Did the Big Ten redeem itself in the bowl season? That's a story for another post. But I can tell you that I gained some manner of redemption for my sorry regular-season predictions with a perfect 7-0 mark on my Big Ten bowl picks.
That wasn't enough to make up for the gap between Rittenberg and me for the year, especially since he did very well, too, in going 6-1. But I'm still going to celebrate and use this as a stepping stone for 2013.
Here's a look back at our bowl predictions as we hit the rewind button:
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
Bennett's pick: Texas Tech 31, Minnesota 17
Rittenberg's pick: Texas Tech 34, Minnesota 21
Actual score: Texas Tech 34, Minnesota 31
20-20 hindsight: Both of us were right on the Texas Tech score and Rittenberg nailed it for the Red Raiders. But neither of us gave enough credit to the Minnesota offense, which we thought would continue its season-long struggles. Adam correctly pegged that "a Minnesota turnover changes the game" as a late interception led to the winning field goal. I was right that Michael Carter (two interceptions) would make some key plays.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Bennett's pick: Michigan State 20, TCU 16
Rittenberg's pick: Michigan State 21, TCU 17
Actual score: Michigan State 17, TCU 16
20-20 hindsight: We both were very close to the score, and I got TCU's on the nose. I picked Le'Veon Bell to rush for 145 yards, and he had 150, so that was good. Of course, I also said Andrew Maxwell would throw for 200 yards, and he had 28. Ouch. Obviously, Maxwell didn't throw a fourth-quarter touchdown pass, either, as Rittenberg predicted.
Heart of Dallas Bowl
Bennett's pick: Oklahoma State 31, Purdue 27
Rittenberg's pick: Oklahoma State 38, Purdue 28
Actual score: Oklahoma State 58, Purdue 14
20-20 hindsight: I thought Purdue actually had to keep this close, but neither of us saw Purdue getting flat-out embarrassed as bad as it was by the Pokes. I predicted 175 receiving yards for Josh Stewart and he had 150, but the less said about our other predicted details, the better.
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl
Bennett's pick: Northwestern 28, Mississippi State 27
Rittenberg's pick: Northwestern 27, Mississippi State 24
Actual score: Northwestern 34, Mississippi State 20
20-20 hindsight: We both picked the 'Cats to win but thought it would be by a razor thin margin. Adam correctly forecast a big interception by Chi Chi Ariguzo. Tyler Russell came nowhere near my prediction of 300 passing yards, and he was intercepted four times.
Bennett's pick: South Carolina 24, Michigan 17
Rittenberg's pick: South Carolina 21, Michigan 16
Actual score: South Carolina 33, Michigan 28
20-20 hindsight: Kudos to Adam for nailing the margin of victory, though it was more high-scoring than he thought. I said Connor Shaw would run for a pair of scores but instead he threw for two. Neither of us saw a backup quarterback making the game-winning pass for South Carolina.
Capital One Bowl
Bennett's pick: Georgia 35, Nebraska 24
Rittenberg's pick: Georgia 38, Nebraska 23
Actual score: Georgia 45, Nebraska 31
20-20 hindsight: Our margins weren't far off at all, though the game featured even more offense than we anticipated. Adam was on the money when he picked Taylor Martinez to have two costly turnovers. My best line: "Georgia owns the fourth quarter." Quite.
Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio
Bennett's pick: Stanford 24, Wisconsin 21
Rittenberg's pick: Wisconsin 24, Stanford 23
Actual score: Stanford 20, Wisconsin 14
20-20 hindsight: And here's the game winner for yours truly. I thought I might nail the score when it was 17-14 in the fourth quarter, but alas. I said Stanford would run the clock out late and beat Wisconsin at its own game. Yep. Adam's call of Montee Ball going for 150 yards was 50 yards short, while his prediction of a Stanford turnover never materialized.
BOWL/FINAL REGULAR-SEASON AND BOWL RECORDS
Adam Rittenberg: 6-1, 82-21 (.796)
Brian Bennett: 7-0, 78-25 (.757)