Illinois raced out to 6-0 start and a national this season only to lose the next six games before Ron Zook was dismissed as head coach. The Fighting Illini (6-6) take on UCLA (6-7) in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at 3:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 31. Like Illinois, UCLA fired their head coach this season. BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart breaks down the game, gives his keys and offers his prediction. See it all in this post and find the entire 2011-12 bowl schedule.
Northwestern makes a school-record fourth straight bowl trip when it plays Texas A&M at noon ET Dec. 31 in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas. BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart breaks down the game, gives his keys and offers his prediction. See it all in this post. Also, view our entire 2011-12 bowl schedule.
Iowa fell to Oklahoma 31-14 in Friday night’s Insight Bowl and the Hawkeyes really missed RB Marcus Coker, who was suspended earlier this month for breaking team rules. Coker was the nucleus of the Hawkeye attack, ranking 14th in the nation in rushing (115.3 ypg) with 15 touchdowns. Iowa went with a running back-by-committee approach that had mixed results, running 37 times for 76 yards (2.1 ypc). My pregame prediction was Oklahoma 34-21 – not too shabby – but I also learned a few things from this game.
Blake Bell ran for three touchdowns to help No. 19 Oklahoma survive a late rally and a crashing camera to beat Iowa 31-14 in the Insight Bowl Friday night. Iowa (7-6) fell into a 21-0 hole before rallying behind two touchdown passes from James Vandenberg. The Hawkeyes came up just short and dodged a potential disaster when an overhead camera crashed to the field next to receiver Marvin McNutt in the closing minutes (see photos of the crashed camera). Jump inside for links to stats and recaps for each quarter of the Insight Bowl.
News that three Illinois assistant coaches may boycott Saturday’s Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl is disappointing, as reported late Friday by the Chicago Tribune. Joe Gilbert, Chip Long and Jeff Brohm may not coach in the bowl against UCLA on Saturday because they claim they were unaware that they had signed one-year deals. Instead, the trio says it had been told it had inked two-year contracts.
LOS ANGELES — It’s good to be Bret Bielema, the Wisconsin football coach who is riding a wave of success that has seen him and the Badgers win consecutive Big Ten titles. And off field, life is even better, as the long-time bachelor is going to get married in March.
Last year, Wisconsin saw defensive coordinator Dave Doeren leave for the Northern Illinois job prior to the Rose Bowl. This year, the Badgers are in a similar situation: offensive coordinator Paul Chryst will leave after Monday’s Rose Bowl to take the Pitt job. But like Doeren, Chryst has remained with Wisconsin for the Rose Bowl. There’s still work to do.