Bowl Projections: Two Big Ten teams in BCS bowls?

Ohio State is still on the outside looking in when it comes to playing in the BCS title game (BCS Standings), but plenty of time remains. Don’t fret, Brutus. The Big Ten has a decent shot to get two teams into BCS bowls, with Wisconsin a good bet to finish 10-2 and claim a sweet postseason slot. In fact, I have the Badgers slotted to be an at-large BCS bowl team in this week’s rankings.

[ MORE: Power Rankings | Week 8 grades & stocks | What did Tom learn? | Week 8 picks revisited ]

Rose Bowl, Jan. 1 Big Ten vs. BCS/Pac-12 Ohio State vs. Stanford
Orange Bowl, Jan. 1 BCS at-large vs. ACC Wisconsin vs. Florida State
Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1 Big Ten vs. SEC Michigan State vs. Auburn
Outback Bowl, Jan. 1 Big Ten vs. SEC Nebraska vs. LSU
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 28 Big Ten vs. Big 12 Michigan vs. Texas Tech
Gator Bowl, Jan. 1 Big Ten vs. SEC Northwestern vs. Georgia
Texas Bowl, Dec. 27 Big Ten vs. Big 12 Indiana vs. TCU
Heart of Dallas Bowl, Jan. 1 Big Ten vs. C-USA Iowa vs. North Texas
Little Caesars Pizza, Dec. 26 Big Ten vs. MAC Minnesota vs. Ball State


About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, 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 (35 Comments)
shookwriter27 on 10/21/2013 @ 11:53am EDT Said:

I still think Ohio State has a good shot at the national championship game.

Nicholas Push on 10/21/2013 @ 12:39pm EDT Said:

I don’t think a two loss B1G team makes a BCS game but we’ll see. I also wouldn’t be shocked if OSU drops a game along the way as they have looked less than dominant against a fairly weak schedule. My darkhorse to win the conference outright is Nebraska as every game remaining looks winnable although history suggest that they will trip up along the way.

Craig on 10/21/2013 @ 1:07pm EDT Said:

If those proposed match ups take place I don’t see the Big Ten winning any of them. The Big Ten certainly doesn’t deserve 2 BCS games that is for sure.

Grant on 10/21/2013 @ 1:51pm EDT Said:

There is no way that would happen. the best chance would be for Nebraska to win out and then win or lose the BT championship game that might have enough to get OSU and Neb in BCS bowls. There is just too many teams ahead of them right now, a lot of the top 10 would have to be beaten by less opponents which I don’t see happening.

Paul Grattarola on 10/21/2013 @ 1:55pm EDT Said:

Not so fast. Buckey will lose once more thus no BCS game. Sparty & Nebby R the ones to get the nod and the matchup in Lincoln will be the game to decide it!

Mary Brennan on 10/21/2013 @ 2:58pm EDT Said:

I think if Nebraska wins out, which I expect they will, they would be more attractive than Wisconsin because they would be a one-loss team, not a two loss team like Wisconsin. There are more than 2 teams in this conference, I sure wish you would remember that.

Stephen Johnson on 10/21/2013 @ 3:53pm EDT Said:

From a persepective that everyone wins who should win does, you are right. But looking at the teams that fell this weekend demonstrates the benefit of college football. Outcomes are not always predictable, that is why you play the game. Much depends on Nebraska’s defense. Is it real or is it Memorex.?

Eric on 10/21/2013 @ 4:57pm EDT Said:

I love all the hate Wisconsin gets, that makes wins even sweeter. And in case Nebraska fans forgot, Wisconsin last year put almost 80 points on your team.

Wm Haney on 10/21/2013 @ 5:49pm EDT Said:

I would soon have Michigan and Ohio State in the BCS. I hope Iowa can get to the Heart Of Dallas Bowl. That would be a nice bowl for them this year and a springboard for next season. That old Cotton Bowl would be pretty full. I like the bowl but the stadium looks so empty in past bowls.

budgerfan on 10/21/2013 @ 8:47pm EDT Said:

Hey Eric, that was last year. What comes around goes around. By the way your Badgers are the darlings of Dienhart’s BTN website. That’s funny, all the hate Wisconsin gets, grow up dude. Your Badgers get nothing but overrated love especially on this site.

George W. Bush on 10/21/2013 @ 11:46pm EDT Said:

That Haney guy who said Michigan is a BCS caliber team is clearly a genius. And I agree with him! Michigan is just playing possum. It’s like that old adage…”Fool me once, shame on…shame on you….you fool me I can’t get fooled again”. Umm…durr Go Blue!

bigtengrad on 10/22/2013 @ 10:51am EDT Said:

Umm, Eric I would have to say I am borderline nauseous from the unwarranted love Wisconsin receives. The B1G is a bad conference this year (again), and they have lost to the two teams with a pulse they have played. If bringing up games from past years is your thing, so be it. Wisconsin lost to Oregon State last year, so Wisconsin fans need to keep that in mind before getting too excited this year. See how stupid that sounds? Anyway, hope the Badgers enjoy being destroyed in whatever bowl against some middle of the pack SEC team.

Firstinline on 10/22/2013 @ 12:49pm EDT Said:

For all of the SEC lovers out there, you are not as good as some think you are. Clemson – very overrated. Georgia- a little respect, but you still should not be losing to un-ranked teams. Missouri now has heart and deserves all the accolades they are getting, fun to watch someone else get a little respect. Now that everyone THINKS that the SEC is the greastest thing since sliced bread, remember the BIG10 used to be at this point until the likes of Mich St, Penn St and Wisconsin started making the BIG10 tougher and each other keeps beating up on one another. Starting to now happen in the SEC. Your days are numbered, just wait until a committee starts doing the grading of teams. The committee is not going to be looking at rankings, they will be looking at how good a team is playing. Not who they have been in the past. Also, the BIG10 never gets to play a bowl game close to home as no one wants to play in the elements. Wisconsin definately deserves a top 15 ranking at this time. Thanks to officiating they are getting no respect.

robinson819 on 10/22/2013 @ 12:56pm EDT Said:

@Craig there is no way we lose to Stanford. I just don’t see it happening.

robinson819 on 10/22/2013 @ 12:56pm EDT Said:

@Craig There is no way OSU loses to Stanford.

Jeremy on 10/22/2013 @ 1:05pm EDT Said:


Nebraska also beat Wisconsin in the regular season. Not htat it is going to matter much seing as how Wisconsin cannot out from behind OSU’s shadow, it takes a sanctioned Buckeye program to get to the CCG last year. Nebraska can at least claim to have beaten OSU lately.

Tom A. on 10/22/2013 @ 1:42pm EDT Said:

On the bright side, this lineup provides great opportunities for signature wins. A second BCS berth brings home a bigger paycheck, too.

On the dark side, it is custom-made for disaster. If perception is anything worth preserving, then the second BCS bid really puts the remaining teams at a disadvantage.

I generously count 4 wins (Ohio St., Michigan St., Iowa and Minnesota), maybe 5 if Indiana plays as well as they did against PSU (ultra-fast tempo on offense plus bringing their defense along for a change).

Wisconsin has very good D, but they aren’t fast enough to keep up with FSU. Michigan and Nebraska are too inconsistent to count on them beating such solid teams. The Northwestern offense apparently can’t function without the fab trio.

Bryan L Hahn on 10/22/2013 @ 1:52pm EDT Said:

Hey and ERIC don’t forget Nebraska beat wisc in the regular season and the only reason they got a second chance was by default.

Christopher on 10/22/2013 @ 2:02pm EDT Said:

Um Paul you do realize that MSU and Nebraska are both in the legends div. and even if TOSU drops a game they will still have to play them in the B1G championship right?

Matt on 10/22/2013 @ 2:17pm EDT Said:

Every year seems like it is supposed to be a ‘springboard’ year for Iowa? Hard to argue that Wisconsin is not the 2nd best team in the Big Ten but unfortunately they are in the same division as OSU so i’d see the loser of OSU vs. Mich/Nebraska game as having a better shot at BCS than Wisconsin even though I still think Wisconsin is better than Mich or Nebraska.

Johnny D on 10/22/2013 @ 3:07pm EDT Said:

1.. Wisconsin gets defaulted to the B1G Championship game AND lost to your beloved Cornhuskers in the regular season, but Nebraska still gave up 80+ points to the third place team. That should have been a slam dunk for the Huskers. But that was LAST YEAR.

2. Too bad UW and Nebraska don’t play this year….love that game. However, if they did play this year – anywhere – I can’t see Nebraska winning that game.

3. Is Wisconsin really a two loss team? No guarantees that field goal that didn’t happen in Tempe goes through, but it would have been nice to have the chance.

Bob Schnell on 10/22/2013 @ 4:19pm EDT Said:

I see all the blowhards at Nebraska have been released from their dementia wards again and are commenting online. How amusing! Here, let me help you dears out with a little factual reality. First, in the last three seasons Wisconsin and Nebraska have met a total of four times. Wisconsin has blown-out Nebraska with large wins three of those four times. The one game Nebraska won was in Lincoln, by a very narrow margin, which they could only do because significant starters on Wisconsin’s offense were injured, plus they needed the help of many questionable calls by the referees. That is the factual and actual recent game history between Wisconsin and Nebraska. In addition, this year, Nebraska has the weakest, most easiest and forgiving schedule of any Big Ten team. They do not have to play Wisconsin, Michigan State or Ohio State during the regular season. Add this to the fact that even the strongest Big Ten teams they have to play on their gimme schedule are all in Lincoln. I personally believe that the Big Ten is starting to have a little buyer’s remorse with allowing Nebraska into their conference and in order to make them look better they came up with the idea of giving them a ‘Bunny Schedule’. So to the Nebraska fans that commented above, I agree with Eric one hundred percent, I love your hate as well! Keep talking big, and take your medicine and have your nurses put you down for your afternoon nap, so you can get rested-up for tonight’s Bingo tournament.

bigtengrad on 10/22/2013 @ 6:04pm EDT Said:

Bob, I’m sure you are going to get a ton of wonderful responses to that bang-up job of a post. Here is “factual reality” for you (that’s probably one of the dumber phrases I’ve seen in a while, but you have probably had your fill of cheese and beer and fat women up there in the state known for those things, so whatever). The schedule is easier because Nebraska played OSU, UM, MSU, UW, PSU, and NW the first two years in conference. This schedule was already created to compete with some other teams (Illinois & Purdue) when they came into the Big Ten a couple years ago. As far as buyer’s remorse, they just “bought” Rutgers & Maryland, so I highly doubt that is “factual reality”. They play MSU on 11/16, “factual reality”. It is true that Wisconsin has had Nebraska’s number since they joined the conference. I’m sure many Nebraska fans will spend this evening devastated by the “factual reality” that Bob Schnell just dropped on them. Great post, though.

Tad on 10/22/2013 @ 7:09pm EDT Said:

Bob Schnell, you lost all credibility when you said, “First, in the last three seasons Wisconsin and Nebraska have met a total of four times.” In the historical words of Mike and Mike in the morning, “Just shut up!”

Allen Wissmann on 10/22/2013 @ 10:11pm EDT Said:

Bob if you are so factual and actual, you need to proof read your post. Hello, Nebraska plays Michigan State, they are in the same division. Hello Nebraska also plays Michigan in Michigan. Talk about a blowhard that doesn’t know the “actual factual” he is trying to sell. Blame the Badgers loss on referees and injuries. I guess Nebraska never had bad calls or injuries in the other games either.

Scott on 10/23/2013 @ 2:10am EDT Said:

I am truly embarrassed to be a Big Ten fan in the company of some of these comments.
Bob Schnell, please note that Nebraska DOES play Michigan State (same division, everybody plays each other, remember M’s N’s and Iowa?), and although Nebraska has an easier schedule this year, they arguably had the toughest conference schedule the past two years–there was no coddling. Note, I am neither a Nebraska fan nor apologist.
To all Wisconsin lovers in general, please realize your 3 consecutive Rose Bowl losses, combined with your non-conference losses, are a big reason why the BigTen’s perception has been deteriorating, not to mention your inability to retain a coaching staff.
And Nebraska fans, there is nothing you can say that can mitigate the utter embarrassment you received at the hands of Wisconsin last year, so don’t even try.
Christopher, I’m pretty sure the “Buckey” Paul was referring to was Bucky Badger. Hopefully that will help you understand his post in the proper context.
Firstinline, please note that Clemson is not an SEC team.
Mary Brennan, if Nebraska wins out, they would be conference champs and get the automatic BCS bid. Duh.

If Ohio State wins the conference championship, mathematically all other conference teams must have at least 2 losses. In that case, assuming Wisconsin wins out, a 10-2 Wisconsin team is almost guaranteed to have a higher BCS rank than the loser of the conference championship game, and they would very likely get an at-large BCS bowl invitation, as large B1G schools are financially more attractive to a bowl than pretty much any other non-Big Ten school. If Wisconsin stumbles, Michigan or Nebraska might still have a chance at a BCS at-large bid, even if they don’t go to the conference championship. There are numerous scenarios, and a whole lot depends on who wins what in November, and also how good they look while winning or losing. Say Michigan State wins the Legends by beating Mich and Nebraska, but Michigan beats tOSU in “the game”, and tOSU beats MSU in the championship. A 10-2 Michigan might still back into a BCS bid, just like they did two years ago. If Ohio State loses the conference championship game, they would still be very likely to get an at-large BCS bid at 12-1, especially considering their humongous fan base. I do not see a Legends division team getting an at-large BCS bid if they are the loser of the Conference Championship Game, but even that is not an impossibility.

The fact remains that because B1G teams travel so well, put butts in the seats, eyeballs in front of the tube, and cash in the pockets of the bowl executives, our teams will always be over-seeded, playing against teams that are probably a little better, and therefore we will always be likely to lose slightly more bowl games than we win.

Bryan L Hahn on 10/23/2013 @ 2:45am EDT Said:

Yeah bob real funny, still didn’t mean squat. I know you guys in wisc want to be a player. I am sure you have great pride in your team. Cool, I hate ship jumpers, bandwagon movers. Keep plugging for them badgers. Someday you can have some cool trophies and maybe some history. You have had a lil run lately and be proud of that! The Nebraska faithful will always be one of the MORE STORIED teams. Look up most wins in the last 50 years. See who pops up. I know its hard when you are tunnel visioned to your lil team. Mebbe not looking at just the BIG. Hell that Corky looking ex coach of yours knew there where better jobs out there and he took one. He is doing really well! Little frog , big pond, meh. I like that you mentioned the last 3 years WHOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA DOGGGGy what a run! Keep plugging a way lil wannabe!

Craig Brewer on 10/23/2013 @ 3:35am EDT Said:

First off, B1G is not down this year…. half of our conference has 2 or less losses, 9 teams have 3 or less and we only have 2 teams with losing records. We also have the best win percentage of any of the BCS conferences. Let’s just put that puppy to bed now.
Secondly, Oregon will have two losses at the end of the regular season and OSU will be in the title game (probably vs FSU). Yes, that means Bama will lose one…

Craig Brewer on 10/23/2013 @ 4:20am EDT Said:

Expect an hour glass look in B1G records with 1 unbeaten, three 2 loss teams, two 7-5 teams and two 6-6 teams. Northwestern, Purdue and obviously PSU won’t be bowling and the game between Ill and IU will determine which of them stays home and which goes on. Nebraska will make the Rose due to the rule of which team went most recently. Wisconsin will be in the Cap1 and MSU in the Outback. The rest are sketchy because the B1G won’t be able to honor two tie-ins due to the title game and PSU sanctions. The LCP Bowl will probably be filled due to the B1G/MAC relationship and it’s proximity. Picking opponents would be tough because of the up and down sec and the wide open B12 but I’m betting on a Nebraska/Stanford Rose Bowl.

Thomas on 10/23/2013 @ 10:24pm EDT Said:

every year since Nebraska came into the BigTen all we hear is Nebraska this, Nebraska that. When has Nebraska done anything in the BigTen except trip over there own feet in the Big Games. Talk about 2 loss teams, well it may have been nice to try and kick the last second field goal to win down in Arizona but we will never get that one back. Speaking of getting one back, why does everyone worry about Nebraska qb T. Martinez? What has he ever done against a quality opponent at some place other than at home against an inferior opponent? Answer NOTHING EXCEPT THROWINGMANY INTERCEPTIONS AT THE WORST POSSIBLE TIME, THENGETTING HIMSELF HURT… While we are taking about it why is Bo Pelini still coaching at Neb? Can’t see the value of his BLACKSHIRT DEFENSE at all. Nebraska is a proud program that deserves better. Don’t worry Nebraska fans it;s coming. Soon T. Martinez will be gone and Pelini might justjoin him …

Bryan L Hahn on 10/24/2013 @ 1:19pm EDT Said:

Not watched much Nebraska ball have you Thomass?

Is Wisc “quality” enough?

Was a thing of beauty. Yeah they lost the game to a team they beat earlier in the season, who got let in by default. T Magic is awesome. Look at his stats he holds how many records at Nebraska? That is no easy feat.

Oh and Pelini isn’t going anywhere soon, people seem to forget how Tom Osbourne struggled for the big win, look how he turned out. 5 season record of 60-3 … pretty nice. Nebraska learned its lesson from Frank Solich about firing too soon Id think.

I think its funny to hear a Big member scream about hearing too much about Nebraska. Funny all I hear about is the blessed Ohio State, and well wisc. I think more its everytime you hear Nebraskas name you cringe cuz well your a hater and don’t like the new kid, regardless that its the winningest football team in the last 50 years.

No they have not won the big game in all their years in the BIG lol but they did get to the dance!

Scott Rollyson on 10/24/2013 @ 9:33pm EDT Said:

lol…… ur all funny… we have entered an era that ANY team can beat ANY team I am A BUCKEY FAN thru and thru… but the plain simple truth is that, all the teams have gotten enormous improvements over the last decade, and very very soon, aside from extreme depth, the field will be painfully level….. yes the SEC is on a downslide… and yes, the B1G is MUCH better than the population will accept at this time… but if we want that to change, it has to start with wins… they don’t have to be pretty, but they need to happen consistently over the next 3-4 yrs for us to regain respect…. and to all other Mark Maize haters….. (THINMBS UP!!!).. NOW THAT GUIY IS A REAL @%$#^&*…. that is all…

Scott Rollyson on 10/24/2013 @ 9:42pm EDT Said:

on a side note, i root for EVERY TEAM playing out of conference!!! believe it or not folks… seems to me that ALL other conferences fully support ANY team playing on the outside….. UNITED WE STAND!…

Matt J on 10/25/2013 @ 5:31pm EDT Said:

I disagree Scott. I want the other teams in my division to be bad, making the road to a CCG easier. I understand people wanting the BigTen to be perceived as top-tier, but I want the other teams in my division to lose every game possible.

Nicole on 12/8/2013 @ 9:18pm EDT Said: