None of this will be official until tonight, but both Northwestern and Illinois will be playing deep in the heart of Texas for their bowl games this winter.â†µâ†µ
Northwestern heads to Dallas for the TicketCity Bowl on New Year's Day against Texas Tech. Oddly, even though that's a New Year's Day bowl, it ranks lower in the bowl hierarchy, based on where Big Ten teams are slotted to go, than the Texas Bowl. It's also lower in the TV hierarchy; the TicketCity Bowl is on ESPNU, which drove a lot of Wildcat fans crazy when they couldn't watch the Wrigleyville Classic on TV. This game, at least, has the cachet of being played in the historic Cotton Bowl (the Cotton Bowl game itself is in Cowboys Stadium).â†µâ†µ
The Texas Bowl will be where the Illinois Fighting Illini will be headed. They'll be facing Baylor; the game will be played on Dec. 29 at Reliant Stadium in Houston and has an "exclusive" TV window -- meaning no other game is played at the same time -- on ESPN.â†µâ†µ
Meanwhile, for Notre Dame fans, remember the old "Catholics vs. Convicts" rivalry with Miami in the 1980s? It'll be rekindled this year in the Dec. 31 Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, televised on CBS at 1 p.m. CST.