The ‘Cats are going to Jacksonville for a New Years Day matchup versus Mississippi State. Out of the three potential Florida bowl options for Northwestern, we received a bid to the lowest in the pecking order. This is a disappointment, in that the ‘Cats won’t be playing in a higher profile bowl against a bigger name opponent, but there are some positives. In the USA Today Sagarin rankings, NU sits at #32, while Mississippi State ranks seven spots lower at #39. We’re ranked in the BCS, but the Bulldogs are not. They are definitely a more manageable opponent than an A&M or Georgia.
As a ‘Cats fan, this scares me a little bit. We’re actually playing a lower ranked team – we will probably be favored in this game. We rarely win when we’re ranked/favored going into prime time matchups – we relish the underdog role. Win this and we’ll finish the year in the top 15 of the BCS and most likely be ranked in the 2013 preseason – there is a good amount at stake. Although the Gator Bowl against Miss. St. is a bit of a letdown compared to the alternative scenarios, I feel much better about our chances in this game. We have a great shot to pick up the first bowl win in 60 years for the ‘Cats.