Bowl projections: Boilers out, Huskers looking rosy

The bowl picture got a bit jumbled after a topsy-turvy weekend. The big winner was Nebraska, which moved into the Rose Bowl slot with its triumph over Michigan. The Legends Division is the Cornhuskers if they win out, which could set up a likely clash with Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. The Huskers beat the Badgers, 30-27, earlier this season.

Michigan still is primed for a nice bowl and still could go to the Rose if it wins out and sees Nebraska lose.

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Like Nebraska, Northwestern (beat Iowa) already is bowl eligible and continues to jockey for position. Wisconsin also is bowl eligible and continues to control its destiny in the Leaders Division despite that stunning home overtime loss to Michigan State.

Indiana suddenly is a player in the Leaders race with its win over Illinois. Could the Hoosiers win the division? It may not be as far-fetched as you think if they can beat Wisconsin in Bloomington on Nov. 10.

The Spartans boosted their sagging bowl hopes with a fifth win of the season with that overtime triumph at Wisconsin. Minnesota also augmented its chances by notching a fifth win with a domination of Purdue.

The Boilermakers aren’t as fortunate, as their bowl chances are dimming. Purdue is riding a four-game losing streak and needs to win three of its last four games—Penn State; at Iowa; at Illinois; Indiana—to reach six victories. I don’t see that happening.

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Iowa can relate. It also has no momentum and work to do with just four victories after losing at Northwestern. The Fighting Illini have six losses and can afford no more.

Here is my 10th 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 Northern Illinois vs. Non-Big Ten team
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
Fri. Dec. 28 @ 9 p.m. ET
Big Ten No. 6 vs. Big 12 Texas Tech vs. Iowa
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Sat., Dec. 29 @ 10:15 p.m. ET
Big Ten Nos. 4-5 vs. Big 12 Texas vs. Michigan State
Heart of Dallas Bowl
Tue., Jan. 1 @ noon ET
Big Ten No. 7 vs. C-USA Tulsa vs. Minnesota
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl
Tue., Jan. 1 @ noon ET
Big Ten Nos. 4-5 vs. SEC South Carolina vs. Northwestern
Outback Bowl
Tue., Jan. 1 @ 1 p.m. ET
Big Ten No. 3 vs. SEC Florida vs. Michigan
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 USC vs. Nebraska

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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Show Comments (7 Comments)
7 Post Your Comment
Doug on 10/29/2012 @ 12:41pm EDT Said:

Gator Bowl already said they would take MSU over NW even if NW finished 8-4 and MSU 7-5 due to fan traveling, other than that, looks accurate but not sure if Iowa has 2 wins left in them.

Nick on 10/29/2012 @ 12:53pm EDT Said:

If Northwestern were to finish 9-3 and MSU finishes 6-6 then the Gator Bowl would have no choice but to take Northwestern.

Mark on 10/29/2012 @ 1:25pm EDT Said:

don’t see many bowl wins for the B1G there …………. might be a tough bowl season if these hold true.

Adam on 10/29/2012 @ 1:28pm EDT Said:

The B1G is going to get slaughtered. LSU vs Wisconsin! Florida vs. Michigan. Good Lord have mercy

seve on 10/29/2012 @ 5:28pm EDT Said:

Tom looks like you have forgotten that MSU could win out . Nebraska and Michigan who if Robinson is lost will more than likely lose two or three games would finish up tied for the dividion. MSU could end up 8-3 with a better bowl slotted for them. Don’t give the division to nebraska so easily.

Tom Artman on 11/3/2012 @ 11:44am EDT Said:

The on-field results of the projected bowls is not that simple. The B1G is beating up on each other, and except for the loss of QB Stave and the delicacy of Robinson’s elbow/nerve damage, many of the teams projected to bowls have improved. Beating up on each other in conference play doesn’t say anything about how these teams will match up in the bowls. What it does say is how important specific matchups will be in the bowls. Purdue loses to Ohio St. in overtime, but get blown out by Michigan and Minnesota. Who called that in September?

Basically what I’m saying is, the matchups are potentially daunting, but there is reason to hope.

The moral of the story is: don’t break rules. Without the BCS bid, that moved the strength of the B1G bowl lineup in the B1G’s favor one spot, but then the loss of Ohio St. and Penn St. in the bowl lineup moved the strength up two spots. The net result are the projected matchups.

Ohio St. would be projected for the Rose Bowl. Penn St. would be projected for the Outback, probably, maybe even the Capital One. Fill in the rest of the projected eligible teams from there…see what I mean?

matt on 11/20/2012 @ 4:51pm EDT Said:

Your predictions might just be close, although id like to point out to others one more game for the huskers and they will prove to be division champs, nebraska has worked for everything this season, they have gotten better each and every week, as for other teams michigan looks to have overcome some quarter back issues, but at this point i dont see the huskers being upset by the hawkeyes

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