Dienhart: Weekly Bowl Projections

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

CAPITAL ONE (vs. SEC)
Jan. 2, 2012
1 p.m., ET
Orlando
Michigan State vs. Arkansas

OUTBACK (vs. SEC)
Jan. 2, 2012
1 p.m., ET
Tampa
Michigan vs. South Carolina

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

TAXSLAYER GATOR BOWL (vs. SEC)
Jan. 2, 2012
1 p.m., ET
Jacksonville
Ohio State vs. Florida

MEINEKE CAR CARE of TEXAS (vs. Big 12)
Dec. 31, 2011
12 p.m. ET
Houston
Penn State vs. Baylor

TICKETCITY BOWL (vs. C-USA)
Jan 2., 2012
12 p.m., ET
Dallas
Iowa vs. SMU

LITTLE CAESARS (vs. MAC)
Dec. 27, 2011
4:30 p.m. ET
Detroit
Illinois vs. Northern Illinois

ADDITIONAL BOWLS

NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL (BIG EAST vs. BIG 12)*
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.

KRAFT FIGHT HUNGER BOWL (PAC-12 vs. Army)*
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.

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