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Sunday, October 6, 2013
Big Ten bowl projections: Week 6

By Brian Bennett and Adam Rittenberg

If you want to see the changes in our bowl projections this week, work your way up from the bottom of the list.

Really, there wasn't a whole lot this week that changed our minds about the top of the projections. Ohio State retains the Rose Bowl spot, for obvious reasons. The biggest question on the Buckeyes right now is whether they can grab a BCS title game spot. Michigan, though certainly still shaky in some areas, is the only other unbeaten team in the Big Ten at this point and remains an attractive draw for bowl partners.

Nebraska won a game it had to have and has a very favorable schedule, while Wisconsin could be favored in the rest of its games, though this week's home contest against a good Northwestern club won't be easy. Michigan State definitely deserves to be ahead of Iowa after a convincing win in Iowa City, but we'll need to see some consistency from the Spartans' defense to believe they can climb the bowl ladder.

So the real change this week is that we now have Indiana in the postseason, going to Detroit. The reason? Indiana improved to 3-2 by beating Penn State and has winnable games left at home versus Illinois, Minnesota and Purdue. The Gophers need only two more wins for bowl eligibility but have inspired very little confidence the past two weeks, especially considering their schedule. The Illini are much improved, but their blowout win over Cincinnati doesn't look quite as good now that we know the Bearcats stink.

The Hoosiers, then, get the last spot, with Minnesota and Illinois on the outside looking in for now.

Rose Bowl presented by VIZIO, Jan. 1: Ohio State
Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1: Michigan
Outback Bowl, Jan. 1: Wisconsin
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 28: Northwestern
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, Jan. 1: Nebraska
Texas Bowl, Dec. 27: Michigan State
Heart of Dallas Bowl, Jan. 1: Iowa
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Dec. 26: Indiana