Dienhart: My bowl projections as race shapes up

Six weeks are in the books, and the bowl picture is coming into a bit sharper focus … a bit. To review: The Big Ten has tie-ins with eight bowls—but it has only 10 bowl-eligible schools, as Penn State and Ohio State are banned from the postseason in 2012.

[RELATED: View our 2012-2013 bowl schedule]

With conference play here, schools now are beating up on each other, alternately helping and hurting each program’s bowl stock. The Big Ten should be able to fill all of its slots, with only Illinois and Indiana not in a bowl for now. And while history says the Big Ten is likely to get two teams in the BCS, it’s probably a long shot to happen this season. The conference has had two teams in the BCS 11 times in the 14-year history of the system.

Here is my seventh look at where your school may be bowling over the holidays:

BOWL GAME MATCHUP TOM’S PROJECTIONS
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Wed., Dec. 26 @ 7:30 p.m. ET
Big Ten No. 8 vs. MAC Toledo vs. Minnesota
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
Fri. Dec. 28 @ 9 p.m. ET
Big Ten No. 6 vs. Big 12 Texas Tech vs. Purdue
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Sat., Dec. 29 @ 10:15 p.m. ET
Big Ten Nos. 4-5 vs. Big 12 Iowa State vs. Wisconsin
Heart of Dallas Bowl
Tue., Jan. 1 @ noon ET
Big Ten No. 7 vs. C-USA Tulsa vs. Iowa
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl
Tue., Jan. 1 @ noon ET
Big Ten Nos. 4-5 vs. SEC LSU vs. Northwestern
Outback Bowl
Tue., Jan. 1 @ 1 p.m. ET
Big Ten No. 3 vs. SEC South Carolina vs. Nebraska
Capital One Bowl
Tue., Jan. 1 @ 1 p.m. ET
Big Ten No. 2 vs. SEC Florida vs. Michigan State
Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio
Tue., Jan. 1 @ 5 p.m. ET
Big Ten No. 1 vs. Pac-12 Oregon vs. Michigan

Here’s my list from last week.

BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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3 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (3 Comments)
K. John on 10/8/2012 @ 5:21pm EST Said:

If the lawsuit moves quicker than expected or the NCAA realizes that their actions were illegal, you can chalk up Penn State for a spot in the Rose Bowl. If not, the Spartans are a lock.

buddy on 10/9/2012 @ 4:26pm EST Said:

It would be tough for Wisconsin to fall to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in a 4-5 situation with Northwestern, since Wisconsin travels so much better.

Hawkeye Fan on 10/16/2012 @ 1:20pm EST Said:

K. John’s comment is pretty funny in retrospect, huh?