Thursday, January 2, 2003

Big Ten 4-1 in bowl games

The Detroit News

TAMPA, Fla. - For all the bad-mouthing the Big Ten received this season, for all that talk about the Big Ten's lack of speed and whether this was a down year, the league is 4-1 with two important bowl games left.

Wisconsin, Minnesota and Purdue won their pre-New Years Day games, and Michigan gave the Big Ten a 4-0 record after defeating Florida, 38-30, in the Outback Bowl on Wednesday. Penn State's loss to Auburn in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, however, is the Big Ten's only disappointment so far.

"That's a conference pride thing," Michigan senior linebacker Victor Hobson said. "Of course everybody thinks their conference plays the best football, and we're one of them. We're going to root for the rest of the teams in the Big Ten to win - even if some of them are our big rivals.

Hobson, of course, was referring to arch-rival Ohio State, ranked No. 2 and playing No. 1 Miami for the national title in the Fiesta Bowl Friday night. Then there's co-Big Ten champion Iowa facing Southern Cal in the Orange Bowl Thursday night.

With two Big Ten teams playing in prominent New Years Day games and Ohio State and Iowa playing in prestigious BCS games, that means only one thing to Michigan senior tight end Bennie Joppru.

"It shows the Big Ten was extremely underrated this year," Joppru said. "And I hope the other teams win, that would be great thing for the Big Ten."

Even if that means Ohio State would win a national championship ?

Unfortunately, it's Ohio State, but it would be great if the Big Ten won it," Joppru said. "This just proves the Big Ten isn't down."

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Cotton: Texas 35, LSU 20
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Outback: Michigan 38, Florida 30
Rose: Oklahoma 34, Washington St. 14
Sugar: Georgia 26, Florida State 13
Big Ten 4-1 in bowl games

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