Sunday, November 20, 2011
Big Ten bowl projections: Week 13
By Brian Bennett and Adam Rittenberg
We don't know who will take the BCS bid or bids out of the Big Ten, but at least the candidate pool has been whittled to a final four.
Michigan State, Wisconsin or Penn State is going to the Rose Bowl. The Spartans already have punched their ticket to the league championship game, and the Badgers and Nittany Lions will fight it out for the other spot this week. The loser of that game will have three losses and would be highly unlikely to gain an at-large BCS bid.
That means Michigan is the other team with a chance at the BCS. The Wolverines' win over Nebraska on Saturday was a virtual at-large elimination game. If they can beat Ohio State in Ann Arbor this week, a 10-2 record would put Brady Hoke's team in position for a berth in one of the big bowls, especially given the rabid following for the Maize and Blue.
What else did we figure out in Week 12? Well, Northwestern clinched bowl eligibility by beating Minnesota, while Purdue gave itself no room for error by losing at home to Iowa. The Boilers have to beat Indiana on the road this week to get to 6-6, and even then they will likely be less attractive to bowls than Iowa or Northwestern. Penn State has some major image issues, but the Nittany Lions have earned a higher bowl slot than the Ohio State team they just beat. We'll see if that happens.
And sorry, Penn State and Michigan State fans, but we're projecting Wisconsin to win this week at home and to get revenge on the Spartans in Indianapolis. The rest falls into place as follows:
Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO, Jan. 2: Wisconsin vs. BCS team
Allstate Sugar Bowl, Jan. 3: Michigan vs. BCS team
Capital One Bowl, Jan. 2: Michigan State vs. SEC team
Outback Bowl, Jan. 2: Nebraska vs. SEC team
Insight Bowl, Dec. 30: Penn State vs. Big 12 team
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, Jan. 2: Ohio State vs. SEC team
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, Dec. 31: Iowa vs. Big 12 team
TicketCity Bowl, Jan. 2: Northwestern vs. Big 12 team
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Dec. 27: Purdue vs. MAC team
At-large: Illinois vs. TBA