MSU likely headed to Gator Bowl

There is no inside information to offer with this headline. Just math and logic and the reality of this year’s Big Ten.

The Gator Bowl, Jan. 1 in Jacksonville, Fla., is fourth this year in the pecking order of Big Ten bowl games. Representatives from the game were in Madison, Wis., Saturday to look at the Spartans.

Their overtime win over Wisconsin put them back in the picture for a decent New Year’s Day game (though, in this Big Ten, it’s hard to fall out of that picture).

Wisconsin is all but locked into the Big Ten title game and, therefore, either the Rose Bowl, Capital One Bowl or Outback Bowl.

Nebraska and Michigan, barring a collapse, are the other two programs that appear destined for the Big Ten’s top three bowls.

If Michigan State wins two of its final three games and gets to 7-5, anything but the Gator Bowl seems unlikely.

At 8-4, that’s probably still the destination.

The bottom line is no other bowl-eligible Big Ten team — beyond U-M, Nebraska or the Badgers — is a more attractive pick than MSU.

Perhaps if MSU lost to Nebraska and Northwestern, the Wildcats could be Gator Bowl-bound.

Frankly, there might not be any other bowl-eligible Big Ten teams after Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin, MSU and Northwestern. Minnesota, if it wins at Illinois, is the most likely sixth team.

That means, beyond the Insight Bowl (selecting fifth this year) and the Meineke Car Care Bowl, aka the Texas Bowl, (selecting sixth), the Big Ten probably won’t be able to fill out its bowl roster.

The Gator Bowl is a noon kickoff on New Year’s Day on ESPN2, against the sixth selection from the SEC. That’s going to be a fairly solid football team, along the lines of South Carolina or more likely Texas A&M or Mississippi State.

The South Carolina matchup with MSU would obviously have the appealing story line of Mark Dantonio facing his alma mater.

We’re getting ahead of ourselves here, though not that far ahead. The Gator Bowl, with three games left, looks like a pretty safe bet.

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18 Responses to MSU likely headed to Gator Bowl

  1. avatar MSU Own Denard says:

    Well if the Gator Bowl accepted a mediocre 7-5 scUM team 2 years ago (which lost to a good but not great miss st team 52-10 but could have been much worse), they sure as hell would take a 7-5 or 8-4 MSU team this year…

  2. avatar Jason Aikens says:

    What about Iowa? If they can get bowl eligible wouldn’t they trump MSU with their traveling fan base?

    • avatar MSU Own Denard says:

      Iowa might not win another game, but they’re probably headed to the car care bowl on dec 28th

    • avatar Graham Couch says:

      I don’t know if Iowa gets to six wins. My concern if I’m the Gator Bowl is also about having a competitive game. Iowa may have beaten the Spartans, but which defense would you rather have to stand up against a solid SEC club? It’s no contest. And I’m not sure Iowa’s fan base is enthused by this team. Mostly, the Hawkeyes would probably be demolished by the SEC teams they’d face here. MSU’s defense, as it’s playing now, might keep the Spartans relatively in the game against anyone not named Alabama or Oregon.

  3. avatar GreenGuy says:

    At this point, any Florida bowl game (Jan. 1 or otherwise) sounds good to me. Having made the last three bowl games with family and friends, I’d gladly schedule another week on the Gulf coast and then cross the state for college football. MSU beating Nebraska and Northwestern might be a stretch considering the offense – but thoughts of Clearwater Beach in the mid to high 70′s give me reason to cheer this Saturday.

    In a previous post elsewhere in this blog I commented on how important a bowl game – and specifically the extra bowl practices – would be for this team/program. Critical areas for development include backup OL and DB’s – areas that need attention before the 2013 season.

    I can’t resist commenting on how frustrating it was (again) to watch this MSU offense BUMBLE along for :54 of uninspired, inefficient, and sometimes brain-dead football v. Wisconsin. Yes – this is Roushar bashing: in the first half alone MSU opened three series with a 1st down pass – incomplete – followed by running “power” – twice over RG and once over LG. In all three cases, the result was a 3rd and 10 w/ failure to convert. Don’t get me started on Nick Hill in the wide slot play-action reverse to the short side for an 8 yd. loss…purely stupid.

    Its harsh…but Roushar is inept as OC. The telecast announcers were even commenting around the edges of this reality at the end of the game. Between a struggling OL and Roushar…that’s a lot for this defense to compensate for and its showing.

    • avatar GreenGal says:

      Green Guy, go back on the couch and let me grab you another beer honey. I know, Roushar is inept, so am I, and so are the kids. Here, let me open that for you. The game winning drive against Georgia was inept, you could have done that sooo much better. Same with the the final two drives on Saturday. Why, if you were OC, we would have had 260 yards on the ground and 400 in the air….we never would have needed the two last drives.

      And if you were doing laundry, you’d be great at that too. “Oh Marshawn, go get daddy his slippers, his back hurts and he’s having trouble reaching his feet right now”.

      • avatar GreenGuy says:

        Oh GreenGal – thank you for slapping me back to reality…you’re right – the MSU offense has been AWESOME this season – the B10 championsip game and Rose Bowl await. Oh – I forgot…I don’t live in fantasy land.

        To paraphrase a line from RUSH’s Time Machine tour documentary: “to a genius, I’m no genius” – and I’m comfortable with that. In years past I’ve had the great fortune of having inside access to MSU football – practice pass access during the tenure of coaches Perles and Saban – so I’m fully invested in this program as an alum and 25+ year season ticket holder.

        Check the comments from the “professional” writers covering this team and this game – particularly comments re: the episode in the 1st half that ended with MSU moving backward from the WI 11 yd. line ending in a 4th and 33. I think one of the writers used the term “inept”…may I say appropriately.

        GreenGal – are you familiar with a classic holiday movie…National Lampoons Christmas Vacation? After “Todd” asks Clark what he plans to do with his chainsaw, Clark responds with a remark meant for Todd’s wife, “Margo”. From me to you honey.

  4. avatar MSU Own Denard says:

    MSU’s defense will keep them in the NEB game, not sure if we can score enough points, but against NW even our offense should be able to go up and down the field on them.

  5. avatar AtlSpartan says:

    Both Nebraska ans Northwestern will be tall orders unless Maxwell stays as hot as he was on the last drive and overtime. I’ll echo the earlier post, “I’d be glad to be buying beers for you guys in a bar at Jax Beach or the Landing.

    • avatar MSU Own Denard says:

      I’d think with our defense we can slow NW and with their defense our offense should move the ball enough for us to win. NEB is definitely a tall order, especially with Burkhead back for them.

  6. avatar James mcCulloh says:

    There are too many bowl games that reward programs for medicore performances an weak scheduling. 6-6 should mean you stay home like it used to. My rant isn’t directed toward the Spartans but the oversaturation of bowl games and scheduling weak teams.

  7. avatar dmbtierney says:

    Whatever bowl we go to will be in the South–Florida, Arizona or Texas. The first two aren’t bad destination sites. Dallas or Houston, however, are booooring! (Two of the biggest nothing there cities in the USA. Apologies if you live there.) Iowa looks six wins at best, so seven wins will probably mean Jax for us.

    • avatar Graham Couch says:

      I’d take Houston over Jacksonville any day as a city.

      • avatar hatrack says:

        dmb talking about bowl venues, not cities to live in and he is absolutey right about Dallas and Houston downtown environments. They Suck. Jacksonville at least has the river walk area.

  8. avatar Stategrad '71 says:

    State guarantees a bowl game with weak scheduling. Look at next year’s home schedule (EMU,Youngstown, Minn.,IU, PU, Western Mich.). Good grief! They locked up a bowl by scheduling those patsies.

  9. avatar dmbtierney says:

    Hey, Graham: there is one other way MSU can make the B10 Championship Game, and UM would not have to lose three more games for that to happen. If MSU, UM and Neb. all finished at 5-3 in the Division, there is a complicated tie-breaker that could favor MSU as long as the last two losses for UM and Neb. are within the Division. Still a long shot, but better odds than UM losing three more games.

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