September 8, 2012; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson (16) runs the ball during the second half against the Air Force Falcons at Michigan Stadium. Michigan won 31-25. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
Hey there Big Ten fans. How you feeling? You feeling like a total stranger walked up, punched you right in the junk, took your mother out to a nice seafood dinner and never called her again? Yeah, I know how you feel. Despite being favored in 9 out of 12 games, the Big Ten went a disappointing 6-6 and some of those losses weren't even respectable. Naturally, the debacle that was last weekend will have far reaching implications on the bowl projections.
Minnesota didn't have any problems with FCS New Hampshire, a team that was actually better than UNLV heading into the game according to Jeff Sagarin. Braxon Miller ran wild against UCF, Andrew Maxwell looked great in Michigan State's thrashing of Central Michigan, Denard Robinson put up video game numbers against Air Force and Venric Mark continued to look like Wes Welker against Vandy. That was the good.
The bad was, well, everything else. Iowa's offense looked like a full on tire fire in their 9-6 loss to Iowa State, Penn State kicker Sam Ficken went 1-5 against Virginia and missed the game winning field goal, Purdue got screwed by the refs in South Bend which we totally should've seen coming because Jimmy Johnson warned us all in The U, Indiana beat UMass but lost Tre Roberson for the season in the process, Wisconsin LOLOL'd in Corvallis against Oregon State, the Blackshirts gave up 653 yards in their 36-30 loss to UCLA and Illinois looked absolutely lost without Nathan Scheelhaase in their 45-14 loss to ASU. Things could have went better.
Aside from Arkansas pooping their pants in overtime against Louisiana-Monroe, the song remained the same on the national front. Alabama, LSU, Oregon, Oklahoma and Florida State all took care of business against overmatched opponents. USC started slow against Syracuse until Matt Barkley went Jules Winnfield and dropped 21 points on the Orange in the 4th quarter. Other top 15 schools not named Arkansas also took care of business. So where does that leave us? Hit the jump.
First, remember the rules:
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.
The order of BCS selection (and we're bringing the title game back to South Beach this season) is 1) Replacement for #1 Team; 2) Replacement for #2 Team; 3) Fiesta Bowl; 4) Sugar Bowl; 5) Orange Bowl.
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.
The Insight Bowl is now the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. There's also still no clarification on who gets to pick first between the Gator and the BWW. I'll assume the Gator gets to pick first.
Here's a full breakdown of the Big Ten bowl tie-ins:
Rose Bowl Pasadena, California
Pac-12 No. 1 or BCS
Capital One Bowl Orlando, Florida
SEC No. 2
Outback Bowl Tampa, Florida
SEC No. 3
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl Tempe, Arizona
Big 12 No. 4
Gator Bowl Jacksonville, Florida
SEC No. 6
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas Houston, Texas
Big 12 No. 6
TicketCity Bowl Dallas, Texas
C-USA or MAC
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Detroit, Michigan
Now that we've gotten the formalities out of the way, let's get to the projections.
Why Alabama: You know it's bad when AJ McCarron is making it rain on you like PacMan Jones. McCarron threw 4 TDs in Alabama's 35-0 blanking of Western Kentucky and the Crimson Tide defense held the Hilltoppers to 224 yards of total offense. Until they slow down there's no other option for #1 than Alabama.
Why USC: The Trojans started off slow against the Syracuse Orange before exploding and winning 42-29. That's the type of offense that will win the Pac-12 and get you into the BCS Championship.
Why Michigan State: Yes, I understand that Central Michigan isn't Boise State. Either way it's great to see Andrew Maxwell not turning the ball over and the Spartan defense continuing to shut teams down.
Why Oregon: Oregon scores points so fast their second stringers are in by halftime. For instance, they were beating Fresno State 35-6 at half. Final score? 42-25.
Why Oklahoma: The Sooners bounced back from their slow start against UTEP by punishing Florida A&M 69-13. I like Oklahoma to win the Big 12 but could see West Virginia here as well.
Why Clemson: It pains me to write this but I honestly don't see a better top 15 team than Clemson. They'll lose to FSU but get Virginia Tech and South Carolina at home. Then again, it's only a matter of time before 8Ball ruins everything.
Why LSU: Because they can't beat Alabama.
Why West Virginia: Because they can't beat Oklahoma.
Why Florida State: Honestly, who is going to beat Florida State in the ACC? It's between Clemson, FSU and Virginia Tech. Considering the Seminoles favorable schedule they get the nod.
Why Louisville: The Big East has to have someone represent them.
Why Michigan: I'm starting to feel uneasy about Michigan. Despite Denard's ridiculous numbers, Air Force was still in a position to win the game in the final minutes before turning it over on downs. Furthermore, the Wolverines allowed 417 yards of total offense. In my opinion Michigan is still a 9 or 10 win football team but unless they start showing it, I'm going to change my mind.
Why Georgia: Nothing changes for Georgia, who will be the third best team in the SEC.
Why Wisconsin:It might be reactionary to drop the Badgers all the way to the Outback Bowl following the debacle in Corvallis but c'mon. 207 yards of total offense against a Pac-12 team?Montee Ballrushing for 61 yards? And then theyfire their offensive line coach? Wisconsin needs to get their offense together if they're even going to make the Outback Bowl.
Why Mississippi State: Remember when I had Arkansas here? LOL. Miss. State already has an impressive win against Auburn and gets Tennessee, A&M and Arkansas at home. There's no way they'll beat Bama or LSU on the road but I'd give them a fighting chance in every other game.
Why Northwestern: Northwestern continues to impress and may even win 8 games this season. Wait, this is Northwestern. 7-5! 7-5! 7-5!
Why TCU: Again, there are at least four teams in the Big 12 better than TCU. They'll probably lose to all four of them.
Why Nebraska: Because the dreaded Blackshirts allowed 653 yards of total offense to UCLA, Taylor Martinez looked like Taylor Martinez throwing the ball and Rex Burkhead continues to sit out.
Why Florida: Yes, I saw that Florida beat A&M in the most A&M way possible. That doesn't make them a great football team.
Why Illinois: The Fighting Illini should be thanking their lucky stars they get Charleston Southern and Louisiana Tech in the next couple weeks, allowing Nate Scheelhaase to return. When he's on the football field they're a completely different team.
Why Texas Tech: Still have the Red Raiders heading to the Car Care Bowl as they're the 6th best team in the Big 12.
Why Purdue: I literally wrote this last week "Why hello there Purdue. A full game and you haven't blown any ACLs? Good for you!" Welp. now I feel awful. Robert Marve has ACL damage and will probably miss the rest of the season. That's unfortunate, as Purdue has looked impressive in the first two weeks. Still, I think Caleb TerBush can get them to 6 or 7 wins...I think.
Why Tulsa: The Golden Hurricanes should finish at 7-5 or better in the C-USA and make their way to play Purdue in a high scoring TicketCity Bowl.
Why Iowa: Iowa's offense is a bag full of LOLs right now. Fortunately, their schedule continues to be cupcake soft and they'll have plenty of time to figure things out. Still, there's a ceiling on what they can do and 6-6 is optimistic at this point.
Why NIU: Initially I placed NIU in the Pizza Bowl as a joke because I ran out of helmet clip art. Now, after their showing at Solider Field, I've got them heading to the Pizza Pizza Bowl.
Why Minnesota: Let me put it this way: if Minnesota beats Iowa in Kinnick they're going bowling. Until that happens I don't see them winning 6 games.
Why Indiana: Yikes. Yikes. Yikes.
Why Ohio State: Facts.
Why Penn State: Is Penn State going to win a game this season or are they going to continue to lose while their fans talk about how the other team didn't deserve it/how talented the Nittany Lions are? Probably the latter.
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