2013: Post Week 1 Bowl Projections

XBRAX360 - Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Off Tackle Empire's wildly inaccurate bowl projections for the Big Ten following week one.

Whether you are a new visitor at Off Tackle Empire or an old hand who has been with us since the days of %@#SAW, you’re sure to enjoy some wildly inaccurate bowl projections. In the past the bowl projections included predictions for each BCS Bowl, helmet clipart and lengthy explanations. I’ll be keeping a few of those things in 2013 and making some minor changes because the old way was a formatting nightmare. First, let’s talk some rules:

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. However, it is important to note that some games have contractual obligations to select the best available team: e.g. the Capital One Bowl.
  • The order of BCS selection is 1) Replacement for #1 Team; 2) Replacement for #2 Team; 3) Orange Bowl; 4) Sugar Bowl; 5) Fiesta 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.
  • The Outback Bowl only takes teams from the SEC East and Auburn.
  • Penn State is not bowl eligible until 2016.
  • I base these projections upon what I believe will be the final conference standings.

Now that we’ve covered the ground rules let’s move onto the projections:

Projections:

Pick

Bowl

Matchup

Projection

0

BCS Championship

Pasadena, CA

vs. No. 2

Ohio State vs. Alabama

1

Rose

Pasadena, CA

vs. Pac-12/BCS

Michigan vs. Oregon

2

Capital One

Orlando, FL

vs. SEC No. 2

Nebraska vs. South Carolina

3

Outback

Tampa, FL

vs. SEC No. 4

Northwestern vs. Georgia

4

Buffalo Wild Wings

Tempe, AZ

vs. Big 12 No. 4

Wisconsin vs. Baylor

5

Gator

Jacksonville, FL

vs. SEC No. 6

Michigan State vs. Ole Miss

6

Meineke Car Care

Houston, TX

vs. Big 12 No. 6

Minnesota vs. TCU

7

Heart of Dallas

Dallas, TX

vs. C-USA

Iowa vs. Rice

8

Little Caesars

Detroit, MI

vs. MAC

Ohio vs. Western Kentucky

The Reasons:

The Big Ten is Ohio State's conference to lose and the only difficult road games are at Northwestern and Michigan (and Purdue, snicker). I don't see them losing any of those games...or any games in general. The question is: who goes after the Buckeyes? Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern or Wisconsin? Michigan seems like the obvious choice as they appear to be the most talented of the group. Then again, we thought Michigan would contend for the title last year and they finished 8-4. Nebraska's defense is clearly suspect so I'm not too high on them right now. Northwestern has a fairly difficult road schedule and I've got them losing to Nebraska. Wisconsin...I don't know. I don't see why everyone is so high on Wisconsin right now. I think they're going to run into some trouble under new head coach Gary Andersen at some point.

If there's one thing I've learned while doing these projections it's that it is rare for the loser of the conference championship game to still make a BCS game. I'm going to disregard that rule against my better judgment because I don't see any of those other Big Ten teams being in the top 14 of the final BCS standings. Michigan should remain because their only losses will be against Ohio State and future BCS Championship contender Ohio State.

The next three are a crapshoot. Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin seem interchangeable to me. I'm comfortable with Michigan State behind those teams and then there's the "lower-tier." Looking at Indiana, Minnesota and Iowa's schedules doesn't give me much optimism. After seeing that Minnesota can score lots of points (albeit against one of the worst teams in college football) I'm thinking they can jump out to 4-0 and at least pick up two more wins and become bowl eligible. And yes, I actually have Iowa making a bowl game. After Iowa State lost to UNI (WHAT?) I now have the Hawkeyes going 3-1 in non-conference and winning a stunning three conference games. Homerism at its finest right there.

The loser is Indiana. Looking at their schedule I realistically only see five wins. Can they pull an upset? We'll see. I see Penn State having a solid season but we know they can't go bowling, Illinois is probably the worst team in their division and Purdue just got stomped out by Cincinnati. Hell, a few losses here and there and Minnesota and Iowa might not even go bowling. Could you imagine only six Big Ten teams going to bowl games? Yikes.

Disagree? That's what the comments are for. Have at it.

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