Northwestern was looking to put an exclamation point on a standout 10-win season by dumping an SEC team. It didn’t happen for what has been one of the nation’s most surprising teams that opened 2015 with a win vs. Pac-12 champ Stanford. [ MORE: BOWL SCHEDULE | AP RECAP | BOX | PLAY-BY-PLAY ] The Wildcats lacked the big-play ability on offense to keep pace vs. the athletic Volunteers, one of the SEC’s fast-rising programs under Butch Jones that closed the year with six wins in a row in what was the largest margin of victory in Outback Bowl history.
So many storylines dominated the Cotton Bowl matchup. Michigan State was making its first playoff appearance coming off a Big Ten title. Alabama was here last year, getting upset as the No. 1 seed by Ohio State, which went on to win the championship. Protégé (Mark Dantonio) was trying to beat mentor (Nick Saban). On it went. [ MORE: BOWL SCHEDULE | GALLERY | AP RECAP | BOX | PLAY-BY-PLAY ] In the end, it was all Alabama, which cruised to a 38-0 victory at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. BEST OF THE COTTON BOWL Best play: There were none
BTN.com's Tom Dienhart talked to some assistant football coaches who took on Alabama this season to get an insider's scouting report on the Crimson Tide offense and defense ahead of Michigan State's game in the Cotton Bowl. Here's what those coaches told our senior writer.
When Michigan State takes on Alabama tonight, we'll all be watching closely. BTN.com's Tom Dienhart suggests we keep an eye out for these five keys the Spartans need to unlock the Crimson Tide and advance to the title game. You know this already, but none of them will come easily.
BTN.com's Tom Dienhart is watching every Big Ten bowl game, and on Wednesday night he rolled out his assessment of Wisconsin's impressive 23-21 win over No. 25 USC in the Holiday Bowl. See his grades and his overall take in this post.
Minnesota had lost seven bowls in a row, which tied Ball State for the longest active postseason losing skein. [ MORE: BOWL SCHEDULE | AP RECAP | BOX | PLAY-BY-PLAY ] That drought is over with a methodical 21-14 win over Central Michigan. The last Gopher bowl victory was authored by BTN’s Glen Mason, whose 2004 squad beat Alabama in the Music City Bowl. Minnesota was one of three 5-7 teams in bowls. And, believe it or not, all three won their games. BEST OF QUICK LANE BOWL Best play: This one came complements of CMU freshman back Romello Ross,
Not all Big Ten conference schedules are created equally. And, that doesn’t make for a fair and level playing field when it comes to crowning a conference champion. But, no one said life is fair. Back before the conference expanded beyond 10 teams, the Big Ten had a nice cut-and-dried system that saw every school play twice—home and road. It was scheduling perfection. But as the league has grown, a round-robin schedule hasn’t been possible. Now, with a 14-team conference, Big Ten squads play five teams twice and eight teams once (four home; four road). And, depending on the rise
Nebraska was one of three teams in the postseason with a 5-7 record. UCLA also arrived in the Foster Farm’s Bowl slumping, losing two of its last three after looking like a contender in the Pac-12 South. [ MORE: BOWL SCHEDULE | AP RECAP | BOX SCORE | PLAY-BY-PLAY ] But it was the Huskers who got to end 2015 on an up note, scoring 30 consecutive points after trailing 21-7. The victory still didn’t give Nebraska a winning mark, as it finished with a 6-7 record–its first losing mark since 2007. The win also gives the program some much-needed
The first Big Ten bowl was a doozie, as Duke took a 44-41 overtime win vs. Indiana in a Pinstripe Bowl that featured eight lead changes. [ MORE: BOWL SCHEDULE | GALLERY | AP RECAP | BOX | PLAY-BY-PLAY ] It was the Blue Devils’ first postseason win since a Cotton Bowl triumph after the 1960 season, ending a five-bowl skid. The Hoosiers have now lost three bowls in a row, last winning the Copper Bowl in 1991. Indiana finishes 6-7 and still has not had a winning season since 1994. BEST OF PINSTRIPE BOWL Best play: There were some
Usually, a nine-win season is cause for celebration. But Wisconsin was tabbed by most to win the Big Ten West. Instead, the Badgers finished second in Paul Chryst’s debut as head coach. [ MORE: Full bowl schedule | Polls: Pick bowl winners | Best of the Bowls | Ranking the bowls | Big Ten bowl bags | Bowl storylines | Get all of our bowl coverage ] Wisconsin’s defense did its part all season, ranking No. 1 in the Big Ten in scoring (13.1 ppg) and No. 1 overall (267.1 ypg) under standout coordinator Dave Aranda. But the offense struggled