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College Football: Big Ten Bowl Projections Following Week 2

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College Football: Big Ten Bowl Projections Following Week 2

2019-09-10 17:33:181 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST

-by TJ Inman, Contributing Writer; Image: Wisconsin Badgers celebrate toughdown. (Image Source: Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Bloomington, IN—Keep in mind, there are contracts with these bowl games and just because a team finishes third in a conference does not mean they automatically get the conference’s third bowl slot. I will update these projections each week as game results impact things.

Rose Bowl – Ohio State vs. Utah

Last Week and Original Pick – Ohio State vs. Utah

The Buckeyes and the Utes are both 2-0 with a pair of comfortable victories. Ohio State looks great and they could definitely find themselves in the College Football Playoff if they can go 13-0. I still think they lose one somewhere in the very tough Big Ten.

Missing the CFP places the Big Ten champ in the Rose Bowl and it could place a Big Ten team in the Orange Bowl. The highest ranked non-playoff team from the ACC (which will likely not be a great team) gets one spot and the highest ranked at-large team from the Big Ten, SEC or Notre Dame gets the other. Michigan versus Notre Dame could end up being an Orange Bowl decider.

Citrus Bowl –  Wisconsin vs. Florida

Week Two Prediction – Nebraska vs. Florida/Original Prediction – Nebraska vs. Florida

The Big Ten’s next slot is the Citrus Bowl and, if possible, they cannot take Penn State, Michigan or Minnesota. Nebraska was my pick to win the West but their collapse against Colorado combined with the dominance of the Wisconsin Badgers has me changing my mind. Florida is 2-0 and they’ll get tested a bit this week against Kentucky (although the Wildcats are without QB Terry Wilson).

Outback Bowl – Penn State vs. Auburn

Week Two and Original Prediction – Penn State vs. Auburn

The Outback Bowl cannot take (if at all possible) Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan or Northwestern so that leaves us with a choice between Penn State and Michigan State. Give me the Nittany Lions and the Auburn Tigers (who I am projecting at 8-4). Both the Spartans and the Nittany Lions look very good through two games but I have to choose one and one is likely to drop.

Holiday Bowl – Michigan vs. Oregon

Week Two and Original Predictions – Michigan vs. Oregon

Michigan falls to the Holiday Bowl, something that would thrill the bowl committee in San Diego and likely enrage the Maize and Blue fan base. I have them at 9-3 which is not a bad season but it would likely keep them from a New Year’s Six game and the contract obligations keep them from the Citrus or the Outback Bowls. Michigan had a solid but sluggish win over Middle Tennessee and they escaped disaster against Army and Oregon gets the nod as the PAC-12’s number three squad.

Gator Bowl – Michigan State vs. Kentucky

Week Two and Original Prediction – Michigan State vs. Tennessee

The Big Ten goes to either the Gator Bowl or the Music City Bowl, three appearances each in six years. The Big Ten played in the Music City for three straight years so it seems very probable that this slot will be the Gator Bowl. If so, Iowa and Penn State cannot go.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl – Nebraska vs. North Carolina State

Week Two and Original Prediction – Minnesota vs. North Carolina State

Wisconsin’s rise and Nebraska’s collapse at Colorado have me slotting the Huskers into the Pinstripe Bowl. was unconvincing but they survived against South Dakota State. IU, Iowa, Northwestern, Penn State and Wisconsin are out for this slot, if possible.

Redbox Bowl – Iowa vs. Arizona State

Week Two and Original Prediction – Iowa vs. Arizona State

I think Iowa is going to be pretty good but a slide down the pecking order is going to happen to some teams this season. 2019 is the sixth year of the current bowl contracts and the Hawkeyes are going to be kept out of a few of the higher tier bowls. A win over Iowa State this Saturday could improve the Hawkeyes slot. The same could be said for Arizona State as they travel to East Lansing.

Quick Lane Bowl – Maryland vs. Boston College

Week Two and Original Prediction – Wisconsin vs. Boston College

The Maryland Terrapins are now in the bowl projections. They hammered Syracuse last week and are now ranked. This gives the Big Ten East five ranked teams. Still, the schedule is very tough and it will be tough for the Terrapins to climb over the “Big Four” plus a couple of squads from the West.

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl – Indiana vs. Fresno State

Week Two and Original Prediction – Indiana vs. Fresno State

New IU offensive coordinator meets up with his former squad as IU travels to Fort Worth to play the Fresno State Bulldogs. I won’t be picky about any bowl destination for the Hoosiers. As long as IU is playing in a bowl game, I’ll be thrilled. A path to six wins would include a victory over either Northwestern or Purdue, two teams that could also be battling for this spot.

Birmingham Bowl – Minnesota vs. Houston

Week Two Prediction – No Big Ten team/Original Prediction – Purdue vs. Houston

Putting Minnesota here will feel disrespectful to the Gophers but the Big Ten has a whole lot of teams that will be disappointed to go even 7-5. It is going to be a real dogfight for bowl spots. There is exactly one team in the conference that I very confident will not be going to a bowl. Northwestern and Purdue aren’t on this projections list but it would hardly be a surprise if they found a way to get to six or seven victories.

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