Big Ten picks rewind: Bowl edition

As we put the bowl season to bed today -- the Big Ten certainly will have sweet dreams -- here's one final look back at my picks.

Much like the Big Ten, I started slow in the picks this fall but finished pretty strong.

CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL (Wisconsin vs. Miami)

  • The pick: Wisconsin 27, Miami 24

  • Actual score: Wisconsin 20, Miami 14

  • 20-20 hindsight: A pretty solid pick overall, as Wisconsin generated pressure with defensive linemen J.J. Watt and O'Brien Schofield and employed a balanced attack on offense. I expected more from Jacory Harris and Miami's offense, and the game easily could have been a blowout as Wisconsin controlled the pace on both sides of the ball.

INSIGHT BOWL (Minnesota vs. Iowa State)

  • The pick: Iowa State 17, Minnesota 14

  • Actual score: Iowa State 14, Minnesota 13

  • 20-20 hindsight: Another pretty solid pick here, although it didn't take much expertise to see these two offenses would struggle a bit. Minnesota's defense battled extremely hard and the offense generated yards but not points. A MarQueis Gray fumble in the Iowa State red zone ended Minnesota's potential game-winning scoring drive, as Iowa State handed the Gophers their seventh loss.

OUTBACK BOWL (Northwestern vs. Auburn)

  • The pick: Northwestern 31, Auburn 28

  • Actual score: Auburn 38, Northwestern 35 (OT)

  • 20-20 hindsight: Few could have forecast exactly how wacky this game would get, but as expected, both offenses came to play and put up huge numbers. Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka had the craziest stat line you'll ever see. As predicted, the Wildcats rallied in the fourth quarter, but the kicking game once again let them down as Auburn thwarted a trick play on fourth-and-goal in overtime.


  • The pick: Penn State 21, LSU 17

  • Actual score: Penn State 19, LSU 17

  • 20-20 hindsight: Nearly nailed the score here as Penn State's veteran defense helped my cause by shutting down LSU for all but one stretch in the second half. Nittany Lions senior quarterback Daryll Clark led the definitive drive of his career to set up Collin Wagner's fourth field goal, and the defense held off LSU to preserve another bowl victory for 83-year-old head coach Joe Paterno.


  • The pick: Oregon 27, Ohio State 21 (scroll down)

  • Actual score: Ohio State 26, Oregon 17

  • 20-20 hindsight: I'll be the first to admit I was dead wrong on this one. The Ohio State offense I watched all season didn't resemble the one I saw in Pasadena. Neither did the Buckeyes quarterback. Terrelle Pryor's complete performance combined with a suffocating defensive effort against Oregon star QB Jeremiah Masoli led to a convincing victory for the Buckeyes, who really needed this. Ohio State executed its game plan to perfection and limited big plays from the Ducks.

VALERO ALAMO BOWL (Michigan State vs. Texas Tech)

  • The pick: Texas Tech 31, Michigan State 27

  • Actual score: Texas Tech 41, Michigan State 31

  • 20-20 hindsight: Despite all of the bizarre circumstances surrounding this game, things went more or less as planned on the field. Texas Tech's offense showed few effects from head coach Mike Leach's dismissal, while Michigan State's secondary continued to struggle. The Spartans played admirably without 14 of their teammates (suspended or dismissed), but they didn't generate enough offense or make enough stops in the second half to hold off the Red Raiders.

FEDEX ORANGE BOWL (Iowa vs. Georgia Tech)

  • The pick: Iowa 28, Georgia Tech 27

  • Actual score: Iowa 24, Georgia Tech 14

  • 20-20 hindsight: I picked the right outcome, but the score ended up way off. I expected much more from Georgia Tech's offense, and evidently so did Paul Johnson. I knew Norm Parker would have Iowa's defense ready to go after a month's preparation, but the Hawkeyes thoroughly dominated Josh Nesbitt and the Yellow Jackets, holding them to just one offensive touchdown. And despite rallying for wins all year, Iowa got the lead and held on to cap a sensational season.

Bowl record: 5-2

Regular-season record: 64-24 (.727)

Final record: 69-26 (.726)