Post Week 7 - 2011 Bowl Projections

We all know that math is hard. The Big Ten is having its trouble with division. Actually, divisions - but you get the point.

Let's start with the premise that a 3 loss team is not going to make it to a BCS bowl game as an at-large selection (unless Wisky goes undefeated AND to the BCS Title Game, then the Rose Bowl might choose 2007 Illinois Part II). That means that presuming Wisconsin wins the conference crown and goes to the Rose Bowl, we'll need a 10-2 or 11-2 team for the league to snag a second BCS bid. Right now, I don't like our chances.

Some teams have already eliminated themselves: Purdue, Minnesota, Indiana, Northwestern, err...Ohio State? Yeah, Ohio State, no BCS for you. Iowa is out as well. Even if they run the table and finish 10-2, the loss to Wisconsin (again, that's our presumption) gives them loss number 3. 

That leaves five chances for the B1G. The easier roads come from the Leaders Division. Without a loss to Wisconsin in the B1G Title game to add into the equation, the teams can absorb their two losses in the regular season. One-loss Penn State and Illinois are in this boat. Lose to Wisconsin, win all of the rest, and get a trip to the Sugar or Fiesta Bowl at 10-2. However, I don't think that either of these teams is good enough to do that. By the way, if either of these teams were to upset Wisconsin (especially Penn State), everything is up in the air. 

It's tougher for the teams on the Legends side. Michigan and Nebraska have a BCS death match scheduled. IF (big if) both teams make it to November 19th without another loss, the winner of that game will have to win their rivalry game the following week. That will get them to the championship game with only one loss. After losing to Wisconsin, 11-2 Wolverines or Huskers will be eagerly selected for a BCS game. Michigan State also must run the table to have a chance, BUT they also must beat Wisconsin this Saturday night (along with win games in Lincoln and their personal town of horrors - Iowa City). I don't think that any of the three teams are good enough to do that.

That leaves one last route for the Legends - a tie for the division title with more than one team at 10-2. The "winner" of the tiebreaker goes to the Indianapolis and loses to the Badgers. The "loser" of the tiebreaker goes to the Fiesta or Sugar Bowl. Ahhh...BCS justice. I'm not projecting that this week, but it may be the B1G's best hope.

As for the actual projections, let's remember that there are rules:

  1. The best teams don't always go to the best games.  In the end, butts in the seat and eyes to the television are the biggest factors.
  2. The order of BCS selection is 1) Replacement for #1 Team; 2) Replacement for #2 Team; 3) Fiesta Bowl; 4) Sugar Bowl; 5) Orange Bowl.
  3. Until a team is officially bowl banned, we assume that they can and will go. So, no USC. Ohio State, Oregon, North Carolina, Miami...you're in consideration until otherwise notified.
  4. If a Big Ten or Pac-10 team qualifies for the BCS Championship Game, the Rose Bowl will NOT be required to take a non-automatic qualifier.  This was only required of the Rose Bowl the first time (2010 season) it occurred over the current four-year contract. 
  5. The Insight Bowl picks its Big Ten team ahead of the Gator Bowl this year.  It will rotate the other way next year.

 Got it?  Good.  Let's get on to the projections.

Bcs_championship_logo2011_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Alabama_medium_medium_medium Oklahoma_medium_medium_medium This could well be the most chalk year we've had in college football in a long time. The four undefeateds in the SEC and Big 12 have their semi-final games, with the winners meeting in New Orleans. 
Rosebowl_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Wisconsin_medium_medium_medium Stanford_old8_medium_medium

Frankly, I'd love to see Wisconsin play Alabama for the title. The teams that have beaten the Tide in the past four years have been the ones who could control the ball and grind down their defense. Could Wisconsin do that against them? 

And by the way, even if these teams finish undefeated, they're not jumping undefeated SEC or Big 12 champs.

Fiestabowl_2006_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Oregon_medium_medium Oklahoma_st_medium_medium Nike just stained its shorts at the idea of 10-2 Oregon facing 11-1 Okie State.
Sugarbowl_2006_sm_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Lsu_medium_medium_medium Boise_st_medium_medium_medium Pencil in the 11/5 LSU-Alabama loser to this game. Even if they lose one game, Boise will be in the Top 16 and ahead of the Big East champ. That gets them a BCS bid.
Orangebowl_2010_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Clemson_medium_medium_medium West_virginia_medium_medium_medium If the Orange Bowl has to get stuck with the ACC and Big East champs, these are the best fan bases that they could hope for.
Capitalonebowl2002_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Nebraska_medium_medium_medium Arkansas_medium_medium_medium

If things break right for Arkansas, they could get to a BCS bowl. Their best scenario is Alabama beating LSU and then beating LSU themselves. I don't see it happening, though.

Nebraska loses the B1G title game and gets their first trip to Orlando.

Outbackbowl_2010_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Michigan_old4_medium_medium Georgia_medium_medium_medium

This presumes Michigan finishing at 9-3, but can Michigan beat Illinois, Ohio State, Iowa, and Purdue, lose to Nebraska, finish 10-2 and play Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl? Don't. Rule. It. Out.

Georgia is your SEC Least winner and sacrificial offering for the LSU-Alabama champion.

Insightbowl2002_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Penn_st_medium_medium_medium Kansas_st_medium_medium

Which defense is better - Michigan State's or Penn State's? I've been very impressed by both, and have both teams finishing at 9-3.

K-State's surprising run, and the bump of two Big 12 teams in BCS bowls, send Wildcats to Tempe.

Fl61806logo_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Michigan_st_medium_medium_medium South_carolina_old13_medium_medium

I see Michigan State winning one of Wisconsin, @Nebraska, and @Iowa. I don't see them getting the two necessary to get to ten wins.

South Carolina won the game against Mississippi State, but may have lost their season with Marcus Lattimore's injury. 

Meineke_car_care_bowl_of_texas_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Iowa_medium_medium_medium Texas_tech_medium

The Belt Buckle selects 8-4 Iowa over a return trip for 8-4 Illinois. 

This will be the last bowl eligible Big 12 team if the league sends 2 to the BCS.

Ticketcity_bowl_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Illinois_medium_medium_medium Southern_methodist_medium_medium

That was a big loss for Illinois. The good news is that with Minnesota and Purdue on their schedule, they should be able to get to 8 wins. The bad news is that I expect them to lose the other three games against Wisconsin, Michigan, and Penn State.

This will be the best western C-USA team that doesn't win the championship.

Littlecaesarsbowl_2009_sm_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Ohio_st_medium_medium_medium Temple_medium_medium

No. Couldn't be. Ohio State in the Pizza Bowl? I expect them to lose to Wisconsin. I expect them to lose to Penn State. I think that they'll lose at Michigan. That's 6-6. If the B1G doesn't send two teams to the BCS, that's a trip to Detroit for the Luke Fickel send off party.

Dg_easy_meals_2011_rotelqueso_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Northwestern_medium_medium_medium

Minnesota_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium

Purdue_medium_medium

Indiana_medium

When you can't get to six wins, you'll find yourself on the couch with the Queso Bowl. 

Is Northwestern going to beat Penn State? Michigan State? Win at Nebraska? Because if they can't do one of those things, they can't do better than five wins.

Can Purdue win two against Michigan, Ohio State, Illinois, and Iowa? If not they can't get to six wins.

Iowa can mathematically eliminate Indiana from the bowl season this week and (presuming that the Gophers lose to Nebraska this week) Minnesota next week. 

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