On Sunday the 2nd, it was confirmed that Northwestern will be playing in the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida. The game will take place on January 1st.
The Cats will be facing the Mississippi State Bulldogs of the Southeastern Conference. Yes, I’m aware that most people reading this probably know what conference Mississippi State is in, but this is Northwestern, so you know, you never know.
A lot of people will probably be upset about this. What are we doing in the Gator Bowl, you might ask? Why not the Outback Bowl, which recently had some glowing praise of us? Why not the Capitol One Bowl, who has been teasing us worse than sorority girls on Twitter? Trib sportswriter Teddy Greenstein even said we had a 75% change of going to the Capitol One Bowl!
But it was not to be. No amount of punditry by Teddy can change that. Nothing any “heinous” open letters from Sherman Ave could have done anything about, nor could the copious and rather embarrassing amount of begging that Cats fans were doing on Twitter. In fact, maybe that’s why the Capitol One Bowl didn’t take us.
Or maybe it’s the fact that Big 10 (which I will now refer to as the Big Whatever) commissioner Jim Delany lobbied pretty hard to get Nebraska to play in the Capitol One Bowl, despite them getting hilariously blown out in the Big Whatever Championship Game by Wisconsin. Thanks a lot, Jim.
But what about the Outback Bowl? They were supposed to love us! Well, blame Wisconsin. If Wisconsin lost, they would have been in the Gator Bowl and we would be in the Outback Bowl at least. But Nebraska had to royally shit the bed, and suddenly there was a 10 win team ahead of us. Couple that with Michigan’s more prestigious program, larger fanbase, and forgivably brutal schedule (they lost to the number 1, 2, and 3 teams in the AP poll, making them the opposite of the ’71 Cornhuskers) and it’s easy to see why we ended up getting the fourth best bowl for a Big Whatever team.
Keep that in mind. Fourth best team in the Big Whatever. I’ve been saying this all season (all four of my consistent readers can back me up on this) that this team has exceeded all expectations put on it. Fourth best team in the Big Ten was not being discussed at the beginning of the year.
Look how far we’ve come. Instead of celebrating our fifth straight bowl, many are miffed that our bowl isn’t good enough. On the one hand that’s great, we’re being spoiled by success. On the other, calm down, Wildcats. We haven’t won a bowl game in 64 years. We haven’t given bowl committees much reason to pick us over, say, the team that has won more games than any other team ever, Michigan.
I’m glad that we’re going to the Ridiculouscorporatesponsorship.com Bowl. Nebraska gets to face Georgia, who is ranked 7th in the BCS and barely lost to Alabama. Hahahaha. Michigan gets South Carolina, who is by no means a bad team. Don’t expect many “Michigan Beats ‘Cocks” (SO FUNNY) headlines after January 1st.
We get to play Mississippi State, who lost four of their last five games. Mississippi State is an SEC team, but don’t let that fool you into thinking they are good. They are the eighth best team in their conference and haven’t played all that well in the second half of the season. By all means, we should be favored to win this game, and I for one am looking forward to it. Not to mention warm weather and SEC tailgating. The only thing I’m not looking forward to is Mississippi State’s Godawful cowbells.
We get the lesser opponent. We get to play on January 1st in Florida instead of playing in Texas again. Northwestern is a good team, and I would never count us out in any game, but our bowl destination honestly helps us in our hunt for that elusive bowl win.
I’m going to be in Jacksonville to support the Cats. Are you?
Let’s go slay some taxes!