Northwestern fans were hoping for a bid to the Outback Bowl in Tampa Bay, the same way that, as a kid, I hoped I could teach my cat to set up my bath for me. I knew it wasn’t likely, probably not even possible, but it was still a nice thought to entertain. In Tampa, mini-golf would be a-plenty and the game would have been a winnable one against an inconsistent South Carolina team. It all seemed so perfect. But then reality hit, and it was announced that the Wildcats would be going to the land of the steak burrito: San Antonio.
San Antonio, unless you’re really into rivers or boring yet dominating basketball teams, probably isn’t the place for you. To make matters worse, Northwestern’s foe in the Alamo Bowl is a team that was a chic pre-season pick to win it all: Missouri. Yet, all is not lost. While it may seem like the Alamo Bowl is the Yu-Gi-Oh! to the Outback Bowl’s Pokémon, it is not. In fact, the Alamo Bowl might just be the better option for the Wildcats and their fans.
First off, the match-up is unique in that it features two quarterbacks who are both bigger than your average signal callers. Both C.J Bacher and one-time Heisman candidate Chase Daniel weigh in at well over 200 lbs. and give hope to young gunslingers everywhere even if they too have love handles. Big will be beautiful, as both quarterbacks have shown the ability to shine in big games. Bacher and Daniel are both seniors, who have each set records at their respective schools, and each look to make their last NCAA game count.
With a win, Northwestern could earn some respect for its conference, the fiercely criticized Big Ten. Mizzou is a member of the Big 12, which is considered by many to be the best conference in the country this year. Both teams finished with similar records, but if Northwestern can earn a victory, it would go a long way in proving that the Big Ten is not the Joey Fatone of BCS conferences. South Carolina, the team Northwestern would have played in the Outback Bowl, has been middling all year. Beating them wouldn’t have turned many heads.
Perhaps the biggest advantage that the Alamo Bowl has over the Australian alternative is its date and time. The Alamo Bowl is at 7 p.m. on Dec. 29, while the Outback Bowl kicks off at 10 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Rather than waking up with two minutes left in the third quarter and realizing that you have a tattoo of Tony the Tiger hula-hooping on your left arm thanks to New Year’s Eve shenanigans, the Alamo Bowl gives the average Northwestern fan a chance to invite some friends over, put out the chips and dip and maybe even cue up and buffer the Go U! NU video by Mo Greene.
If all this hasn’t done enough to convince you, and you are still mired in a state of Outback Bowl-less depression, then just repeat the phrase “Northwestern is going to a bowl” to yourself over and over again. You’ll soon realize that a year ago, even a bid to the Emerald Nuts Bowl would have put a smile on your face.
– Lex Singer, Communication freshman