Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, November 5, 2012

No changes at the top of my bowl projections this week with Nebraska and Michigan taking care of business, and Wisconsin and Northwestern being off. But the ?lower-tier? bowls are in flux.

I don?t have Purdue, Iowa or Indiana in my projections, meaning the Big Ten will fill just six of its eight bowl slots. The 3-6 Boilermakers-losers of five in a row–must win out to get bowl eligible, finishing at Iowa, at Illinois, vs. Indiana. Not likely to happen.

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Iowa (4-5) needs two more wins vs. a slate that sees the Hawkeyes play host to Purdue, travel to Michigan and welcome Nebraska. I don?t think the Hawkeyes will make it.

Indiana has become viable as a possible bowl team with two wins in a row, but the 4-5 Hoosiers still need two more victories with games left vs. Wisconsin, and on the road at Penn State and at Purdue. Take down Wisconsin on Saturday, and then we can talk about the Hoosiers.

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However, I think Michigan State (5-5) and Minnesota (5-4) will make it. The Spartans are off this week before finishing vs. Northwestern and at Minnesota. The Golden Gophers may get their sixth win Saturday at Illinois. If not, it will come down to a trip to Nebraska and/or visit from Michigan State. That season-ending Gopher-Spartan game in Minneapolis may end up being a de facto bowl playoff game for each school.

Illinois lost for a sixth time in a row last Saturday, earning a seventh loss in the process which officially eliminates the Fighting Illini from the postseason.

Here is my 11th look at where your school may be bowling over the holidays.

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 TCU vs. Minnesota
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Sat., Dec. 29 @ 10:15 p.m. ET
Big Ten Nos. 4-5 vs. Big 12 Texas Tech vs. Michigan State
Heart of Dallas Bowl
Tue., Jan. 1 @ noon ET
Big Ten No. 7 vs. C-USA Tulsa vs. Non-Big Ten team 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 LSU vs. Wisconsin
Capital One Bowl
Tue., Jan. 1 @ 1 p.m. ET
Big Ten No. 2 vs. SEC Florida vs. Michigan
Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio
Tue., Jan. 1 @ 5 p.m. ET
Big Ten No. 1 vs. Pac-12 Oregon State vs. Nebraska

Here's my list from last week. 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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