It was a dismal season for the Michigan State football team–that fact has been hammered into fans at this point–but on Friday, the Spartans were delivered a bit of a curve ball that may have just reset their holiday bowl plans.
It was widely-assumed during this past week that Michigan State and head coach Mark Dantonio were likely to be Arizona-bound to play in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe against a yet-to-be-named Big 12 opponent (most-likely either TCU or Oklahoma), but with a few Big Ten teams still in the BCS mix, those plans could change… drastically.
With Nebraska (No. 12 in the BCS Standings) set to square off against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game this evening, a possible shake up of the system could be in the mix concerning the holiday bowls. If the Badgers (who are underdogs in the match up) somehow find a way to take down the Cornhuskers for the Conference Championship tonight at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, a whole reshuffling could be in order that would see a number of Big Ten teams flip-flop.
Michigan State athletic director, Mark Hollis, said earlier this week before the MSU basketball team’s loss to Miami that he thought he was going to be able to make the program announcement for the Spartans’ bowl destination, but knew the plans had the ability to change.
“We were really hoping to be able to announce (our bowl game) this week,” Hollis said to the media.
But, if all goes according to plan, the Nebraska Cornhuskers will prevail over Wisconsin and all original outcomes will likely follow suit: Nebraska will be Rose Bowl-bound; Wisconsin, Northwestern, and Michigan will play in the three Jan. 1 Florida bowls; and Michigan State will be headed to Tempe for the BWW Bowl. Minnesota and Purdue would follow-up with the Texas bowls.
Nebraska still holds a chance of remaining in the top 14 of the BCS rankings and earning a BCS bid at this point and should that happen, all Big Ten Conference teams would move up one slot. In this scenario, the Spartans would end up playing Jan. 1 in Jacksonville, Fla. at the Gator Bowl.
Bottom line: In all likelihood, Michigan State will end up headed for the desert to battle either TCU or Oklahoma in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, but nothing is quite certain just yet. After the outcome of tonight’s Big Ten match up, things should be a lot clearer come Sunday morning.
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