The Ohio State Buckeyes ended the 2011 football season in disappointing fashion, losing their final three games to finish the season with a 3-5 record in the Big Ten and a 6-6 record overall. But since losing to Michigan to close the season, the program's strength and reputation has brought good news to ease the pain endured on the field.
First, the Buckeyes made a major league hire in Urban Meyer to take over the head coaching duties next year. Now it appears, the Ohio State name and fan base will help land the Buckeyes in a better bowl game than expected. According to SB Nation and College Football News, Ohio State projects to play in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida against the Florida Gators.
While both Ohio State and Florida struggled this season, the Gators also finished the season 6-6 and 3-5 in the SEC, they are two programs that bring plenty of buzz. Then you throw in the intriguing story lines surrounding former Florida coach Meyer watching the game as the coach-in-waiting for Ohio State and you have a non-BCS bowl organizer's dream.
The Gator Bowl normally takes the Big Ten's fourth or fifth team, so considering the Buckeyes finished the season tied for eighth in the conference, Ohio State did well cashing in on the brand they built up with so much past success.
Here's where the rest of the Big Ten projects to go bowling:
Ohio State Buckeyes
SB Nation and CFN: vs. Florida in Gator Bowl - Jan. 2, Jacksonville, FL, 1:00 p.m. ESPN2
SBNation: vs. UCLA in Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl - Dec. 3, San Francisco, CA, 3:30 p.m. ESPN
CFN: vs. Air Force in Sheraton Hawaii Bowl - Dec. 24, Honolulu, HI, 8:00 p.m. ESPN
SB Nation and CFN: Ohio (SB Nation) or Northern Illinois (CFN) in Little Caesars Pizza Bowl - Dec. 27, Detroit, MI, 4:30 p.m. ESPN
SB Nation: vs. Texas A&M in Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, Houston, TX, 12:00 p.m. ESPN
CFN: vs. Texas in Insight Bowl - Dec. 30, Tempe, AZ 10:00 p.m.
Penn State Nittany Lions
SB Nation: vs. Texas in Insight Bowl - Dec. 30, Tempe, AZ 10:00 p.m
CFN: vs. Texas A&M in Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, Houston, TX, 12:00 p.m. ESPN
SB Nation and CFN: vs. Houston in Ticket City Bowl - Jan. 2, Dallas, TX, 12:00 p.m. ESPNU
SB Nation: vs. South Carolina in Outback Bowl - Jan. 2, Tampa, FL, 1:00 p.m. ABC
CFN: vs. Arkansas in Capitol one Bowl - Jan. 2, Orlando, FL, 1:00 p.m. ESPN
Michigan State Spartans
SB Nation: vs. Georgia in Capitol one Bowl - Jan. 2, Orlando, FL, 1:00 p.m. ESPN
CFN: vs. Georgia in Outback Bowl - Jan. 2, Tampa, FL, 1:00 p.m. ABC
SB Nation: vs. Kansas State in Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - Jan. 2, Glendale, AZ, 8:30 p.m. ESPN
CFN: vs. Kansas State in Allstate Sugar Bowl - Jan 3., New Orleans, LA, 8:30 p.m. ESPN
SB Nation and CFN: vs. Oregon in Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO - Jan. 2, Pasadena, CA, 5:00 p.m. ESPN