Big Ten: Orange Bowl

The Orange Bowl has featured a Big Ten team only six times in its 78-year history, but that soon could change.

Colleague Brett McMurphy reported Monday night that the Orange Bowl and the ACC are finalizing a deal that would pair the ACC champion against Notre Dame, an SEC team or a Big Ten team beginning in the 2014 season, when the four-team playoff arrives in college football. A Big Ten team could head to Orange Bowl if it doesn't play in the Rose Bowl or a national semifinal game. Miami also could be a landing spot for the Big Ten's top team in years where the Rose Bowl is designated as a national semifinal and no Big Ten teams finish in the top four.

This doesn't mean the Big Ten's best team will head to Miami rather than Pasadena in most years, or even very often at all. McMurphy reports the selection process for determining the ACC's opponent is still to be determined, and a Big Ten team likely would be behind Notre Dame, the ACC's newest member in sports other than football, and possibly an SEC team. But the Big Ten's inclusion in the deal creates a potential landing spot in years where the Rose Bowl is part of the playoff, which doesn't figure to be very often (two or three times in the initial 12-year deal).

Big Ten teams are 4-2 in the Orange Bowl. Penn State had a 4-1 record in the game as an independent, while Nebraska went 8-9 as a member of the Big Eight/Big 12, the second-most appearances of any team in the game.

FedEx Orange Bowl

December, 6, 2009
12/06/09
9:00
PM ET
FedEx Orange Bowl: Iowa (10-2) vs. Georgia Tech (11-2)
Jan. 5, 8 p.m., (FOX)

Nothing came easily for Iowa this season, even the team's BCS at-large berth.

Hawkeyes fans had to sweat it out Sunday night and hope bowl selection committees prioritized what had happened on the field ahead of outside factors in their final decisions. Because between the lines, Iowa was a heck of a football team this fall. And it gets one final chance to silence its critics against ACC champion Georgia Tech in the FedEx Orange Bowl.

Kirk Ferentz's team will get a big boost for the bowl as quarterback Ricky Stanzi returns from a severe right ankle sprain. Stanzi drives fans nuts with interceptions, but he's a tremendous clutch player and instills confidence in everyone around him. Stanzi and big-play wideouts Marvin McNutt and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos face a Georgia Tech defense that can be gashed.

The big question Jan. 5 will be how Iowa's fundamentally sound defense handles Jonathan Dwyer, Josh Nesbitt and Georgia Tech's triple-option offense, which ranks second nationally in rushing (307.2 ypg) and 11th in scoring (35.3 ppg). Iowa boasts an excellent defensive front seven, led by linebacker Pat Angerer and ends Adrian Clayborn and Broderick Binns. Those defenders need to be at their best against the Ramblin' Wreck.

Iowa returns to the Orange Bowl for the first time since 2003, when it got crushed by USC. The Hawkeyes never have faced Georgia Tech.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

A few Big Ten items before the drive home: 

  • If you can't tell already, I'm a big fan of Doug Lesmerises' Ohio State blog on The Cleveland Plain Dealer site. Some more good stuff today, including the endless debate about Terrelle Pryor's playing time, the comedy of left tackle Alex Boone (the next Kirk Barton) and some pictures of tough guys looking tough.
  • A little bit of a surprise here as Ohio State running back Beanie Wells tops SI.com's preseason Heisman watch. Wells sounds off on his injuries, his speech before the Michigan game and his iPod selection in a Q&A with Gene Menez. 
  • The two-quarterback system hasn't worked before at Michigan, the Detroit Free Press' Jamie Samuelsen writes in his blog.
  • Running back Nate Guillory didn't have the time to wait his turn at Iowa and had to transfer, Andy Hamilton writes in the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
  • Here's a full transcript from the revealing teleconferences this morning with Penn State quarterbacks Daryll Clark and Pat Devlin, courtesy of The Altoona Mirror's Cory Giger. 
  • Penn State defensive end Josh Gaines thinks the current line is better than the 2005 version that got to the Orange Bowl, The Patriot-News' Bob Flounders writes in his blog.
  • I meant to post this several days ago, but comedian and die-hard Iowa fan Tom Arnold responds to allegations that he's become an Alabama backer after recently attending Crimson Tide practice, The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette's Mike Hlas writes on his blog, appropriately titled The Hlog. Wonder if the editors will let me call this the Rittenblog. Speaking of editors, Arnold needs one in his e-mail. 
  • The Indianapolis Star's Terry Hutchens was spot on with his 2007 prediction for Indiana football, getting the team's overall record, bowl game and bowl opponent correct. Here's his forecast for this fall.
  • If you missed it yesterday, Indiana defensive end Greg Middleton, the nation's sacks leader in 2007, has been suspended for Saturday's opener along with three reserves.

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