Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, December 5, 2014

An email sent to Big Ten presidents and athletic directors earlier this week indicated that there?s a chance a league team that is bowl eligible could miss out on the postseason. That possibility will hinge on what happens in the Big Ten championship game this Saturday in Indianapolis between Ohio State and Wisconsin.


Here are the likely scenarios:

  • If Wisconsin beats Ohio State, it?s likely that all Big Ten bowl-eligible squads will be in the postseason, as Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin figure to land in New Year's Day slots with the other eligible teams nabbing lower bowl spots.
  • If Ohio State wins, the Big Ten could end up with just one team in the playoff or New Year?s Day Bowl. The schools most likely to be squeezed out in that scenario are Penn State (6-6), Illinois (6-6), Rutgers (7-5), and Maryland (7-5).

Other Big Ten bowl-eligible teams are Nebraska (9-3), Iowa (7-5) and Minnesota (8-4).

The Orange Bowl is key. It will pair an ACC team against the highest-ranked non-champion not in the College Football Playoff from the SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame. That team could be No. 8 Michigan State, which likely could go to the Orange Bowl if Alabama wins the SEC title game vs. Missouri on Saturday. The next highest-rated SEC team behind Alabama is No. 10 Mississippi State.

If a Big Ten team goes to the Orange Bowl, the league won?t have a club in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. If only one other Big Ten team makes the College Football Playoff or another New Year's bowl, the league would have eight eligible teams for seven contracted bowl spots.

The Big Ten has a new selection process for bowls this year that is set up to ensure fresh matchups. The conference has contracts with 12 bowls but it shares spots in the Orange-Citrus, Gator-Music City and Heart of Dallas-Armed Forces bowls.

The bowl announcements will be made on Sunday, after the four teams for the College Football Playoff have been announced.

On Sunday, BTN will have three BTN Football & Beyond shows to preview and discuss each Big Ten bowl matchup. The shows are scheduled for 4 p.m. ET and 6:30 p.m.ET, followed by the Big Ten Bowl Selection Special at 9 p.m. ET. Revsine will host the shows alongside DiNardo, Griffith and Mason, and a number of coaches will be interviewed during the 60-minute Selection Special.


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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