Sunday, October 24, 2010
Big Ten bowl projections: Week 9
By Adam Rittenberg
Wisconsin's road win against Iowa shuffles the bowl projections this week, especially after Michigan State survived a scare against Northwestern. Bret Bielema's Badgers now enter a bye week before a very manageable closing slate.
The likelihood of Wisconsin ending the season 11-1 certainly increased Saturday. The big problem is that the Badgers lost the wrong game and still likely need Michigan State to lose twice to move past the Spartans in the pecking order.
Iowa now needs to win out to have a shot at a BCS bowl, and while the Hawkeyes' home schedule should help them, I don't see this happening.
Michigan State still controls its own destiny, but it's extremely hard to win 12 consecutive games. And a Spartans loss would cost them in the final BCS standings if Ohio State wins out.
That leaves Ohio State, a team that always plays its best football in November under Jim Tressel.
The Big Ten remains in very good shape to send two teams to BCS bowls for the fifth consecutive season. Among Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Iowa, I have a hard time seeing only one BCS bowl entry from the Big Ten.
Illinois seems destined to end its two-year bowl drought and could end up in a higher-tier game, while the bottom of the league isn't easy to project.
As always, these will change, but here's how I see things shaking out.
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. BCS team
Fiesta/Sugar/Orange Bowl: Michigan State vs. BCS team
Capital One Bowl: Wisconsin vs. SEC team
Outback Bowl: Iowa vs. SEC team
Gator Bowl: Illinois vs. SEC team
Insight Bowl: Michigan vs. Big 12 team
Texas Bowl: Penn State vs. Big 12 team
Dallas Football Classic: Northwestern vs. Big 12 team
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Purdue vs. MAC team