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College Football: Big Ten Bowl Projections Midway Through the Season

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College Football: Big Ten Bowl Projections Midway Through the Season

2019-10-16 17:14:29

-by TJ Inman, Contributing Writer; Image: Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. (Image Source: Adam Lacy/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. 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

Prediction Since Week Three – 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. Oregon

Last Week - Wisconsin vs. Oregon/Original – 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.

Citrus Bowl –  Iowa vs. Florida

Last Week – Iowa 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 handled Auburn in The Swamp and now they get to travel to Death Valley for a clash with another CFP hopeful: LSU.

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 9-3). If these teams end up here, both would be quite disappointed because there is potential for quite a bit for more for them. Penn State seems very likely to be 11-1 or 10-2 but where exactly could they go? If they beat Ohio State, the Rose Bowl would seem like the floor. A loss to the Buckeyes would take the CFP off the table and it would probably take a conference title out of the equation as well. From there, they probably don’t go to the Rose Bowl unless Wisconsin drops a game to someone outside of OSU. They can’t go to the Citrus Bowl. The Orange Bowl will choose the remaining top-ranked SEC/Big Ten (or Notre Dame) and the SEC has a whole bunch of candidates. The Cotton Bowl might be an option as an opponent for the top Group of Five school. Bottom line, it looks very likely one of the top ten Big Ten teams is destined for the Outback.

Holiday Bowl – Michigan vs. Utah

Last Week – Michigan vs. Utah/Original Prediction – 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 8-4 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.  

Gator Bowl – Minnesota vs. South Carolina

Last Week – Minnesota vs. Mississippi State/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. I cannot ignore the Gophers any longer, they are unbeaten and are favored to go 8-0.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl – Michigan State vs. North Carolina State

Last Week – MSU vs. NC State/Original Prediction – Minnesota vs. North Carolina State

IU, Iowa, Northwestern, Penn State and Wisconsin are out for this slot, if possible.

Redbox Bowl – Nebraska vs. Arizona State

Last Week – Minnesota vs. Arizona State/Original Prediction – Iowa vs. Arizona State

The Huskers have played one good game so far this season. South Alabama was a sloppy victory, they blew it against Colorado, barely squeaked by Illinois and were obliterated by Ohio State. Last week, they survived Northwestern. Their game against Minnesota this Saturday is a big one.

Quick Lane Bowl – Indiana vs. Miami

Last Week – Maryland vs. Miami/Original Prediction – Wisconsin vs. Boston College

I have to drop Maryland from bowl projections after their dreadful performance at Purdue. They have to beat IU on Saturday to have a chance and I am not projecting that to occur. The Hoosiers move up as six or seven wins looks like a very realistic possibility.

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl – No Big Ten team

Last Week and Original Prediction – Indiana vs. Fresno State

IU moves up and no one will have six wins to fill this spot.

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