Big Ten Bowl Grades
Big Ten Bowl Grade: B-
This B- is being polite considering the league went 4-5. Wisconsin outplayed Oregon in the Rose – and turned it over too often and lost. Ohio State outplayed Clemson in the College Football Playoff – and turned the ball over in the final moments and lost. Those were the two the league needed to have.
Penn State did its part in the Cotton over Memphis, Iowa was fantastic against USC in the Holiday, and Minnesota pulled off a nice Outback win over Auburn, but the Indiana collapse to Tennessee in the Gator, Michigan not scoring in the second half in the Citrus against Alabama, and Illinois losing by 15 to Cal in the Redbox looked bad.
Illinois Bowl Grade: C-
Final Score: Cal 35, Illinois 20
Line: Cal -6.5, o/u: 47.5
– 5 Thoughts on the Redbox Bowl
Cal wasn’t supposed to have an offense – it did against the Illini. Up 10-7 after the first quarter, Illinois came out playing just fine, and then the offense went bye-bye, there were too many penalties, and it was over early in the third.
Indiana Bowl Grade: B-
Final Score: Tennessee 23, Indiana 22
Line: Tennessee -2,.5 o/u: 54
– 5 Thoughts on the Gator Bowl
The Hoosiers had one bad minute. They played well, had a chance at the win with a late bomb of a field goal attempt, and … lost. This was the first time all year anyone lost a game when up by double-digits in the final five minutes. Bowl wins are for closers.
Iowa Bowl Grade: A
Final Score: Iowa 49, USC 24
Line: USC -1.5, o/u: 54
– 5 Thoughts on the Holiday Bowl
BOOM. Considering the circumstances and the game being a few hours down the road from USC, Iowa came up with one of the season’s best bowl performances. The Trojans needed this game in a big, big way, and got blown out. No turnovers, just four penalties – it was a sharp effort.
Michigan Bowl Grade: C+
Final Score: Alabama 35, Michigan 16
Line: Alabama -7, o/u: 58.5
– 5 Thoughts on the Citrus Bowl
Alabama had its guys, and for some reason it cared about winning this – Michigan was outmanned and outgunned. Fine, but it was also up 16-14 at halftime and was shutout in the second half. Alabama was and is the better team, but 35-16 still wasn’t okay.
Michigan State Bowl Grade: B+
Final Score: Michigan State 27, Wake Forest 21
Line: Michigan State -3.5, o/u: 51.5
– 5 Thoughts on the Pinstripe Bowl
Check out the Michigan State offense. This actually mattered – 7-6 looks a whole lot better than 6-7 – considering the program could use some positive momentum. The defense held down the high-powered Demon Deacons, shutting them out in the second half.
Minnesota Bowl Grade: A
Final Score: Minnesota 31, Auburn 24
Line: Auburn -7, o/u: 54
– 5 Thoughts on the Outback Bowl
Maybe Minnesota wins this game if Auburn makes a whole slew of mistakes and doesn’t show up with any fight or fire, but … this was a punishing win over a team that simply got beaten up. It was way too close considering how great the Gophers were. This was a program-definer.
Ohio State Bowl Grade: B-
Final Score: Clemson 29, Ohio State 23
Line: Clemson -2, o/u: 62.5
– 5 Thoughts on the Fiesta Bowl
The Buckeyes left the win on the field. They didn’t lose because of the targeting call, or the fumble – and it was a fumble. They lost because they didn’t put the game away early, the QB who threw one interception all year threw two, and the D gave up a 94-yard scoring drive in the final few minutes.
Penn State Bowl Grade: B+
Final Score: Penn State 53, Memphis 39
Line: Penn State -6.5, o/u: 60.5
– 5 Thoughts on the Cotton Bowl
Penn State hit the putt. It’s a Big Ten team vs. a Group of Five program – it did what it’s supposed to do. However, it gave up 454 passing yards and needed an epic rushing day to get the job done. 53-39 – the team did what it was supposed to do.
Wisconsin Bowl Grade: C
Final Score: Oregon 28, Wisconsin 27
Line: Wisconsin -3, o/u: 50.5
– 5 Thoughts on the Rose Bowl
Four turnovers. Wisconsin held Oregon and its NFL quarterback to under 200 yards before the final play, the offense powered through to dominate the time of possession, and … the punter dropped the ball, Jonathan Taylor fumbled, and the mistakes cost the team a Rose Bowl. The Badgers did everything but actually win the game.