Dienhart: My Week 8 Big Ten bowl projections

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.

BOWL GAME MATCHUP TOM’S PROJECTIONS
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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