Dienhart: My Week 8 Big Ten bowl projections

Northwestern became the first Big Ten team to reach bowl eligibility with its 21-13 win at Minnesota. Wisconsin also enhanced its bowl prospects with a dominating 38-14 win at Purdue, as the Badgers now look like the clear favorite to represent the Leaders Division in the Big Ten title game.

And Iowa asserted itself as a factor in the Legends with a stunning 19-16 double-overtime triumph at Michigan State.

But no team improved its postseason prospects better than Michigan, which has appeared dominating the last two weeks in whipping Purdue, 44-13, and crushing Illinois, 45-0. The Wolverines are looking more and more like the team to beat in the Legends Division.

[RELATED: Week 8 Power Rankings | Week 8 Player Rankings]

However, it seems likely that the Big Ten may not be able to fill all of its eight bowl slots, as Ohio State and Penn State aren’t eligible for the postseason because of NCAA probation.

Minnesota, Purdue and Michigan State all may be hard-pressed to reach the six victories needed for bowl eligibility. Illinois? Indiana? Neither looks like it will make the postseason. But, many games and opportunities still loom.

And while history says the Big Ten is likely to get two teams in the BCS (It has 11 times in the 14-year history of the system and each season since 2005), it’s probably a long shot to happen this season.

Here is my eighth look at where your school may be bowling over the holidays.

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Wed., Dec. 26 @ 7:30 p.m. ET
Big Ten No. 8 vs. MAC Ohio vs. Minnesota
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
Fri. Dec. 28 @ 9 p.m. ET
Big Ten No. 6 vs. Big 12 Iowa State vs. Michigan State
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Sat., Dec. 29 @ 10:15 p.m. ET
Big Ten Nos. 4-5 vs. Big 12 Oklahoma State vs. Northwestern
Heart of Dallas Bowl
Tue., Jan. 1 @ noon ET
Big Ten No. 7 vs. C-USA Tulsa vs. Purdue
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl
Tue., Jan. 1 @ noon ET
Big Ten Nos. 4-5 vs. SEC South Carolina vs. Iowa
Outback Bowl
Tue., Jan. 1 @ 1 p.m. ET
Big Ten No. 3 vs. SEC Mississippi State vs. Nebraska
Capital One Bowl
Tue., Jan. 1 @ 1 p.m. ET
Big Ten No. 2 vs. SEC LSU vs. Wisconsin
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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Your Opinion?
Show Comments (8 Comments)
iavogter27 on 10/15/2012 @ 12:47pm EDT Said:

Oh man Iowa would get absolutely killed if they played south carolina in a bowl…

Doug on 10/15/2012 @ 2:25pm EDT Said:

Big Ten might not win a bowl game this year…

Cliff Bartz on 10/15/2012 @ 6:30pm EDT Said:

At this point i don’t see Minn, Purdue and even Mich. State making bowl games.

aroznowski on 10/15/2012 @ 8:13pm EDT Said:

Here is a scary thought for Big Ten fans like myself. Assume that this week’s BCS standings are the final BCS standings. Assume that the highest ranked team from each conference is a conference champion. The Rose Bowl would match #3 Oregon against some unranked Big Ten team. Let’s hope that the Big Ten can really pick it up over these last seven weeks so that the actual Rose Bowl won’t be such a mismatch.

Matt on 10/16/2012 @ 12:15pm EDT Said:

If Oregon is in the Rose Bowl, who is in the National Championship with Bama?

aroznowski on 10/16/2012 @ 1:03pm EDT Said:

I asserted the condition, “Assume that this week’s BCS standings are the final BCS standings.” Therefore, based on the BCS selection process, Alabama and Florida would be in the national championship game. (See http://www.bcsfootball.org/news/story?id=4819597.) Now I understand that is extremely unlikely to happen. This is just how it would all play out if the season ended today. Thankfully it does not.

Hawkeye Fan on 10/16/2012 @ 1:32pm EDT Said:

iavogter27, I’m not saying I disagree at this point, but people said the same thing before we played the Gamecocks a few years ago in the Outback. Do you remember how that one ended up?

Steve Sanders on 10/20/2012 @ 9:27am EDT Said:

Iowa fan 1st ~ Big Ten fan 2nd
This bowl season has the makings of something real ugly…….😦
I hope I’m wrong. Go Big Ten!