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Sports

College Football: Big Ten Bowl Projections with Two Weeks Left in the Season

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College Football: Big Ten Bowl Projections with Two Weeks Left in the Season

2019-11-20 18:36:24

-by TJ Inman, Contributing Writer; Image: Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. (Image Source: Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

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 – Minnesota vs. Oregon

Last Week – Minnesota vs. Oregon/Original – Ohio State vs. Utah

Minnesota lost at Iowa. There is no shame in that but it does make things very dicey in terms of projections. I think they were a shoe-in for this spot if they had swept the regular season and then lost to OSU. Now, they must beat Northwestern and Wisconsin to win the West and earn a game against the Buckeyes. A loss there makes them 11-2 with wins over PSU and Wisconsin. Is that enough to be the highest-ranked non-CFP Big Ten team? I think so.

Orange Bowl – Penn State vs. Virginia Tech

Last week – Penn State vs. Virginia Tech

This is a major shake-up. Penn State losing to Minnesota means they will probably be below two Big Ten teams and miss the playoff and the Rose Bowl. They should not go to the Citrus Bowl because of contract obligations and it’s a perfect slot for Wisconsin. So, do they drop to the Outback Bowl or get snagged by the Orange Bowl or the Cotton Bowl? If they are in the top 16 of the rankings, I think they get picked because of their fan base. The top ACC team outside of Clemson is…Virginia Tech? Virginia? I think that rivalry game at the end of the season will decide who gets the nod here.

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. The Badgers look likely to finish 9-3 unless they can knock off Minnesota.

Outback Bowl – Michigan vs. Auburn

Last Week – Michigan vs. Auburn/Original Prediction – Penn State vs. Auburn

The Outback Bowl cannot take (if at all possible) Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan or Northwestern. However, the Big Ten putting three teams into playoff/New Year’s Six bowls really complicates things. I have had Michigan in the Holiday Bowl for a long time but the Outback Bowl would gladly slot the Wolverines back into Florida.

Holiday Bowl – Iowa vs. Utah

Last Week – Iowa vs. Utah/Original Prediction – Michigan vs. Oregon

Everyone jumps up another slot and that means Iowa goes to a different spot out West: the Holiday Bowl against the second team in the PAC-12: Utah. The Hawkeyes beating Minnesota throws a knot into things but I do think they slot behind Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota (if the Gophers are 11-2).

Gator Bowl – Indiana vs. Tennessee

Last Week – Indiana vs. Tennessee/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. I have read elsewhere that the Music City Bowl would love to have Indiana and that would be perfect for Hoosier fans. If that can be worked out, well, I don’t know what contracts are for in these games! Indiana is 7-3 and have a lot of options in front of them. Beating either Penn State or Michigan opens up the Outback Bowl and Citrus Bowl as realistic possibilities. The Redbox Bowl is another option but I don’t think anyone associated with IU wants the trip to California. So, book a trip to Jacksonville to take on the Volunteers.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl – Illinois vs. Pittsburgh

Last Week – Illinois vs. Pittsburgh/Original Prediction – Minnesota vs. North Carolina State

IU, Iowa, Northwestern, Penn State and Wisconsin are out for this slot, if possible. Illinois beat Michigan State and look likely to get 7 wins. Their prize is a trip to New York City to take on Pat Narduzzi and the Panthers.

Redbox Bowl – Michigan State vs. Stanford

Last Week – MSU vs. Stanford/Original Prediction – Iowa vs. Arizona State

The Spartans are in freefall mode but they get Rutgers and Maryland to close the season. Even in their poor form, I think they get to six wins and slide out west.

Quick Lane Bowl – No Big Ten Team eligible

To read more from Sammy Jacobs and his staff at HoosierHuddle.com, click here.

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