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-by TJ Inman, Contributing Writer; Image: Wisconsin Badgers running back Jonathan Taylor. (Image Source: Douglas DeFelice/USA Today)
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. We are an IU-centric site so I am only listing games that involved Big Ten squads. With no further delay, here are my current 2019 bowl projections:
Peach Bowl – CFP Semifinal – Ohio State vs. Clemson
After watching the Buckeyes up close and personal, I see no reason to keep thinking they are going to lose a game. I am now projecting Ohio State to go 13-0. If they do that, they will be in the College Football Playoff. The two CFP semis are the Peach Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl and I’ve slotted the Buckeyes at #3, taking on the Clemson Tigers.
Rose Bowl – Wisconsin vs. Utah
Last Week and Original Pick – Ohio State vs. Utah
After moving Ohio State up, the Rose Bowl slot is left vacant. It now goes to the next highest ranked team in the Big Ten. I have not been blown away by anyone else in the East. That leaves me selecting my West champion, the Wisconsin Badgers. I think they will be 11-2 with a pair of losses to Ohio State. There’s no shame in that and they could be ranked right around 11th or 12th if that ends up being the case. Utah is my pick for the PAC-12 champion and they’ve done nothing to change my mind.
Citrus Bowl – Iowa vs. Florida
Last Week – Wisconsin 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. This works out nicely as I was not thrilled with having to drop Iowa all the way to the Redbox Bowl. If Ohio State is in the playoff, it bumps everyone up a slot. Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl means the Citrus Bowl is open and Iowa fills the spot with a record I am projecting at 10-2. Florida is still unbeaten but they don’t appear to be a realistic threat to Georgia in the SEC East.
Outback Bowl – Penn State vs. Auburn
Last Week 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). Michigan State was terrible on offense against Arizona State (again) and Penn State held on against Pittsburgh to move to 3-0.
Holiday Bowl – Michigan vs. Oregon
Last Week 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 – Nebraska vs. Kentucky
Last Week 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. Nebraska thumped Northern Illinois while Michigan State was dreadful on offense at home in a loss. The Spartans look like they have another three or four losses in them.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl – Michigan State vs. North Carolina State
Last Week – Nebraska vs. NC State/Original Prediction – Minnesota vs. North Carolina State
IU, Iowa, Northwestern, Penn State and Wisconsin are out for this slot, if possible. Minnesota could definitely be an option here but see below for their improved spot.
Redbox Bowl – Minnesota vs. Arizona State
Last Week and Original Prediction – Iowa vs. Arizona State
Minnesota is 3-0 with three very close victories. Are you impressed with their ability to win close games or concerned that the close victories will turn to losses when the competition increases? We’ll find out on September 28 when they start conference play.
Quick Lane Bowl – Maryland vs. Miami
Last Week – Maryland vs. BC/Original Prediction – Wisconsin vs. Boston College
The Terrapins came back to Earth with a very tough loss to Temple. I’m not writing them off but the schedule is difficult and it will be interesting to see where they go from here. Boston College lost to Kansas and they are automatically booted from my projections.
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.
To read more from Sammy Jacobs and his staff at HoosierHuddle.com, click here.
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