Bowl Projections: Badgers back in BCS this week

Sitting at No. 15 in the BCS standings, Wisconsin’s hopes for an at-large BCS bowl bid are looking better and better. The Badgers need to finish No. 14 or higher to be eligible for selection. Gotta think that’s gonna happen over the next few weeks. First, Wisconsin needs to beat visiting Penn State in the finale. Then, sit back, watch and wait.

Ohio State remains on the outside of the BCS title game, needing a loss by Alabama or Florida State to ascend from its No. 3 spot in the BCS standings. Better hope for an Auburn win over Alabama this Saturday.

Michigan State is No. 11 in the BCS. But if it loses in the Big Ten title game, it figures to tumble from the top 14 of the BCS standings. Hello, Capital One Bowl!

Nebraska is set for the Outback Bowl–with no real chance for a better spot. But, if it loses the finale to Iowa, the Hawkeyes could land in Tampa, pushing the Cornhuskers to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

See my latest projections below.

[ MORE: Power Rankings | Week 13 picks revisited | Week 13 grades & stocks | BCS Standings ]

Rose Bowl, Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. BCS/Pac-12): Ohio State vs. Stanford
Orange Bowl, Jan. 3 (BCS at-large vs. ACC): Wisconsin vs. Clemson
Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. SEC): Michigan State vs. Texas A&M
Outback Bowl, Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. SEC): Nebraska vs. South Carolina
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 28 (Big Ten vs. Big 12): Iowa vs. Texas
Gator Bowl, Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. SEC): Michigan vs. Ole Miss
Texas Bowl, Dec. 27 (Big Ten vs. Big 12): Minnesota vs. Kansas 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)
muscleman on 11/25/2013 @ 10:21am EDT Said:

Right on, Tom! Wisconsin is most deserving of an at-large BCS bid.

Jason on 11/25/2013 @ 10:55am EDT Said:

There is no way Wisconsin goes to a better Bowl than MSU regardless of whether OSU or MSU wins the Big 10 Championship.

Rodney on 11/25/2013 @ 11:42am EDT Said:

Good picks, although I see Nebraska being upset this Friday. Would that be an upset? Anyways, I think Iowa will squeak out a win on the road against a Nebraska team that has had a lot of things go their way so far this year.

Grant on 11/25/2013 @ 1:21pm EDT Said:

Sorry Jason, but as it always happens in the past, the loser of a conference championship gets screwed by bowls always. Look at Georgia last year in the SEC, no BCS bowl. if we were in the SEC a loss for MSU against OSU might drop them 1 place, but since its the BIG probably will drop them about 7 spots or so, no matter how they lose. I still think Wisconsin is the second best team anyway, its a joke they are 15 in the polls.

Heather Lee on 11/25/2013 @ 1:27pm EDT Said:

The ONLY reason MSU is not undefeated like ohio state at this point is due to corruption in the officiating staff at the notre lame game. That said, why is it presumed that MSU will lose the B1G Championship game!? We have the best defense & our offense has made amazing strides over the past several games. For once, can the Spartans get some well-deserved love & respect?! GO GREEN!

Big E on 11/25/2013 @ 1:44pm EDT Said:

Everyone seems to refuse to give Missouri the respect they deserve. Even my 11-0 NIU could beat some of those picks!

Matt on 11/25/2013 @ 1:56pm EDT Said:

Jason, Wisconsin travels well while MSU doesn’t.

Andy on 11/25/2013 @ 3:05pm EDT Said:

First, in full disclosure I am a Wisconsin fan. Second, to all those who think MSU would get a better bowl game than Wisconsin have to look at the facts. I think MSU is a great and underrated team. But the reality is they likely will drop out of the top 14 with a loss to OSU in the B1G Championship game and would be ineligible for a BCS at large. Happens all the time in college football. That’s why Wisconsin is really the only team outside of Ohio State (if they lose to MSU) to get an at-large bowl.

BC on 11/25/2013 @ 3:24pm EDT Said:

Are you at the right website Big E? Who disrespected Missouri? They can have one of the SEC’s 2 BCS spots if they win the SEC championship. Good luck.

bobespirit2112 on 11/25/2013 @ 4:27pm EDT Said:

So if MSU beats OSU, do you see OSU staying in the BCS (Orange) and WISC to the Cap One? I don’t really like any of these match-ups regardless of who’s where. Which ones do you think favor the BIG10?

douglas on 11/25/2013 @ 4:30pm EDT Said:

@ Matt – Bull crap. MSU has always travelled well.

Unbiasedtruth on 11/25/2013 @ 5:37pm EDT Said:

Badgers have lost to highly ranked ASU on the road on a technicality and highly ranked OSU on the road by one score. They have utterly destroyed everyone else including holding TWO ranked opponents without an offensive TD. MSU (assuming they lose to OSU) will have lost to them and low ranked Notre Dame. MSU is a good team, but they have not dominated opponents like Wisconsin has…..unless they beat OSU they have no argument that Wisconsin is better.

Unbiasedtruth on 11/25/2013 @ 5:42pm EDT Said:

And Wisconsin does travel MUCH better than MSU…The only reason their attendance was down last year for the Rose Bowl is it was their THIRD year in a row to be there! Bucky fans will invade South Florida by the tens of thousands if they play in the Orange Bowl.

Dave Dorn on 11/25/2013 @ 5:52pm EDT Said:

Jason, if MSU beats OSU they automatically go BCS, if they lose by 4 or more no way they deserve to be ahead of WIs, who lost at OSU by 7 and 2????? at ASU. You are on a neutral field so it is all in MSU’s control, but Wis. is still probably the 2nd best team in B1G, unless you can win or lose by less than 4, jmo

Hawkeye4Life on 11/25/2013 @ 7:23pm EDT Said:

Iowa at BW3 and MI at Gator?? Iowa beat MI, Iowa travels well and we are ready for a bowl since we didn’t get one last year. We can beat NE! I say Iowa Gator or Outback over MI or NE if we win.

budgerfan on 11/25/2013 @ 9:31pm EDT Said:

Rodney, please explain how Nebraska has had a lot of things go their way this year. This should be good since you will have to make some stuff up.

John on 11/25/2013 @ 9:52pm EDT Said:

Hawkeye4Life. FIrst of all, sorry to hear that you are. Second, the BW3 is a better bowl than the Gator so your being placed ahead of Michigan. Minnesota will end up in Gator Bowl and Michigan in the Texas Bowl. Dienhart. Your still an idiot!

JDee Brooks on 11/25/2013 @ 10:07pm EDT Said:

Well understand this – if MSU happens to lose the BIG title game and Wisconsin gets a BCS game over them (again), there will be an epic boycott of all things BCS forever!

Kyle on 11/25/2013 @ 10:54pm EDT Said:

@Rodney, Nebraska has had a lot go their way this year? How do you figure, one hail mary? Half of their starters are injured and they completely fumbled away the game to MSU. How have a lot of things gone their way?

4funinthesunaz on 11/25/2013 @ 11:24pm EDT Said:

I think Nebraska will pretty easily dispose of Iowa. They always fold up against Nebraska. Hawkeye fans always love to overestimate their importance. Husker fans travel unlike most any other team and will bring a lot to the table with any bowl.

Mark Griffin on 11/26/2013 @ 12:11am EDT Said:

So by virtue of having the honor (and the record) to play in the B1G Championship game — if MSU loses to OSU — MSU gets screwed and Wisconsin, who did NOT make it the Championship, and would have also lost to OSU – – somehow now gets a better bowl game?? This system is screwed up. However, MSU has the advantage — go win the dang game over OSU and put all this talk to rest! I’m a Sparty, and that is the only chance for our BCS bowl game – – as ridiculous as that is….

Jeff Young on 11/26/2013 @ 5:43am EDT Said:

Let’s just play the games and see what happens!

Barb on 11/26/2013 @ 10:35am EDT Said:

Lest we forget – Wisconsin has gone to the Rose Bowl the past three years AND THEY LOST ALL THREE! That’s more likely the reason they didn’t travel well at the last Rose Bowl!! Secondly, why would anyone assume that Michigan State will drop 4 possible 5 spots for a loss to a highly ranked Ohio State? Good chance MSU will be in the top 10 with a good win over Minnesota! No other top ten team dropped 5 places for a loss against a highly ranked team! The Legends division has all except 1 team bowl eligible while Leaders has 3 not eligible! (Penn State not included since they would be eligible by wins!). Wisconsin seems to do fine over non-ranked teams, but they have lost every game against ranked teams! There’s also some concern over MSU’S ONLY loss to Notre Dame- even the announcers agreed the officials were over the top on the pass interference calls! Hopefully the Spartans will give OSU a super fight, and drop only a place or two IF they lose! Don’t forget, Wisconsin lost to OSU! MSU has never run up the score against lower teams (unlike Wisconsin and OSU) as was just witnessed in the Northwestern game when we took a knee 4 downs rather than score a fairly easy touchdown. GO GREEN!

Rodney on 11/26/2013 @ 11:56am EDT Said:

@Budgerfan and @Kyle

Lets see a last second hail Mary to beat NW, Penn State field goal kicker missed a PAT, if not for the missed PAT the game would had never been in OT. Then in OT their kicker missed a FG which set up Nebraska for the winning FG. Was that all made up Budgerfan?

budgerfan on 11/26/2013 @ 2:53pm EDT Said:

Hey Rodney, if ifs and buts we’re candy and nuts, well you know. You must be an Iowa fan. Iowa fan always plays the if and but and shoulda, coulda, woulda thing. Nebraska has been doing what they have been doing without Martinez, a bunch of O-line starters out, and an extremely young defense. As usual it’s Thanksgiving and Hogeye fan is talking smack. Funny how it all ends the day after Thanksgiving, now that’s tradition.

Anthony G. Brown on 11/26/2013 @ 3:04pm EDT Said:

You just gave Sparty a lot of extra incentive

Craig on 11/26/2013 @ 3:54pm EDT Said:

Barb said: “Wisconsin seems to do fine over non-ranked teams, but they have lost every game against ranked teams!” Barb is wrong. UW has beaten 3 ranked teams this season.

budgerfan on 11/26/2013 @ 6:23pm EDT Said:

Hey Hogeyes what’s it going to be this year after your teams loses? My favorite is the toothbrush joke or some kind of geographic joke about Nebraska. I know you Idiots Out Wandering Around have em ready. You just know it’s your place.

Rodney on 11/26/2013 @ 9:22pm EDT Said:


I am not sure what I said to make you talk bad about me, or Iowa, or the whole Iowa fan base, but I can assure you that all I gave was my opinion. I said that I thought Nebraska has had a few things go their way in some tight games. Which they have, I also said that I thought Iowa would win a close game on Friday against Nebraska. Was I being rude or disrespectful by any of that? If so I want to take this opportunity to apologize for whatever it is I did. I am a fan of college football, especially BIG 10 football. I will not come to your level to talk smack about a football game that you or I have no control over, I was simply just stating an opinion that you can agree or not agree with. In the future I would hope that you choose to not agree with myself or anyone for that matter in a more grown up fashion. Good luck to your Cornhuskers on Friday.

Captain Hindsight on 11/26/2013 @ 10:13pm EDT Said:

Painfully accurate article Tom. Can you or anyone explain one of two things: 1) Why the BCS continues ranking teams after regular season play. Or 2) Why the losing conference championship team is not considered 2nd in the B10.

As is, neither OSU nor MSU has anything to gain by playing, with OSU putting their Rose Bowl spot in jeopardy, and MSU likely forfeiting their Orange Bowl spot to Bucky Badger.

BadgerzRock on 11/26/2013 @ 11:17pm EDT Said:

Craig…who is the 3rd ranked team? Northwestern…Minnesota…struggling to find the third. ASU could have been a win if the refs had not botched things up. BYU? Not ranked that I’m aware of. Iowa, Ill., Purdue, Indiana, and some no-namers in non-conference? Maybe I’m missing someone.

Tim on 11/27/2013 @ 10:57am EDT Said:

hey 4funinthesunaz – Iowa folds up-get real (Kirk Ferentz is the best developer of talent in the NCAA-we do it with no high profile recruits and still compete week in and week out-NEB gets the high profile and is still and will always live in the shadow of the likes of programs like OSU- Nebraska is almost as bad ad ND-they always feel entitled to something) that is why our 4-8 team almost won last year-how embarrassing would that have been!!!! Also, Iowa travels better than most-2003 orange bowl-Stadium hold 80K and Iowa takes 68K of the stadium-they didn’t call Miami Iowa City south for no reason~!! GO HAWKS!

Jim O on 11/28/2013 @ 2:45pm EDT Said:

Tim, I’ll second that! Smart money won’t count Iowa out of the Outback. If it’s a close call, the bowl that gets to pick, will pick the team that will bring the fans. Nebraska is a great football school but Iowa fans show up no matter what. Iowa is ready to put two great halves of football together on the same day (which they haven’t done since Minnesota). That’s what it will take and if it happens, Hawk fans need to be thinking Florida Beaches and not Arizona desert.

CDS4IA on 11/29/2013 @ 6:11pm EDT Said:

So all those comments about how Nebraska was going to dispose of Iowa today…? Well, this is awkward. GO HAWKS!

DL00025 on 12/2/2013 @ 10:48am EDT Said:

Did Wisconsin really lost to Penn State at home? LOL
Is Penn State good or something? They must be in order to beat a BSC bound bowl team! HAHAHAHAH