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-by T.J. Inman, Contributing Writer; Image: Penn State wide receiver KJ Hamler catches touchdown. (Image Source: Gregory Fisher/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 – Penn State vs. Oregon
Last Week – Penn State 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. Wisconsin’s shocking loss to Illinois has a large ripple effect throughout these bowl projections. I am now projecting the highest ranked non-playoff Big Ten team as Penn State (who I think will be 11-1).
Citrus Bowl – Wisconsin 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. Wisconsin’s loss has a huge impact on Iowa (see below). The Badgers could still go 10-3. Florida’s loss to Georgia likely eliminates them from any better position than this.
Outback Bowl – Minnesota vs. Auburn
Last Week – Minnesota vs. Auburn/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 of Minnesota and perhaps Indiana. Give me the Gophers and the Auburn Tigers (who I am projecting at 9-3). The Gophers would be thrilled with this outcome but there is definitely the chance for more if they can reach the Big Ten title game unscathed.
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 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. They’ll need to beat Ohio State to do much better than this.
Gator Bowl – Indiana vs. Kentucky
Last Week – Indiana vs. Kentucky/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 (the drop for the Hawkeyes continues) and Penn State cannot go. The Kentucky Wildcats are now my pick for this one. Quarterback injuries have moved wide receiver Lynn Bowden to the trigger man in a “wildcat”, run-heavy attack and it has kind of worked. They throttled Missouri and are now 4-4 with four winnable games coming up. A 7-5 season is very possible. Indiana took care of Northwestern handily and are now 7-2 entering their second bye week. The Hoosiers are definitely going bowling and the Quick Lane Bowl, Redbox Bowl and Gator Bowl seem like realistic possibilities. The Holiday Bowl and Outback Bowl remain as outside shots, for now. I’m all aboard the hype train and if IU gets to 8-4, this is feasible. Wouldn’t an IU-UK clash in Florida be a blast?
New Era Pinstripe Bowl – Michigan State vs. Virginia Tech
Last Week – MSU vs. Florida State/Original Prediction – Minnesota vs. North Carolina State
IU, Iowa, Northwestern, Penn State and Wisconsin are out for this slot, if possible. There are not many spots for Michigan State to go so I drop them in here. The Spartans still have games remaining against Rutgers, Maryland, Michigan and an interesting clash with Illinois so six wins still seems likely. I don’t know what to do with the ACC and their poo-poo platter of 4-4 squads.
Redbox Bowl – Iowa vs. Arizona State
Last Week – Iowa vs. Arizona State/Original Prediction – Iowa vs. Arizona State
Like I said, this is a precipitous drop for Iowa and I hate putting them here but what are the options? They cannot go to the Outback, Gator or Pinstripe and they lost to Michigan so it seems likely they would fall behind the Wolverines for the Holiday Bowl selection. Hence, the Redbox Bowl is the choice. Their matchup against Wisconsin looms large for both squads.
Quick Lane Bowl – Illinois vs. Boston College
Last Week – Nebraska vs. Miami/Original Prediction – Wisconsin vs. Boston College
Nebraska lost at Purdue and I am no longer expecting them to make a bowl game. Six to seven wins is on the table for the Fighting Illini so they slide up to Detroit. Boston College is now 5-4 and they get Florida State and their interim coach in Chestnut Hill this weekend.
To read more from Sammy Jacobs and his staff at HoosierHuddle.com, click here.
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