Bowl Projections: OSU to title game, MSU Rose Bowl

Crazy. That’s all I’m gonna say about that Alabama-Auburn game. The fallout of that zaniness scrambled the Big Ten Bowl Projections, which is why I do this in pencil—or at least on my nifty HP EliteBook 844Op.

Alabama’s loss to Auburn puts Ohio State in position to play in the BCS title game. Michigan State also looks primed to make its first trip to the Rose Bowl in 26 years.

[ MORE: BCS Standings | Power Rankings | Week 14 picks revisited | Week 14 grades & stocks ]

The big loser last Saturday? Wisconsin. The Badgers’ stunning loss at home to Penn State killed its BCS at-large bowl hopes. Now, Wisconsin looks headed to the Capital One Bowl.

A hot Iowa team that travels well should get tabbed for the Outback. But, Nebraska and its massive fan base could get the call to Tampa. Bottom line: Iowa and Nebraska look destined for either the Outback or Buffalo Wild Wings Bowls.

That leaves Minnesota and Michigan for the Gator and Texas Bowls. The Golden Gophers have eight wins and are one of the best stories in the nation. The Wolverines crawled across the finish line with seven wins in a disappointing season. Will the Gator take the warm-and-fuzzy Gophers? Or will it opt for the power of the Michigan brand? Hmmmm. Remember: Bowls are in business to sell tickets and make money. That’s it.

The Heart of Dallas and Little Caesars Bowls will go unfilled by Big Ten teams.

[ MORE: See who made’s All-Big Ten Football Teams ]

BCS title game, Jan. 6 (BCS No. 1 vs. BCS No. 2): Florida State vs. Ohio State
Rose Bowl, Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. BCS/Pac-12): Michigan State vs. Stanford
Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. SEC): Wisconsin vs. Missouri
Outback Bowl, Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. SEC): Iowa vs. South Carolina
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 28 (Big Ten vs. Big 12): Nebraska vs. Texas
Gator Bowl, Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. SEC): Minnesota vs. Vanderbilt
Texas Bowl, Dec. 27 (Big Ten vs. Big 12): Michigan vs. Texas Tech

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)
Todd on 12/2/2013 @ 9:34am EDT Said:

Its sad to say..but I can’t see any circumstance where the Gator Bowl takes Minnesota over Michigan. The Michigan “brand” is nationally recognized, easily marketable for a bowl game.

Let’s also not forget that Minnesota turned in two stinkers of games against Wisconsin and MSU to finish the season. While Michigan stunk it up against Iowa–they were one 2 pt. conversion from destroying Ohio State’s national title hopes.

Gator takes Michigan, leaving Minnesota to the Texas Bowl.

Mary McKee on 12/2/2013 @ 9:49am EDT Said:

When checking the projections last week Michigan was in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Now they are projected to be in the Texas Bowl. I was hoping for Michigan/Georgia in the Gator Bowl.

Jeff on 12/2/2013 @ 10:35am EDT Said:

Michigan may have the “brand” but Minnesota fans will travel in droves to the Gator Bowl. They haven’t played on Jan 1 in my lifetime and i’m 40 yrs old. Here’s hoping they do the right thing and put the Gophers and their better ticket sales into a Jan 1 game.

Doug on 12/2/2013 @ 10:37am EDT Said:

the gator bowl being a Jan 1 bowl is a travesty, no 7-5 team should ever play on new year’s day. michigan destroyed minny so they deserve to go to a better bowl anyways, even if minny has 1 more overall win

bob jones on 12/2/2013 @ 10:51am EDT Said:

Nebraska vs Texas would be verrry interesting.

Matt on 12/2/2013 @ 10:52am EDT Said:

Todd…UMN stinkers last two games? A few breaks and capitalizing on some missed opportunities and the Gophers could have won both those games. In either case those were two of the toughest games for both UW and MSU this year. BTW the Gophers deserve the Gator; but the “what have you done lately” attitude always prevails now days. What is the importance of a full season record? Oh well, l just hope the Big Ten has good showing in bowls games for a change.

Grant on 12/2/2013 @ 11:07am EDT Said:

Is the BWW bowl, really higher in the pecking order even though its not New Years day? Something about playing on New Years days just seems better

Squeek Eron on 12/2/2013 @ 11:08am EDT Said:

If Michigan plays like they did against Ohio State, the B1G will come out of this bowl season smelling like a rose. The only team I see having trouble is Nebraska, but if they can get Taylor back, they might win.

William on 12/2/2013 @ 11:46am EDT Said:

Would love to see a Stanford vs. Michigan State Rose Bowl, old school football in the Grand Daddy! The worst part of bowl season is the selection process, yes Minnesota has had a great season and exceeded expectations, but even on an off year Michigan sells more tickets and travels better than the Gophers, unfortunatly thats what bowls look at. IF these projections hold there would be some great match-ups to watch. Really would like to have a winning record vs. the SEC!

Rick on 12/2/2013 @ 11:48am EDT Said:

Everyone seems to be giving the Big Ten title to OSU. Sparty says differently. Then what does the bowl lineup look like?

Lee Lee on 12/2/2013 @ 12:14pm EDT Said:

What would be the point of having a better record this year if you still go to the same bowl game against the EXACT same team as last year? Why should Minnesota keep improving if everyone is just going to give the lower bowl game anyway because their fans won’t travel. Why would the fans travel if they have the same bowl game? Give the fans a chance to prove that they can travel for a team that continually improves year after year. When was the last time Minnesota was even in a New Years Bowl to prove that they can put the fans in the stands?!?!?! So, why is that being held against the Gophers now? It just isn’t right!

Ken on 12/2/2013 @ 12:34pm EDT Said:

Rick, probably the only change would be OSU to Orange rather than NC. I think MSU has been underrated all season, and will give OSU a real run. Just won, baby! Go Green!

Ken on 12/2/2013 @ 12:35pm EDT Said:

Win, not won…

Kreg Custer on 12/2/2013 @ 1:47pm EDT Said:

If he has OSU playing in the NCG, then that means OSU beats MSU next week. If MSU loses, they will likely fall out of the top 14 and be ineligible for a BCS game. That would drop all teams 1 game and none of these projections are correct. Also, haven’t the executives of the Gator Bowl already said they are drooling at the possibility of a Michigan – Georgia match-up? I would rather see Minnesota go, but there is no way the Gator passes over Michigan in this scenario.

douglas on 12/2/2013 @ 2:35pm EDT Said:

@Kreg – What? You don’t think sportswriters are taking that into account? If they have OSU in the BCS Championship game and MSU in the Rose Bowl, they’re assuming MSU stays in the top 14 after the loss. The last time MSU played in the B1G CCG, they dropped 4 spots after losing to Wisconsin. MSU is ranked 10th, do the math.

Moonunit on 12/2/2013 @ 3:08pm EDT Said:

Assuming that Ohio St. is going to beat MSU is not a wise thing to do at this point.No, I’m not a Sparty, just a lover of college football and am savvy enough to know how many points that Ohio St. has allowed to much lesser opponents than Sparty. MEEEEEEchigan scoring 41….Indiana 35….should I go on. Michigan absolutely reeks this year and took OSU to the limit. As for all you Husker haters out there that are thinking they will lose, Keep 2 things in mind. Time to get everyone healthy, and TEXAS!!!!! The Huskers want a piece of them BAD. As for the Gator Bowl, no question in any ones mind that the Gophers have earned the chance to play in that bowl over a lousy Michigan team.

Mike on 12/2/2013 @ 3:21pm EDT Said:

I agree with Lee Lee, I get tired of hearing how Minnesota fans do not travel well…truth is, they have NEVER been to a New Year’s Day Bowl game in decades. Pretty hard for fans to travel when they have not been playing on January 1. And even if Minnesota continues to improve year after year, what’s the point of mentioning them if you are always going to be selected over a “Better name”…I say give Minnesota and their fans a chance and see what they come up with. Can you really blame the Minnesota fans for not traveling to the Sun Bowl(s), Bowl, Music City Bowl(s), Insight Bowl(s) and Mieneke Car Care Bowl?? The Minnesota fan base is larger than people think and would surprise a lot of people with great representation in Jacksonville. Give Minnesota a chance!! Unfortunately, I think Michigan will prevail in the selection process and Minnesota will be left with another Car Care (now Texas) Bowl in Houston against the same Team…Again, hard for the fans to get excited and travel well when its the same Bowl and same opponent.

Adam on 12/2/2013 @ 4:53pm EDT Said:

Michigan whipped Minnesota. How does Minnesota deserve it more than Michigan?

Jim Buter on 12/2/2013 @ 4:55pm EDT Said:

Having attended all MSU games I can say with a certainty that Minnesota at the end of the year was a much better team than earlier and not having the distractions of their coach’s seizures allowed them to play up to their ability. they gave MSU a much better game than Michigan did. I think if those two schools played again this week Minnesota would win by 10 points. Their record should earn their fans a much better bowl than the Walmart wolverines.

Jeff on 12/2/2013 @ 5:08pm EDT Said:

@Mike in total agreement about the predictive assumption of the Minnesota fan base. It will be really hard for me to justify a $2k trip to -Houston- instead of the first in a lifetime trip to Jacksonville for a Jan 1 bowl game.

Dave Dorn on 12/2/2013 @ 5:08pm EDT Said:

If the gator has the selection of teams I do not believe they would want to opt for either or both of the teams. Yes Minn. had a good year, but are you going to bring 40,000 fans, and I can’t see Vandy coming up with the other 25-30,000 fans either. Mich. fan base could cover it for both teams, and My Badgers, could be in for a very tough test if its Missou, but I think they win the SEC anyhow, so Auburn would be interesting, to solid running teams. JMO

Eric on 12/2/2013 @ 5:35pm EDT Said:

Minnesota fans don’t even travel to their home stadium! They only sell out when Nebraska, Iowa or Wisconsin fans show up. That’s even in their smaller new place. Why would any bowl think they’re going to be deluged by Gopher fans???

Mike Lee on 12/2/2013 @ 6:15pm EDT Said:

Its going to be tough for OSU to be in the National Championship game when they lose to Michigan State. I love how the media continues to overlook the Spartans in this game. Everybody thinks its MSU D vs OSU’s O that is going to decide this game… This game comes down to MSU’s O vs OSU’s D and Special Teams…

Ron on 12/2/2013 @ 6:17pm EDT Said:

I see MSU holding OSU to 17 points and Cook has shown he can put 21-30 on the scoreboard. I believe the Defense minder B1G will show its stuff against a offense oriented south. Remember MSU hasn’t allowed a touchdown in 4 of the last 5 games with some pretty good competition! MSU beat up Michigan 4 of the last 5 years by limiting their quarterback and I believe #40 is looking forward to seeing Braxton try to run down the gut on Sparty.

As for Bowls, It looks like either Way, MSU has 2 ways into the Rose Bowl and as a premier programin the B1G, I look forward to Stanford trying to get past the “no fly zone”! Go Green/Go White! MSU is The University of Michigan!!!

Scott Ludwick on 12/2/2013 @ 6:43pm EDT Said:

Minnesota fans thinking they travel well have never been to a bowl game where fans actually travel well. Absurd.. cant even sell out their own tiny little stadium let alone travel 1500 miles to a game. The difference with Michigan/Iowa/Wisconsin/Nebraska.. they actually have thousands of fans already in these bowl states. According to the New York times. Michigan is the #2 brand overall. Behind Ohio State. Wisconsin coming in at 12, Iowa at 15 and Nebraska at 18.. Minnesota? 28th

If MSU loses to #2 OSU, they will only drop to 11 or 12. Currently ranked 9th. This late in the season, ranks dont drop much for championship games

michael morkert on 12/2/2013 @ 6:49pm EDT Said:

It’s too bad Nebraska had such a lackluster year…They have one of the best fan based teams anywhere but you still have to go with records. Minnesota had a fairytale year and, chances are, they won’t repeat it. So…let them go…I just hope they can do the Big 10 proud.

pat on 12/2/2013 @ 8:28pm EDT Said:

How do Sparty fans feel about the Big 10 Network predicting them to lose the conference championship game?

Moonunit on 12/2/2013 @ 8:45pm EDT Said:

Pat, it’s because since the inception of the BTN, it’s been all about Ohio St., Mich, and Wisconsin……in that order. They only patronize the rest of the teams in the league from time to time.

Kreg Custer on 12/3/2013 @ 2:02am EDT Said:

@Douglas. When was the last time a loser of a conference championship game had 2 losses and made a BCS game? I don’t believe it has ever happened. I would love to see the B1G get 2 BCS games. But unless Michigan State wins, I don’t believe they will remain in the top 14.

Don Bennett on 12/4/2013 @ 3:39pm EDT Said:

Kreg Custer Wake up LSU currently resides at #14 with a 9-3 record. There is no way MSU will fall below a 9-3 record even if they end up 11-2!!!!!!!!!

Lorenzo on 12/4/2013 @ 3:45pm EDT Said:

wow, whats up with all of you hating on Michigan when they should have won but had a horrible/upsetting loss against Ohio State. Michigan played their hardest not to get blown out like any other team that OSU have played. Thats all i see and people are just hating because they dont know how truly a great team that Michigan is….plus all of you hating are showing that you’re bandwaggoning onto better/higher ranked teams that people say about. its going to be Michigan and Texas Tech or Michigan and Georgia. :))

#Michigan #GoBlue #MaizeAndBlue #LetsGo #HatersGunnaHate #WinWinWin

Don Bennett on 12/4/2013 @ 3:45pm EDT Said:

Scott Ludwick How do you think the Big Ten feels about having a stinky skunk Michigan represent them as the Number 2 brand. Actually its kind of funny that you put Michigan and number2 in the same sentence. Won’t be long before Brady Hoak becomes the next scapegoat and will be fired within 2 years.

BethanyandJames Curtis on 12/4/2013 @ 7:52pm EDT Said:

Answer to “Mike’s” Q., Some teams travel very well, no matter where they go, (Well, maybe not Detroit), but Iowa fans, Michigan fans…etc have a history of following their team wherever, especially the Insight Bowl or any warm weather destination. This history will hurt the Gophers, and that is very unfortunate, especially in a year when they have played so well in the BIG. I hope that they get the Gator, and that the Huskers, being so depleted will get the BWW, and that only makes sense to me. You beat the socks of the Huskers, and we should see the Gophers in a New Years Day bowl game! I am a Hawkeye fan by the way, and am hoping for the Outback VS S.C.
Let’s break it down for just the BIG:
BCS Champ Game: FSU VS Ohio State
Rose Bowl: MSU VS ASU (or Stanford)
Capitol One: Wisconsin VS Missouri
Outback: Iowa VS SC
Gator: Minnesota VS Georgia
B3 Bowl: Michigan VS Texas
Texas: Nebraska VS Texas tech
That’s about it. if you break things down, we have some incredible games to watch if this scenario plays out! If you switch the match ups in the B3 and Texas Bowl we have an even better audience! NB VS Texas?? Wow!
Best of luck to all, and as long as OSU takes care of business against MSU we have a nice line up here!🙂

AJ on 12/5/2013 @ 4:26pm EDT Said:

Hate to root for OSU, but it’s better for the Big Ten to have a shot then to watch another SEC team with a loss get it. SEC is a good conference, but if Michigan traveled to Texas to play Bama in Sept, when is the Tide coming to north in Nov to play Michigan ( or any Big Ten Team ) at a neutral site like…..Green Bay??

Spence on 12/5/2013 @ 7:16pm EDT Said:

Not only do we need to be well represented (fans/games-wise) but we in the BIG10, need to win the games, particularly against the sec and of course “our Bowl game … the Rose”.
I’m comfortable w Iowa & Wisc in their matchups, okay w MSU & Neb in theirs, iffy w Mich & Minn and concerned w OSU as FSU looks sick good.