick pair of fouls of his own. Matta, of course, responded by bringing Amir Williams into the game. Ultimately, the move hurt the Buckeyes. While Amir Williams is a very talented player, he is by no means close to a polished product. It was clear from his play on offense that he doesn’t understand as well as Ravenel and Sullinger how to attack the 2-3, nor does he move around nearly as effectively in the paint as the other bigs.