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Big Ten lunchtime links: Bowl lobbying continues

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Bowls are the main course today, with a side of links, as always.

  • Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips hopes bowl representatives look past the school's poor home attendance and recognize a good history of traveling to bowl games, Shannon Ryan writes in the Chicago Tribune.

"The biggest challenge we have is our home attendance record," Phillips said. "They look at numbers. It's about selling tickets and people spending money. But [we're saying,] 'Look at how we've traveled over the last five bowls, where Northwestern has done a great job of over-delivering.'"

"The Champs Sports Bowl (Dec. 27, Orlando, Fla.) picks after the Alamo Bowl and it appears the choice will come to UW or Minnesota (7-5). UW won the teams' meeting this season, 35-32; the Gophers lost their final four games, including a 55-0 home drubbing against Iowa; and Minnesota fans travel in small numbers unattractive to bowl scouts."

  • Penn State most likely got what it wanted: no Rose Bowl rematch with Oregon State. Now the Nittany Lions likely face the daunting task of matching up with USC in Pasadena, Bernard Fernandez writes in the Philadelphia Daily News.

  • The Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein names his favorite games and passes out his cleverly named awards for the Big Ten season. My personal favorites: The Charlie Weis "Underachieving" Award (Wisconsin) and The Lovie Smith "In Denial" Award (Illinois head coach Ron Zook). Sorry, but I'm still miffed about that Bears game last night. Feel free to score from first-and-goal at the 1.

  • Here are 25 reasons why Illinois' once-promising 2008 season went down the drain, Bob Asmussen writes in The [Champaign, Ill.] News-Gazette. There's some very interesting stuff here, including two under-publicized traffic stops involving quarterback Juice Williams and wide receiver Arrelious "Rejus" Benn.

  • After a miserable season, Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez wants less drama and more progress in the offseason, Joe Vardon writes in The Toledo Blade.