‘Cats take on Bulldogs in the ‘Ville

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.

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Bowl Projections – Some Thoughts

A quick search of teh interwebz for bowl projections landed me at SI, CBS, ESPN, and Off-Tackle Empire. Let’s dissect the predictions.

Sports Illustrated: Outback Bowl vs. Georgia

According to Roger, our resident SEC expert, this matchup could get ugly. “That is probably the worst conceivable matchup other than maybe Alabama.” Georgia still controls it’s own destiny to the BCS title game. A drop from that to a matchup against the ‘Cats? I love the ‘Cats, but I have to be realistic. This would be ugly. Georgia would absolutely dominate in the trenches, and the Bulldogs would rack up 6-8 yard runs like clockwork. 

CBS: Outback vs. South Carolina

This is a different South Carolina team without Marcus Lattimore, who has been out since October 27 with multiple ligament damage in his right knee. I’m not going to link the video to that. It’s awful. Knees shouldn’t bend that way. That said, we’re still talking about an upper echelon SEC team here, who would have a field day in the trenches. I like this matchup better than the matchup against Georgia, but not by much. Six of one/half dozen of the other. 

ESPN/OTE: Gator vs. Mississippi State

I like this one. I think the #B1GCats can win this one. By which I mean I don’t think they’ll get blown out of the water. Mississippi State has beaten zero bowl bound team this year. Granted, their three losses have been to TAMU, Alabama and LSU. The ‘Cats have beaten Vandy, Syracuse and Minnesota. Not world beaters, but whatever, GO CATS. 

Conditions 

These are projections. So, if the ‘Cats lose to Illinois somehow (oof), these all go out the window. Additionally, the Outback Bowl projections hinge on the belief that Wisconsin will lose out to Penn State and Nebraska. Even if UW beats PSU and loses to Nebraska, they’re going to finish 8-5. The Outback bowl cannot pick a team with two more losses than the next available team (9-3 NU vs 8-5 Bucky). Also, if UW wins the CCG and goes to Pasadena, we can count on Nebraska getting picked ahead of us in either the Capital One Bowl or the Outback. 

Saturday’s Bowl Implications – Go Gata

It is generally accepted that the winner of NU @ MSU will be heading to the Gator Bowl and the loser will be eating Buffalo Wild Wings in late December. Things could get dicey if Michigan beats OSU next week, but lets not get ahead of ourselves…

The Gator Bowl, however, still claims that nothing is set in stone yet!

Our very own Roger Rankin is predicting Vandy to represent the SEC in the Gator Bowl, which could make things that much more interesting. Regardless of the opponent, I think we’re all hoping for a Jan 1 bowling date and a chance for the ‘Cats to get the infamous monkey off of their back. To keep our thoughts in Florida (#CatsToFlordia) we post this video! Tim Tivo, Percy Harvey, and Irving Meyers would be proud.

Wooing a Better ‘Cats Bowl Bid via Twitter

Ah, what wonderful things the birth of social media has allowed us to do. We’ve discovered a great new use for it, and that is harassing bowl games and letting them know that we think the ‘Cats will travel well. This was all spawned from an article saying that the Gator Bowl didn’t want Northwestern. Let’s take a look at some highlights from our tweeting at bowl games. We’ll go in order of bowl selection…

Capital One Bowl:

The Capital One Bowl twitter account is run by an enjoyable follow. And, he’s a Northwestern Alum! There is actually a scenario where NU could basically be guaranteed a bid to this bowl, but that’s a discussion for another time and place.

Outback Bowl:

Let me just say, the Outback bowl was maybe the most exciting sporting event I’ve ever witnessed. I had a great time in Tampa (where there are the best titty bars in the nation according to Stevie Janowski) and would love to go back to Raymond James on New Years. They didn’t give us any love, but here’s our tweet anyway.

Gator Bowl:

We kind of went crazy and started tweeting at every bowl game we could think of… One bowl caught on.

Also there seemed to be a good amount of confusion on the Wildcat message boards regarding who picks first, Gator or BWW. Here is the answer:

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl:

The BWW Bowl doesn’t have a Twitter account… What year is this 1995? (I wish, because then we would be going to the Rose Bowl)

Ticket Shitty Bowl:

Intentional misspelling. But seriously, when the ‘Cats went to the Ticket City Bowl the stadium was EMPTY and Dallas just isn’t all that cool.

Little Caesar’s Bowl:

Just a note, the West Lot Warriors are this bowl’s ONLY follower.

Orange Bowl:

And just because were feeling optimistic, we gave a shout out to our friends in Miami about the ‘Cats heading to the Orange Bowl. Could it happen? Theoretically, yes. Will it happen? Certainly not. It’s fun to dream though.