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Wisconsin’s Barry Alvarez joined his Badgers football team at Disneyland on Wednesday as part of the traditional kick off to the week’s festivities leading to the historic game in Pasadena on Tuesday. They were welcomed by Mickey Mouse, who high-fived the head coaches. “I thought these days are over,” said Alvarez, who has returned to coach this one game for Wisconsin after Bret Bielema left for Arkansas. “It’s like a Christmas present for me.”
With the holiday here, we thought we’d look back at our 100 favorite photos from the 2012 Big Ten football season. There’s a lot of great shots from USA TODAY Sports, and we hope the gallery brings you some enjoyment this holiday season.
Sandra Dukes-US PRESSWIRE
Purdue will arrive in Dallas without head coach Danny Hope, who was fired after four seasons despite guiding the Boilermakers to a second bowl in succession. This is a chance to punctuate a second consecutive season with a bowl win, which hasn’t happened since winning back-to-back Alamo Bowls in 1997-98. And the Boilermakers arrive with some momentum, having won three in a row.
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Minnesota kicks off the first of seven football bowl games involving Big Ten teams when the Gophers face Texas Tech on Friday night. On Saturday, Michigan State plays TCU. On Sunday leading up to five Big Ten bowls on New Year’s Day, watch our “Bowl Preview Show” at 7 p.m. ET on BTN/BTN2Go.
Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Expect a tough, low-scoring defensive effort in this game. Neither team comes in on a roll, having lost four of their last six games. Needless to say, the season hasn’t gone as expected for either team as both opened the season in the Top 25. In fact, the Spartans were picked by some to win the Big Ten coming off consecutive 11-win seasons.
This is a battle between programs looking to ascend the food chain in their respective conferences. Jerry Kill is in his second season in the Twin Cities, rallying the program to its first bowl since 2009. The extra practices will help hasten the development of this rising team.
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Michigan was the highest-rated Big Ten team in the AP preseason poll at No. 8, but it was undone by youth, injuries and a brutal schedule. The offense struggled much of the season, getting little production from the tailbacks and an inconsistent effort up front in Brady Hoke’s second season in Ann Arbor.