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Sunday, October 20, 2013
Big Ten bowl projections: Week 8

By Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett

Wisconsin is playing like a team worthy of a BCS bowl invite, but will the Badgers get one? It'll be long climb for a team that could finish 10-2.

An at-large spot could open up for the Big Ten if Ohio State reaches the BCS Championship, as the Rose Bowl certainly would want a traditional Big Ten-Pac-12 matchup for its 100th game. But right now, we don't see the Buckeyes reaching the big one on Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif., and have them slotted to play there five days earlier. As a result, we have the Big Ten with only one BCS entry and Wisconsin going to the Capital One Bowl for the first time since the 2006 season.

Nebraska moves up to the Outback Bowl in the projections, as the Huskers, despite not playing in Week 8, are the slightest of favorites to win the Legends Division. We also think the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl will take Michigan rather than choosing Michigan State for the second consecutive season.

The bigger changes come at the bottom as Minnesota, now 5-2 after Saturday's road upset of Northwestern, returns to the projections. Northwestern, meanwhile, is in danger of falling out, although we expect some wins from Pat Fitzgerald's crew once it gets healthy again.

The Minnesota-Indiana game Nov. 2 could end up being a bowl play-in contest. For now, we're keeping Indiana in the projections, while Illinois has a tough road to three more wins.

Without further ado ...

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