Sunday, October 16, 2011
Big Ten bowl projections: Week 7
By Brian Bennett and Adam Rittenberg
We have a new front-runner in the Legends Division. Does that also mean we have a new favorite to claim the Big Ten's second BCS spot?
Michigan State asserted itself as the team to beat in the Legends with a 28-14 victory over previously unbeaten Michigan on Saturday. That win lifted the Spartans up in our latest Big Ten bowl projections, as we now have them ticketed for a Tostitos Fiesta Bowl appearance. However, Michigan State has to play Wisconsin this week, and if it were to lose to the Badgers now and in the Big Ten title game but win out, that would mean a 10-3 final record. That might not be good enough for a BCS at-large bid, and it might crack the door open for another team -- like Nebraska, Penn State or even Michigan -- to grab the bid. If there is a second bid. Remember, teams that lose league title games are often shut out of BCS at-large berths.
But for now we'll give the nod to the Spartans and their unrelenting defense.
Michigan and Penn State are both 6-1, but we like the Wolverines' remaining schedule more than what the Nittany Lions must deal with in November. Ohio State moves up after a key win over Illinois, at the expense of those same Illini.
Northwestern clings to our last bowl spot for now, but the 2-4 Wildcats have a lot of work to do to gain postseason eligibility. Purdue missed a big chance to get closer to bowl status with its five-point loss to Penn State.
Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO: Wisconsin vs. BCS team
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Michigan State vs. BCS team
Capital One Bowl: Nebraska vs. SEC team
Outback Bowl: Michigan vs. SEC team
Insight Bowl: Penn State vs. Big 12 team
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl: Ohio State vs. SEC team
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: Illinois vs. Big 12 team
TicketCity Bowl: Iowa vs. Big 12 team
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Northwestern vs. MAC team