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Sparty prevents Big Ten from going 0-for-January in early bowl lineup

Capital One Bowl - Nebraska v South Carolina Getty Images

Apologies for getting this post up a little late. We decided it would be easier to wrap today’s early games into one recap since there was a common theme — the Big Ten/SEC matchup  — but as I’m sure many of you saw, Michigan State and Georgia got selfish and went into overtime (aka “derp mode”).

Speaking of which, let’s get to the Outback Bowl first.

No. 12 Michigan State rallied from a 16-0 halftime deficit to defeat No. 18 Georgia in three overtimes by a final score of 33-30. The Big Ten can thank Mark Dantonio and crew for making sure the Big Ten didn’t go winless on New Year’s Day bowls (yes, we know it’s technically Jan. 2, but you get what we’re saying) for the second straight year.

Or, maybe they should thank Georgia coach Mark Richt, who decided to go conservative and take a kneel down to give Blair Walsh a shot at a 42-yard game-winning field goal in the first overtime.

It didn’t work out.

Walsh missed, and after three more field goals were swapped, Walsh had a 47-yard attempt blocked.

The Big Ten finally won a New Year’s Day game and can now smugly play THIS VIDEO of Kirk Cousins preaching the virtues of student-athlete’s responsibility with at least some sense of accomplishment.

The rest of the early games, though? Ehhh…..

No. 10 South Carolina appeared to have defeated No. 21 Nebraska just before halftime when receiver Alshon Jeffery reeled in a Hail Mary jump ball for a touchdown. The Cornhuskers didn’t score at all after the first quarter and lost 30-13. To add insult to injury, Jeffery was awarded the MVP of the game even after he was ejected for fighting with Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard.

It was just that kind of game.

Florida was able to hang on to beat Ohio State in the Gator Bowl 24-17. Neither offense was able to do too much — sound familiar? It’s pretty much been the story for both teams all year — but the Gators did avoid their first losing seasons since 1979. Ohio State, I’m sure, is ready to put 2011 behind them and get started with the Urban Meyer era ASAP.

And speaking of moving on, No. 24 Penn State is ready for a new era after getting knocked around by No. 20 Houston in the TicketCity Bowl 30-14. With Rob Bolden being asked to lead the Nittany Lions offense by himself, Penn State struggled early and couldn’t recover.

Nor could they contain Case Keenum, who racked up 532 yards through the air in his final game with UH.

One angle of Penn State’s game today is that the Nittany Lions are still looking for a head coach to replace Joe Paterno. Interim coach Tom Bradley has interviewed for the job, although we have no reason to believe he stands a chance at getting it.

Yes, it was a rough day for the Big Ten, which is currently keeping pace with its 39.4 winning percentage in bowl games since 2000. Wisconsin will have a chance to turn around the Big Ten’s fortunes at least a little bit tonight if they can get a Rose Bowl win over Oregon, but it’ll be the beginning of 2013 before the conference gets another chance to perform better.

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54 Responses to “Sparty prevents Big Ten from going 0-for-January in early bowl lineup”
  1. goblue714 says: Jan 2, 2012 6:02 PM

    Another year with all of our teams playing road games, this system is unfair to northern teams and the fans.

  2. woebegong says: Jan 2, 2012 6:06 PM

    Penn. State, please hire Bobo from us and make him your offensive guru. His nickname is Mr. I can’t change my rigid game plan or think out side the box and forget me ever adjusting to the game conditions. I will just watch my defense get wore down, trying to cover for my lack of innovation and ability to coach. UGA will not win big games as long as Bobo is there. I am left to wonder, why our head coach and AD can’t
    see it. It is time to let Barbra Dooley’s son in law go if UGA ever expects to be a winner in the big games.
    Please, please, don’t renew this guys contract. There are just too many good athletes at UGA to be coached on offense the way Bobo coaches the offense.

  3. deadeye says: Jan 2, 2012 6:19 PM

    Mark Richt blew it. A 42 yard field goal is no gimme. UGA should have tried to get at least one first down before trotting out a kicker that has missed 12 field goals this season. This loss is the coach’s fault.

  4. thefiesty1 says: Jan 2, 2012 6:28 PM

    They can always play in Detroit at Ford Field against a MAC team if it’s unfair to travel somewhere warm. They might have a better bowl record playing against comparable teams from the MAC.

  5. goblue714 says: Jan 2, 2012 6:36 PM

    We need a playoff pure and simple. A 1st rd home field situation, then have a true neutral field with equal distance for both teams, that’s fair to me.

  6. newguy3 says: Jan 2, 2012 6:39 PM

    “Florida was able to hang on” ? Come on, a late junk touchdown by os to bring it to 24-17 with 57 seconds left in the fourth is hanging on? No props to the gators offense, but this game was over early in the third. Note to muschamp, your oc choice will make or break you with the fickle uf fans and alumni.

  7. arrows80 says: Jan 2, 2012 6:40 PM


  8. lanzurrah says: Jan 2, 2012 7:40 PM

    Well, I mean…c’mon…it’s a basketball conference.

  9. stairwayto7 says: Jan 2, 2012 7:56 PM

    532 yards passing with 227 in 1st quarter? If I thre 69 times I am sure I coudl pass for 500+yards also!
    Also when will Florida play a non BCS bowl game outside of the state of Florida?

  10. spartaninnh says: Jan 2, 2012 8:11 PM

    @goblue714 Why did Georgia (the “home” team, from the state next door) lose to MSU, then, and in triple OT? didn’t they have a built-in advantage as a “home” team? Some teams win on the road.

    That is seriously one of the most ridiculous comments I’ve ever seen. Bowl games in the South are seen as rewards for Northern teams and their fans, who have a built-in excuse for a trip to the South as winter sets in.

    Win your bowl game, and you’ll be singing a different tune, methinks. But good to know you’ve got the excuse lined up if you lose to a pathetic Hokies team. Well done.

  11. watchfullhose says: Jan 2, 2012 8:32 PM

    Yea….I mean I can’t believe you would assert that OSU playing against FLA in the GATOR BOWL is some sort of “home” game for FLA….I mean, come on

  12. cyraider says: Jan 2, 2012 8:35 PM

    Lol big ten suuuuucks!!!

  13. polegojim says: Jan 2, 2012 8:41 PM

    Great Win by MSU – Sparty kicked that monkey off their back.

    The higher the level of play, the closer and better the games have been for the B1G. No hanging heads this year.

    Parity is a creeping beast…

  14. acieu says: Jan 2, 2012 8:42 PM

    Another Big 10 loss as Wisconsin can’t get it done. Most overrated football conference in the USA.

  15. thatobnoxiousguy says: Jan 2, 2012 8:44 PM

    The Big 10 is always the most overrated conference. Its no surprise each of their teams gets exposed at the end of every season

  16. takingbovadasmoney says: Jan 2, 2012 9:34 PM

    hmmmm. spartaninnh it sounds as if you s somewhat salty about getting a better bowl bid than you. don’t worry keep playing criminals like sims and linthicum and someday you too can be on par with notre dame, florida, and oregon!

  17. dkhhuey says: Jan 2, 2012 9:42 PM

    FINALLY this season is over – Jim Bollman – get you and your crap the F@#$ out of OSU! I do hope that the first thing out of Urban’s mouth tomorrow morning, after he shreds the current playbook, is to make this team run gasers and stadium stairs until they hurl. That was one of the most uninspired games I have seen in a long long time.

  18. zn0rseman says: Jan 2, 2012 9:47 PM

    First off, EVERY Big Ten team was facing a team ranked higher then they were, in most cases, much higher. Where is the snippy story about how come that keeps happening every year?

    Second, most of those games are essentially home games for Big Ten opponents. You move those games, like where OSU plays Florida to Wisconsin in the cold, with a rowdy home crowd, OSU would crush them.

    Third, the people who are claiming that having those game being in the same state as the opponents of Big 10 teams, is somehow a favor to them because of warm weather, doesn’t know diddly about football fans in the MidWest.

  19. goblue714 says: Jan 2, 2012 10:11 PM


    Your team wins one frickn bowl game in 12 years and now we all get to hear you run your mouth. I’m willing to bet you just recently jumped on the sparty bandwagon.

    BTW if MICHIGAN loses i’ll have no excuse other then va tech is just a better team, because if you didn’t realize virginia isn’t anywhere near louisiana.

    I do feel the bowl system is unfair and outside of the NC game all the other games are glorified scrimmages to make money.

  20. warhawk04 says: Jan 2, 2012 10:39 PM

    Bad outing today for the big ten but does it really make them overrated. Michigan state beat Georgia. Psu lost to Houston but Houston had the better ranking. Wisconsin lost to Oregon who had a better ranking. Nebraska lost to south Carolina who had a better ranking. Osu had a down year and lost to Florida, who was favored. Bad year for the big ten in the bowls, but to say they were overrated is kind foolish when they were the under dog in each game.

  21. polegojim says: Jan 2, 2012 10:42 PM

    @acieu and obnoxious – not so under-rated anymore huh! Not at all.

    Keep your eyes on your mirrors kiddies – Objects are closer than they appear.

  22. zn0rseman says: Jan 2, 2012 11:01 PM

    warhawk04 says:
    Bad outing today for the big ten but does it really make them overrated. Michigan state beat Georgia. Psu lost to Houston but Houston had the better ranking. Wisconsin lost to Oregon who had a better ranking. Nebraska lost to south Carolina who had a better ranking. Osu had a down year and lost to Florida, who was favored. Bad year for the big ten in the bowls, but to say they were overrated is kind foolish when they were the under dog in each game.

    Exactly, and let’s not forget that Michigan State was ranked above Georgia, with Georgia favored. Also, unranked Iowa played a close game against highly ranked Oklahoma (16?) all game long, until a garbage TD made the Oklahoma win look better than it was. (Let’s also not forget that Iowa had a TD effectively pulled off the board after a horrible no-call.)

    So, anyone saying that the Big 10 is overrated, doesn’t know what they are talkign about. And yeah, their bowl record hasn’t been the best, but when your conference is being matched up against opponents that are consistantly ranked much higher than you, only because you live in fly-over country and they live on the coasts, your bowl record is going to suffer a bit.

    What they need is a bowl or two in the upper MidWest where they can invite some of these Southern/West Coast teams up to play against some of the teams in the MidWest, in super cold weather surrounded by rowdy fans rooting for the home team. Then the pundits can make storys about how those happless Southern/West Coast teams can’t win in the MidWest bowl games.

    Let’s see how USC, Florida, Miami, LSU, ect, ect… do when playing up North in subzero temperatures, while surrounded by hostile fans while their opponents are content playing in short sleeves.

  23. spartaninnh says: Jan 3, 2012 1:51 AM

    @goblue714 LOL — “bandwagon” comment! to someone whose parents met at MSC! (Look it up.)

    I didn’t “run [my] mouth,” I said your comment was idiotic. You haven’t refuted it. I didn’t say that UM would lose, I said you had preplanned an excuse if they do. So just win, will ya? And send these “B10SUX!” idiots home with a bad taste in their mouth?

    And BTW — of course the bowl system is unfair; MSU earned a Rose Bowl bid last year, Wisconsin went (and lost to Texas Christian); MSU earned a BCS bowl this year, but went to a non-BCS bowl, while your team (whom we’ve beaten 4 years running, BTW, including this year) goes to a BCS bowl. What does it all mean? $$$$$$$$. And politics. A bad combination, if what you’re looking for is “fairness.”

    Until there’s a playoff, there’s simply no point in even complaining about the “fairness” of this team or that going to this bowl or that — it’s all politics and money, with fairness the first casualty.

    Ask Boise State.

  24. goblue12 says: Jan 3, 2012 3:32 AM

    State got lucky with their Outback bowl game win

  25. whyalwaysthehate says: Jan 3, 2012 8:33 AM

    Is Keenum coming back for his seventh year?

  26. florida727 says: Jan 3, 2012 8:59 AM

    Couldn’t stop laughing at the post about northern teams traveling south to play in an “away” bowl game.

    Yeah, I want my “reward” for a successful season to be that I play my last game as a college athlete in Fargo, in the snow, where it’s 15-below-zero.

    BTW, “whyalwaysthehate”, word out of Houston is that Keenum signed an extension. He’ll be back not only for a 7th season, but for an 8th, 9th and 10th also. I think they “franchised” him to avoid having to max out his contract. Great post. Made me chuckle :)

  27. ratedgap says: Jan 3, 2012 11:55 AM

    Shameful anyone would use travel as an excuse for losing. Guess what? Tickets are evenly distributed for bowl games no matter where they are played. The closer team doesn’t get a larger alottment. Anyone with a color tv can see those stadiums are pretty much evenly split in terms of fans. Yet somehow it’s a “road game.” Just an excuse for losers to keep losing.

  28. goblue714 says: Jan 3, 2012 1:22 PM

    You know the travel has always been an issue with, going back to the 70s. The big ten going and playing UCLA and USC at the rose bowl(UCLA plays their home games there). Same with miami playing in the orange bowl, again their home field. I always felt that was a big disadvantage. Mock me if you want but it’s true.

  29. ratedgap says: Jan 3, 2012 1:38 PM

    Regular season i’d see it as an issue. But for bowl games? With every team having weeks or a month or more off since they played their last game? With even ticket distribution? Why would anyone up north even want mulititudes of people from other parts of the country who don’t know how to drive in ice, sleet ot snow crowding their cities and trying to drive in ice, sleet, or snow? Sounds like a nightmare. Much easier to go to warm weather cities where there are actually things to do. Most all of the amusement parks are in southern states and west coast. Beaches. Golf. The teams themselves see it as a reward. Who is it that the fans of the losing teams take it as a punishment when the teams themselves don’t? Hell, the Big 10 commish fought a playoff so he could preserve the Rose Bowl for the Big 10. Last I checked, the Rose Bowl was played nowhere near any Big 10 team stadiums.

  30. ratedgap says: Jan 3, 2012 1:39 PM

    Should say How is it that as opposed to Who. lol

  31. normtide says: Jan 3, 2012 1:49 PM

    This is Richt’s MO. He always has one of the most talented teams, yet loses way to many games. And now he gets an extension….

  32. takingbovadasmoney says: Jan 3, 2012 3:34 PM

    the big ten doesn’t have a championship game?

  33. takingbovadasmoney says: Jan 3, 2012 3:42 PM

    teams are usually allotted less than 20,000 tickets to a bowl game. The Rose Bowl seats close to 100,000. Who buys the rest? The Chinese? No, mostly locals. Your point about no bowls in the north because people from the south might be bad drivers in snow makes little sense.

  34. alligatorsnapper says: Jan 3, 2012 3:52 PM

    First off, I must congratulate Michigan State for playing the game for 60 minutes, oh forget that, they played and played until they won!

    I was speaking with an Alabama Crimson Tide diehard fan this morning who reflects the same attitude and sentiment I have heard hundreds of times since LSU beat them at their home stadium in front of 101,000 of their fans…He advocated that Bama should have won the game against LSU. He went further to say, that Bama actually did win the game, it was just a fluke of a final score. Well, based upon this rabid mental justication for a loss, Georgia fans could easily say they beat Michigan State, except for 2 field goal attempts, one missed and the last one blocked. Georgia won, football fans, except for two field goals. Alabama beat LSU, except for a few field goals.

    Truth: Michigan State won. LSU won. Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve are for losers!

  35. ratedgap says: Jan 3, 2012 5:24 PM

    takingbovadasmoney says:
    Jan 3, 2012 3:42 PM
    teams are usually allotted less than 20,000 tickets to a bowl game. The Rose Bowl seats close to 100,000. Who buys the rest? The Chinese? No, mostly locals. Your point about no bowls in the north because people from the south might be bad drivers in snow makes little sense.


    Since that wasn’t a point I guess it would make little sense. I ASKED(see, it was a question) why people from up North would want thousands of people from other parts of the country who do know the first thing about driving in snow and ice, to drive in snow and ice. Question. And where do you get your figures on whom is allotted what for bowl games? Also, did you gloss over the point about other things to do? Amusement parks, golf, other outdoor activities. That was actually a point, and it probably made sense, which is why you pointed to a question that wasn’t a point, but a question, and examined it only. Dirty pool.

  36. ratedgap says: Jan 3, 2012 5:30 PM

    UW’s alottment for the Rose Bowl was 25,000 from what I could find online. The stadium seats 94,000. Assuming OU got the same alottment, that’s 50,000 of 94,000 seats, with the remainder going to the general public. Being in Southern California, you really think “locals” are buying tickets for teams none of them support? Really? Quite a reach.

  37. normtide says: Jan 3, 2012 6:35 PM

    MSU has a coach that makes the most of what he has. Much the opposite of Richt. Richt took advantage of a weak east (yet still lost to USC) and not playing any of the west powers.

  38. gatorprof says: Jan 3, 2012 7:10 PM

    Dear Rust Belt Fans,

    No fan base in their right minds wants to travel to your crappy locations to play a football game in the dead of winter.

    Please keep whining and making excuses for your crappy conference…

    Please also be sure to watch the SEC win another BCS title….

  39. takingbovadasmoney says: Jan 3, 2012 7:22 PM

    hey you brought up driving as a reason not me. touchy. michigan and va. tech get 18,000 tickets for the sugar bowl. lima ohio newspaper said osu got 15,000 tickets for the gator bowl. another poster stated wisconsin got 25,000 for the rose bowl not sure where that number came from.
    as for activities said michigan had a 9 pm curfew. do not recall seeing a osu curfew in the lima paper. channel 6 in sandiego said holiday bowl activities were a battle of the bands, a daschund dog race, 5k run, parade. granted not all are this exciting. but i think cleveland, indy (how many super bowls have they hosted), new york, boston could be entertaining around new years. cold possibly but entertaining. remember the. rose bowl came about as a promotion for the tournament of roses parade.

  40. ratedgap says: Jan 3, 2012 8:08 PM

    takingbovadasmoney says: Jan 3, 2012 7:22 PM

    hey you brought up driving as a reason not me. touchy.


    Is English your 2nd language or 3rd? It wasn’t any kind of reason. It was a question. At any rate, who was the curfew for, the team? Who cares? They would have a curfew at home too. But as far as people enjoying themselves, no sane person wants to go anywhere to visit where you have deal with ice, sleet or snow in freezing weather. Even the teams like going to warm weather for bowl games. Not once have I heard one complain. It’s always the whiney fans who don’t understand that no matter how many times they say it, there is no such thing as a home game in a bowl. Well, maybe Florida at the Gator Bowl. lol

  41. takingbovadasmoney says: Jan 3, 2012 10:18 PM

    oh my bad must be 2nd. i meant douchey not touchy. ucla or usc in a bowl is not a home game? the curfew was in regards to player activities. they are their to play football. except virginia tech and michigan. this game sucks.

  42. takingbovadasmoney says: Jan 3, 2012 10:20 PM

    never snows at the sun bowl or cotton bowl either.

  43. goblue714 says: Jan 4, 2012 12:08 AM

    GO BLUE! Bring on bama in dallas.

  44. takingbovadasmoney says: Jan 4, 2012 12:56 AM

    you mean bring on your ass whoopin in dallas.

  45. Deb says: Jan 4, 2012 1:03 AM

    @goblue714 …

    What planet are you from? The bowl games are like mini-vacations for the teams and their fans, and those Northern folks don’t want to vacation in Buffalo. You act like it’s some kind of Southern cabal that’s forcing poor lil Yankee boys to play down South. For Pete’s sake, your people want to play in Southern climes. In 2009, Alabama fans had to go to Pasadena for the national championship game, and you didn’t hear us whining about making a cross-country trip. This year we have to play LSU in New Orleans and we’re not whining about them having “home-field advantage.” Good grief, man up. :roll:

  46. Deb says: Jan 4, 2012 1:16 AM

    @alligatorsnapper …

    I’ve never heard an Alabama fan say Alabama won that game, and I just spent the holidays in Tuscaloosa. You’re probably listening to sports-talk radio, which attracts a lot of lunatic extremists. Ignore those idiots. Yes, if we’d made all our field goals, we’d have won. But we didn’t–and those misses weren’t just flukes. LSU’s defense stopped us so that we were making those FG tries from long distances. And Eric Reid made a great defensive play to stop our one TD drive. You know the final score of that game. If someone says Alabama won, don’t argue. Just say “9-6” and walk away. It is what it is.

  47. Deb says: Jan 4, 2012 1:24 AM

    @alligatorsnapper …

    Oh, I know you said that was someone talking to you personally. I meant the “hundreds” of others you mentioned must be on talk radio. My family and friends all agree we lost the game. It would be pretty delusional to claim otherwise.

  48. hodag54501 says: Jan 4, 2012 9:00 AM

    I’ve been a Big 10(12)supporter since Wisconsin nearly upset Southern Cal in the 1963 Rose Bowl. But except for a very few years it’s always the same: the TV networks make the Big 10(2) look like the Monsters from the Frozen North when in reality, they are closer to the Ankle-Biting Squirrels from Sherwood Forest.
    The Big 10(2) is 4-5 in bowl games this year. Michigan State’s win was clearly the best of the four, though Michigan’s upset was close. Illinois and Purdue wins, who cares. The losses clearly reflect what the Big 10(2) isn’t: fast. All five of the losses were to teams that have players who not only are skilled, but can run. Wisconsin thought having a line the size of Army tanks would bulldoze through Oregon. They did for awhile, until the team speed of Oregon simply overwhelmed them. Ditto for Iowa, Penn State, Nebraska and Ohio State.
    To those of you not my age, it has never been any different in my 6 decades on the planet.
    One team, Michigan State, is a true national player, so I will give them their chops. They got hosed two years in a row by Wisconsin, and I’m a Badgers supporter.I’ve renamed the conference in football what it is: the Mediocre 12. It really should be the Little 12, but that would be unfair to Michigan State. The Mediocre 12 should not be in BCS bowls.
    The only hope is that Urban Meyer eventually turns Ohio State around and Brady Hoke continues to regain form in Michigan to join Michigan State at the top.

  49. scoregasmic says: Jan 4, 2012 10:02 AM

    Ive always been hoping that the big ten would return to prominence but the truth is basketball is all they got right now, but I’m hoping Michigan and Ohio state regain strength, Wisconsin and Michigan state have proved they can hang with the big boys don’t forget that MSU beat an SEC team which is unheard of for the big ten, wisconsin came close to beating an explosive Oregon team. Michigan got a win…against the ACC…but it’s a win so that’s good I guess, made them look better than they are. People always say the SEC’s too fast for the big ten, but man, the Spartans defense showed why they’re #2 in the nation

  50. ratedgap says: Jan 4, 2012 10:03 AM


    So your failure to grasp English makes me douchey? Right. About as bad as your other points.

  51. ancientcougar says: Jan 4, 2012 11:02 AM

    Who said that they could throw for 532 yards if they threw the ball 69 times? Someones got to catch those balls bro. I’d like to see Keenum for a 7th year; he is fun to watch. Maybe he can transition to the pros?

  52. ratedgap says: Jan 4, 2012 11:34 AM

    scoregasmic says:
    Jan 4, 2012 10:02 AM

    People always say the SEC’s too fast for the big ten, but man, the Spartans defense showed why they’re #2 in the nation


    Did you catch the other SEC vs Big 10 games perhaps? Good win for MSU vs. Georgia, but LSU curb stomped this same Georgia team 42-10. They’re not exactly SEC elite. lol

  53. scoregasmic says: Jan 4, 2012 12:35 PM

    I was in no way comparing msu to a
    SEC elite god no haha but they’re defense is solid and can hold there own against the middle of the SEC pack

  54. ratedgap says: Jan 4, 2012 4:18 PM

    That I will grant them. There are a # of SEC teams middle of the pack MSU could beat. Gerogia was one of them, although being up 16-0 at the half it didn’t look like it at first. No accounting for heart, MSU had it, Georgia didn’t.

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