Dienhart: Weekly Bowl Projections

Just one more victory. That’s all Purdue and Northwestern need to become bowl eligible. And if each makes it, the Big Ten will have 10 bowl-eligible teams. However, the Big Ten has just eight bowl slots. Two more would need to be found for all of the Big Ten teams to find a postseason home. That means the Big Ten needs other leagues or schools to fail to have enough bowl eligible teams to fill their bowl slots.

But it may be difficult to find postseason homes for all the Big Ten teams, meaning someone may be left home. The crush could be eliminated if the Big Ten sends two teams to BCS bowls, but that may be a long shot. Purdue plays host to Iowa this Saturday, while Northwestern welcomes Minnesota to Evanston. The Boilermakers finish at Indiana, and the Wildcats’ finale is at home vs. Michigan State.

The division races are firming up with Michigan State in control of its destiny in the Legends, and Penn State and Wisconsin in control of their fates in the Leaders. It’s simple for all three—win out, and advance to the Big Ten championship game. The Nittany Lions and Badgers meet in their regular-season finale in what could be a de facto Leaders Division title game.

Following is a look at how I slot the Big Ten schools in bowls.

ROSE (vs. BCS)
Jan. 2, 2012
4:30 p.m., ET
Pasadena, Calif.
Wisconsin vs. Oregon

Jan. 2, 2012
1 p.m., ET
Michigan State vs. Arkansas

Jan. 2, 2012
1 p.m., ET
Michigan vs. South Carolina

INSIGHT (vs. Big 12)
Dec. 30, 2011
10 p.m. ET
Tempe, Ariz.
Nebraska vs. Missouri

Jan. 2, 2012
1 p.m., ET
Ohio State vs. Florida

Dec. 31, 2011
12 p.m. ET
Penn State vs. Baylor

Jan 2., 2012
12 p.m., ET
Iowa vs. SMU

Dec. 27, 2011
4:30 p.m. ET
Illinois vs. Northern Illinois


Dec. 30, 2011
3:30 p.m. ET
New York
Purdue vs. Pitt
*The Boilermakers would fill this spot because the Big 12 may not have enough bowl eligible teams.

Dec. 31, 2011
3:30 p.m. ET
San Francisco, Calif.
Northwestern vs. Cal
*The Wildcats would fill this spot because Army won’t be bowl eligible.

Note: Here is the Big Ten Bowl Selection Order:

First Selection: Rose Bowl Game/BCS
Second Selection: Capital One Bowl
Third Selection: Outback Bowl
Fourth Selection: Insight Bowl
Fifth Selection: Gator Bowl
Sixth Selection: Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
Seventh Selection: TicketCity Bowl
Eighth Selection: Little Caesars Pizza Bowl

Tom Dienhart is a senior writer for BTN.com. Find all of his work at www.btn.com/tomdienhart, follow Dienhart on twitter at @BTNTomDienhart, and click here to subscribe to his RSS feed.


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (7 Comments)
Herbie Husker on 11/15/2011 @ 6:43pm EDT Said:

Michigan ahead of Nebraska? I thought this guy new what he was talking about but this made me change my mind. Guess this weekend solves that one. It really does not interest me to play a Big 12 team. I want to play the SEC. Big 12 is a good conferece but Missouri stinks and we beat them last year with ease and we have improved and they have gotten worse.

huskerred on 11/15/2011 @ 8:59pm EDT Said:

Tom, You seem to over look the Fiesta Bowl seems that their is a good possibility of a Big 10 team being offered (see: http://espn.go.com/colleges/oklahoma/football/story/_/id/7232243/fiesta-bowl-eyeing-oklahoma-sooners-nebraska-cornhuskers ). I disagree with your predictions as you have not given consideration to this scenario. First, I believe Neb wins out, PSU wins one more leaving Wiscy out and MSU wins out. Therefore MSU to the Rose, Wiscy to the Outback, Neb to Fiesta, Mich to Insight.

San Diego Mick on 11/16/2011 @ 10:51pm EDT Said:

You Nebraska fans are funny, so you think that you’re just going to come into Ann arbor and win with no problem by the way you’re talking.
Trust me when I say that playing against U-M year in and year out is gonna be pretty painful for Husker Fans.

Our program is starting to recover, already, from that pathetic RichRod era and our Defense is better than yours and we’re playing at home. Without boring you too much w/facts, I suggest you study this game a little more.

If anyone has a chance to win out, it’s Michigan. But hey beat Iowa and you’ll be 9-3 for the season and get your wish with a Florida Bowl against some SEC team, good on ya!

huskerred on 11/17/2011 @ 6:59pm EDT Said:

Mick, I meant no disrespect, but I am afterall a Neb fan. As far as a no problem win against U of M is a leap on your end. Saturdays game should be a barn burner for sure. I lean to a Neb win, for one as a Neb fan. Second because both teams measures up fairly evenly except in “strenght of schedule.” This week Neb is at 25 and U of M is at 41 in the nation. U of M has home field advantage. However, Neb will be prepared for this week game in AA and normally (key word) Neb does well in these types of environments. I for one am happy that Neb plays U of M every year, nothing wrong with great teams battling it out between the lines.

Herbie Husker on 11/18/2011 @ 6:23pm EDT Said:

Yes you have to share the stage with another great program now. For years we heard that the Big 10 always beats up on each other and I kind of just laughed and said, sure if you say so. But now we see that it had some valididy to it. If you have confidence in your team thats what makes it more fun. No one likes playing a team where the fans could care less. Yes their are more games to be played but this is the projections page. So you are supposed to guess what may happen. Of course Michigan is a tall order for us. But as Husker fans we EXPECT to win every game. Anything less is a disapointment. Their are no morals victories. Every game in this conference is the next biggest game. Nebraska has traditonally had trouble with a moblie quarterback. Don’t get upset with Nebraska fans we mean no disrespect. We are just dreaming of bigger things like the rest of the Big 10. And I for one like our chances. GO BIG RED!

Denard's My Guy on 5/7/2012 @ 11:08am EDT Said:

Although hindsight is 20/20, this guy showed his disdain for the wolverines with these lame predictions. As Michigan was the only Big Ten team to win a BCS bowlgame, I hope he has been fired!

    BTN.com staff on 5/7/2012 @ 11:15am EDT Said:

    Nope. Thankfully, Tom’s still with us! Thanks for the note!