The Big Ten has seven out of 12 teams in a bowl game, with Penn State and Ohio State both ineligible due to NCAA sanctions.
Here is how we rank the bowl games involving Big Ten teams:
1. Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla.: No. 18 Michigan (8-4) vs. No. 10 South Carolina (10-2), Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN) -- The Wolverines need a marquee non-conference win as badly as any team in the league. Michigan was blown out by Alabama and lost a sloppy game against Notre Dame in South Bend earlier this season. However, a victory means the Wolverines must crack one of the toughest defenses in the country. The Gamecocks are ranked 12th nationally, allowing a mere 312.3 yards per game.
2. Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Fla.: No. 16 Nebraska (10-3) vs. No. 7 Georgia (11-2), Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET (ABC) -- So how exactly do the Cornhuskers rebound from yielding 70 points and a school-record 539 yards rushing to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game? It won't be easy against the Bulldogs. Georgia RB Todd Gurley is ranked 35th in the country in rushing, averaging nearly 97 yards per game.
3. Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.: Wisconsin (8-5) vs. No. 6 Stanford (11-2), Jan. 1, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN) -- The Badgers claimed their third straight league title but have left Pasadena disappointed each of the past two years. Wisconsin last claimed a Rose Bowl victory following the 1999 season when it beat the Cardinal 17-9. The Badgers are hoping for history to repeat itself -- just not the recent kind.
4. Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla.: No. 20 Northwestern (9-3) vs. Mississippi State (8-4), Jan. 1, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN2) -- The Wildcats aren't far from being undefeated. The team held fourth-quarter leads in losses to Penn State, Nebraska and Michigan. This matchup also features two of the most disciplined teams in the country: Mississippi State is ranked fifth in the country in turnover margin (plus-1.42 per game) while Northwestern is 10th (1.08).
5. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Ariz.: Michigan State (6-6) vs. Texas Christian (7-5), Dec. 29, 10:15 p.m. ET (ESPN) -- Hey, a game across the country could be a boon for the Spartans after losing five home games this season. And Michigan State will be sure to pack its defense. The unit is ranked fourth in the country, yielding just 273.3 yards per game.
6. Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston: Minnesota (6-6) vs. Texas Tech (7-5), Dec. 28, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN) -- The Golden Gophers finally get a chance to show off their elite pass defense. The secondary is ranked 11th in the country, giving up just 178.5 yards per game through the air. The Red Raiders counter with an aerial attack ranked second in the nation, averaging nearly 362 passing yards per game.
7. Heart of Dallas Bowl in Dallas: Purdue (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State (7-5), Jan. 1, 12 p.m. ET (ESPNU) -- It's hard to find a hotter team in the country than the Boilermakers. The team won its final three games by an average of nine points to reach its second consecutive bowl game. The Cowboys, however, have dropped two straight and three of their past five, allowing at least 21 points in each game over that span.
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from Big Ten bloggers Dave Carey and Mike Singer, follow @CBSSportsBigTen.