Sunday, September 29, 2013
Big Ten bowl projections: Week 5
By Brian Bennett and Adam Rittenberg
Half of the league was off in Week 5, and Ohio State maintained its perch atop the league, so we didn't make too many changes in the projections.
Wisconsin is among the nation's best two-loss teams and could run the table the rest of the way, putting itself in position for a possible BCS at-large berth. But right now, it's still hard to put two Big Ten teams in BCS bowls, at least until we see more from Northwestern and Michigan.
Illinois and Iowa were two of the three eligible Big Ten teams to miss the postseason in 2012. Although the Illini and Hawkeyes have some work left to go bowling, we expect both to be somewhere warm in late December or early January. Tim Beckman's Illini (3-1) already have exceeded last year's wins total, while the Hawkeyes are 4-1 with a bunch of momentum heading into the meat of their Big Ten schedule.
Minnesota remains in the projections, but just barely. Although the Gophers need only two more wins to become eligible, they play a brutal schedule the rest of the way and didn't look ready for Big Ten action on Saturday against Iowa. It may take a signature win for Jerry Kill's crew to go bowling once again.
Rose Bowl presented by VIZIO, Jan. 1: Ohio State
Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1: Michigan
Outback Bowl, Jan. 1: Wisconsin
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, Jan. 1: Nebraska
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 28: Northwestern
Texas Bowl, Dec. 27: Michigan State
Heart of Dallas Bowl, Jan. 1: Iowa
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Dec. 26: Illinois
At-large bowl: Minnesota