On “Conference Championship Saturday,” the Wisconsin Badgers dream season came to a halt. They entered the Big Ten title game unbeaten, taking on Ohio State, a team that already had two losses on the year. After an injury scare the week before, Buckeye quarterback and NFL draft prospect J.T. Barrett was deemed fit to play, and he certainly did. He wasn’t great, but he did just enough. The Buckeyes got a big night from running back J.K. Dobbins, to the tune of 17 carries for 174 yards with a long of 77. The same question that always haunts the Badgers is the same question that took them out of the college football playoff in this game- They pad their record against inferior opponents, and every time (or almost every time,) they play a good team, they wind up losing. That was the case again this time. The Badgers then missed out on the college football playoff, and will play in the Orange Bowl on December 30 against Miami. The question that faces the Badgers is the same question that they always face when they step outside of conference to play a team in Florida, the SEC, or a California-based PAC-12 team. Do they have enough speed as a team to keep up with their opponent?
Final Score: 34-27 Miami.
Let’s take a look at the other Big Ten bowl games.
Pinstripe Bowl – Iowa vs. Boston College
Another year, and another solid season for the Hawkeyes, who finished 7-5. Boston College, after an abysmal 2016 campaign, came back from the dead this season, finishing 7-5. It should be a low scoring, but solid game.
Final Score: 20-16 Iowa.
Holiday Bowl, – Michigan State vs. Washington State
Man, these Holiday Bowl matchups are always so much fun, and this edition will be no different. In this one we have the powerhouse Washington State offense vs the mighty Spartan defense. Who budges first?
Final Score: 27-24 Michigan State
Music City Bowl – Northwestern vs. Kentucky
Of all of the Big Ten bowl games, this one should be one of the least interesting. This is one of Pat Fitzgerald’s best Northwestern teams ever, and it features a quarterback draft prospect named Clayton Thorson who has come flying out of nowhere to a potential first round projection.
Final Score: 34-17 Northwestern
Cotton Bowl, USC vs. Ohio State
This game is going to be a classic. The top overall prospect on the board, USC quarterback Sam Darnold goes up against Ohio State. J.T. Barrett isn’t too shabby in his own right, and this game will give him an opportunity build his own draft stock.
Final Score: 31-28 USC
Fiesta Bowl – Washington vs. Penn State
This is going to be another classic. Washington quarterback Jake Browning, another in this loaded quarterback draft class, gets one more chance to improve his draft stock against Penn State, who features the best running back in the country, Saquon Barkley, who is currently projected to go second in the draft behind USC’s Sam Darnold.
Final Score: 30-24 Washington
Outback Bowl, Michigan vs. South Carolina
Simply put, these two teams are going to beat each other into an oblivion in this game, and points will be at a premium.