Chicago Colleges: bowl index 2012

Big Ten bowl projections: Week 14

November, 25, 2012
11/25/12
8:45
PM CT
For the first time this fall, we can say that bowl projections are actually pretty easy this week.

All the Big Ten regular-season games are done, so we know exactly which teams are going bowling and which teams are not. And unless Wisconsin pulls an upset in the Big Ten championship game, the slotting looks fairly clear as well.

We know this much: If Nebraska wins, it will obviously go to the Rose Bowl. There will definitely be no at-large BCS bid in that scenario. The Capital One Bowl would then likely take Michigan with its No. 2 pick. Northwestern would go to the Outback, while Wisconsin would go to the Gator. Michigan State is a near-lock for the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, with Minnesota going to the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas and Purdue joining the Gophers in the Lone Star State in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

The monkey wrench comes in if Wisconsin were to win Saturday in Indianapolis. Nebraska could still be in range for an at-large BCS bid with a loss, but a potential 10-3 Huskers team would probably need some help -- and for a big bowl to be enamored with the Big Red fan base.

If the Huskers were to sneak into an at-large BCS game, everyone but Michigan would then likely just move up a spot. If Nebraska misses out on the BCS party, the Capital One Bowl says it still can select Michigan ahead of Nebraska despite a 2-win differential. The Cap One would like to avoid a Nebraska repeat, but it also doesn't want a Michigan-Alabama rematch if it comes to that.

But for now, we're sticking with our projection of Nebraska as Big Ten champion, though we reserve the right to change our mind before our official Big Ten title game picks later this week. So the bowl lineup looks like this:

Rose Bowl, Jan. 1: Nebraska
Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1: Michigan
Outback Bowl, Jan. 1: Northwestern
Gator Bowl, Jan. 1: Wisconsin
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 29: Michigan State
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, Dec. 28: Minnesota
Heart of Dallas Bowl, Jan. 1: Purdue
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Dec. 26: At large (will not filled by Big Ten)

Big Ten bowl projections: Week 13

November, 19, 2012
11/19/12
11:07
AM CT
We're two weeks from officially knowing the Big Ten's bowl lineup, but there's still a lot to be decided.

Indiana's postseason hopes are dashed after the Hoosiers suffered their seventh loss Saturday at Penn State. Iowa also won't be going bowling for the first time since 2007 after getting pummeled at Michigan to ensure its first losing regular season since 2000.

Purdue and Michigan State are still alive for bowls, but both teams must win this week to reach the six-victory plateau. The Boilers host Indiana in the Bucket game, while Michigan State visits Minnesota. We're projecting both teams to win their games and squeak into the postseason -- hardly the outcome either the Boilers or the Spartans thought would happen when a promising season kicked off 12 weeks ago.

The Big Ten still has an outside shot at getting a BCS at-large berth, although the Pac-12 strengthened its chances for two BCS teams Saturday and the ACC still has both Florida State and Clemson in line to reach BCS games. But if Michigan wins this week against Ohio State and gets into the top 14, it would be a very appealing team with losses only to Notre Dame, Alabama and Nebraska. Could Nebraska reach the Big Ten title game, lose to Wisconsin in Indy and still remain eligible for at-large selection by staying in the top 14 of the final BCS standings? We don't think the Huskers can, but it's not impossible.

One big change this week: We're elevating Northwestern ahead of Wisconsin. Why? The Outback Bowl can't select a team with two fewer losses than another available Big Ten club. If the Wildcats beat Illinois on Saturday and Wisconsin loses at Penn State -- both reasonable assumptions -- then Northwestern would finish 9-3 and Wisconsin would take a 7-5 record to the Big Ten title game, where it would be an underdog. The Badgers would also potentially end the year with three straight losses and be far less attractive as a bowl team.

If you're curious about the Big Ten's bowl selection procedures, here's a refresher from last year. As you're reading, just remember to flip the Insight Bowl (now Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl) for the Gator Bowl, as the two trade spots this year.

But for now, here's how we see things shaking out.

Rose Bowl, Jan. 1: Nebraska
Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1: Michigan
Outback Bowl, Jan. 1: Northwestern
Gator Bowl, Jan. 1: Wisconsin
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 29: Michigan State
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, Dec. 28: Minnesota
Heart of Dallas Bowl, Jan. 1: Purdue
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Dec. 26: At large (not filled by Big Ten)

Big Ten bowl projections: Week 12

November, 11, 2012
11/11/12
7:59
PM CT
The Big Ten bowl picture is beginning to take shape.

We know Wisconsin will be headed back to Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game, and Nebraska took a big step toward Naptown after another second-half rally Saturday against Penn State. All along, we've been projecting the Legends Division champion to the Rose Bowl, so nothing changes after Week 11.

There's still a slight chance Michigan could earn a BCS at-large berth, but a lot would have to go right in other conferences, and Michigan would need a significant boost in the rankings from a win against Ohio State. Right now, we still have the Wolverines heading to the Capital One Bowl for the first time since the 2008 game.

There are no changes with the next four bowl projections -- Outback, Gator, Buffalo Wild Wings and Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas. The only change in this week's projections is Purdue's return following a road win against Iowa. Although the Boilers are just 1-5 in Big Ten play, they must only beat 2-8 Illinois on the road and rival Indiana at home to become bowl eligible at 6-6. Right now, we think Danny Hope's crew can get it done.

Indiana's and Iowa's bowl hopes both took major hits Saturday following home losses. The Hoosiers must win at both Penn State and at Purdue to go bowling, while Iowa must beat Michigan (road) and Nebraska (home). We don't see either squad reaching six wins.

Let's get to the latest projections:

Rose Bowl, Jan. 1: Nebraska
Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1: Michigan
Outback Bowl, Jan. 1: Wisconsin
Gator Bowl, Jan. 1: Northwestern
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 29: Michigan State
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, Dec. 28: Minnesota
Heart of Dallas Bowl, Jan. 1: Purdue
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Dec. 26: At-large (not filled by Big Ten)

Big Ten bowl projections: Week 11

November, 5, 2012
11/05/12
11:59
AM CT
With just three weeks to go in the regular season, some teams are running out of time in their quest to make a bowl. As a result, we're running out of eligible teams to put in our bowl projections.

As we wrote earlier on Sunday, the Big Ten could have its smallest bowl contingent (five teams) since 1998, back when the league had only 11 teams. Right now, only Nebraska, Michigan, Wisconsin and Northwestern are guaranteed to make the postseason. Minnesota and Michigan State each have five wins and will play each other this month, so at least one of those teams will go bowling.

After that, it gets iffy. We are no longer projecting Iowa -- which is 4-5 with games left at Michigan and home against Nebraska -- to make a bowl game. Purdue already has six losses and does not look capable or particularly interested in winning three straight. Indiana is on the cusp at 4-5, but the Hoosiers will need to beat Wisconsin this week or win at Penn State on Nov. 17 to have a chance. So we're holding off on putting them in a bowl for now.

Nebraska, which is in good shape to make it to the Big Ten title game, remains atop our projections. Michigan and Wisconsin hold serve. While the Gator Bowl might not be thrilled about the prospect of taking Northwestern, at this point its only better options might be a 7-5 Michigan State or a 6-6 Minnesota squad. So the Wildcats move up.

Sorry to break your heart, Heart of Dallas Bowl, but we don't have a Big Ten team eligible for your game in our latest projections, which look like this:

Rose Bowl, Jan. 1: Nebraska
Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1: Michigan
Outback Bowl, Jan. 1: Wisconsin
Gator Bowl, Jan. 1: Northwestern
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 29: Michigan State
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, Dec. 28: Minnesota
Heart of Dallas Bowl, Jan. 1: At-large (not filled by Big Ten)
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Dec. 26: At-large (not filled by Big Ten)

Big Ten bowl projections: Week 8

October, 14, 2012
10/14/12
8:45
PM CT

Oh, Gene Smith. If only Ohio State had self-imposed a bowl ban in 2011 before the NCAA did (for 2012), there's a good chance the unbeaten Buckeyes would be headed to some BCS game, perhaps the big one Jan. 7 in Miami.

As it stands, Ohio State is out of the mix (along with Penn State), and Michigan, despite two losses to top-10 teams, looks like the Big Ten's best bet to reach the Rose Bowl. The Wolverines have been dominant in their first two Big Ten games, and enter a crucial Legends stretch against Michigan State and Nebraska. Right now, Brady Hoke's squad clearly is the team to beat.

Wisconsin makes a nice move in the projections after dismantling Purdue at Ross-Ade Stadium. Following back-to-back trips to Pasadena, the Badgers are pegged for a familiar bowl site -- Orlando, Fla. -- in the Capital One Bowl. Nebraska drops a spot in the projections, partly because of its struggles and partly because it visited the Capital One Bowl last season. Iowa, meanwhile, moves up after its road upset of Michigan State. Although Iowa and Northwestern could finish with similar records, Iowa's larger fan base gets it the nod to the Gator Bowl.

Michigan State, our preseason Rose Bowl pick, tumbles to the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas following its third home loss of the season. The Spartans could be looking at more defeats, as their upcoming schedule (Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska) only gets tougher.

We're keeping both Minnesota and Purdue in the bowl projections for now, but both teams have some work to do. The Gophers certainly could get to six wins with MarQueis Gray, but the senior quarterback's health remains a question mark. Purdue is an absolute mess and could have a tough time winning three more times. Indiana isn't in the projections just yet but has shown impressive fight in Big Ten play and has some winnable games left.

Here's our latest way-too-early stab at projecting the postseason:

Rose Bowl, Jan. 1: Michigan

Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1: Wisconsin

Outback Bowl, Jan. 1: Nebraska

Gator Bowl, Jan. 1: Iowa

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 29: Northwestern

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, Dec. 28: Michigan State

Heart of Dallas Bowl, Jan. 1: Minnesota

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Dec. 26: Purdue


Big Ten bowl projections: Week 6

September, 30, 2012
9/30/12
5:16
PM CT
With Big Ten play now in full swing, the postseason bowl picture is much clearer.

Well, OK, not really. But at least we have some head-to-head play to base things on, even if things are as murky as ever. Nebraska hangs on to our top spot after hanging on against Wisconsin at home. Northwestern takes another step up with its 5-0 start, while Michigan State falls after its second loss of the year (both at home).

Not much else has changed, except that Minnesota flip-flops with Iowa after the Hawkeyes dominated the Gophers in Iowa City. The No. 2 bowl slot is still anyone's guess, but we'll stick with Michigan -- and no at-large BCS bid -- for now.

Here's our latest stab at projecting the bowls ...

Rose Bowl (Jan. 1): Nebraska
Capital One Bowl (Jan. 1): Michigan
Outback Bowl (Jan. 1): Purdue
Gator Bowl (Jan. 1): Northwestern
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (Dec. 29): Michigan State
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (Dec. 28): Wisconsin
TicketCity Bowl (Jan. 1): Iowa
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (Dec. 26): Minnesota

Big Ten bowl projections: Week 4

September, 16, 2012
9/16/12
5:06
PM CT
Heaven help us.

We need to somehow project where every Big Ten team is going bowling today, even though we can't even tell you for sure who the best teams are in either division. All Saturday did was make the picture much cloudier, as the team we've been pegging for the Rose Bowl -- Michigan State -- had a dreadful performance against Notre Dame.

Ohio State likely will be the top Big Ten team in The Associated Press poll this week, but of course, the Buckeyes aren't even eligible for a bowl. So where does that leave us?

Well, since no other team has taken the bull by the horns, we might as well stick with our preseason pick of the Spartans winning the Big Ten, even if that seems much less plausible today. We bump up Northwestern (3-0) and Purdue, which is looking pretty good in the Leaders Division race. Wisconsin, which is a missed kick away from being 1-2, falls a couple of more notches. And 3-0 Minnesota stays in the bowl picture after another win.

The latest stab in the increasing darkness:

Rose Bowl (Jan. 1): Michigan State
Capital One Bowl (Jan. 1): Michigan
Outback Bowl (Jan. 1): Nebraska
Gator Bowl (Jan. 1): Purdue
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (Dec. 29): Northwestern
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (Dec. 28): Wisconsin
TicketCity Bowl (Jan. 1): Iowa
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (Dec. 26): Illinois
At-large (TBA): Minnesota

 

SPONSORED HEADLINES