2013 Bowl Projections: Huskers vs Sooners in Phoenix?

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

The bowl season is rapidly approaching. Destinations will be determined soon, but right now it looks like Nebraska could match up against either Texas or Oklahoma. Which would you rather play?

The staff at Corn Nation put a Big Ten Football Power Poll together over the past couple of months. The last so far this season placed Nebraska at fifth, right behind Iowa, but ahead of Minnesota. This fits into the final Big Ten standings pretty well as Nebraska finished fifth in the conference overall.

Final Big Ten Regular Season Standings

Overall Conference Team
11-1 8-0 Michigan State
8-4 5-3 Iowa
8-4 5-3 Nebraska
8-4 4-4 Minnesota
5-7 1-7 Northwestern
12-0 8-0 Ohio State
9-3 6-2 Wisconsin
7-5 4-4 Penn State
5-7 3-5 Indiana
4-8 1-7 Illinois
1-11 0-8 Purdue

The Big Ten's bowl tie-ins are as follows:

Big Ten #1 Rose Bowl vs Pac-12 #1. (BCS National Title game if Big Ten has team in top two in BCS.)
Big Ten #2 The Capital One Bowl versus SEC #2.
Big Ten #3 The Outback Bowl versus SEC #4.
Big Ten #4 The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl versus Big 12 #4.
Big Ten #5 The Gator Bowl versus SEC #6.
Big Ten #6 The Texas Bowl versus Big 12 #6.
Big Ten #7 The Heart of Dallas Bowl versus Conference-USA #4.
Big Ten #8 The Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl versus MAC #2.

If bowl selections followed finishes closely, Nebraska would end up in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida. However, bowl selections don't follow finishes closely. Instead, they follow popularity, and in attempt to sell tickets that means selecting a fan base that will travel along with a well-known team name to match up with another school of similar quality.

This is why Nebraska may get to a better bowl game over Iowa despite the loss, and why Michigan may end up with a better bowl than Minnesota despite the Gophers' better record.

If Ohio State wins, they go to the national title game, and Michigan State goes to the Rose Bowl.
If Michigan State wins, in all likelihood, then who knows what will happen. Most likely there will be screaming and howling and a SEC team will end up in the national title game, Michigan State will go to the Rose Bowl and Ohio State will drop to the Capital One Bowl.

Let's assume that Ohio State wins. Probable Big Ten bowl destinations are as follows:

Ohio State - BCS National Championship game
Michigan State - Rose Bowl
Wisconsin - Capital One Bowl
Iowa - Outback Bowl
Nebraska - Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Michigan - Gator Bowl
Minnesota - gets screwed because they're an unknown, their fans don't travel all that well, and they drop to the Texas Bowl in Houston.

If Nebraska makes the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, it would match up against Big 12 #4. That would either be Texas or Oklahoma. Texas finished third, Oklahoma fourth, and that match up would be a dream for the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. The Nebraska - Texas match up might look good, but I doubt if many Texas fans could care less if they're playing Nebraska.

This match up is still very much up in the air given that Saturday 7-1 Texas plays 7-1 Baylor and 7-1 Oklahoma State plays 6-2 Oklahoma.

If somehow Nebraska moved up a notch to the Outback Bowl ahead of Iowa, they would play SEC #4, which means either LSU or Georgia. The Bulldogs would not be an attractive match up given that Nebraska played Georgia in last year's Capital One Bowl.

Nebraska vs LSU, the Tigers realistically being #4 more than Georgia, would be an attractive match up. Not as attractive as Nebraska vs an old Big 12 foe, however.

So... where do you want to go, and whom would you rather play?

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