Whatever you think that you know about the Big Ten, hold your thought for two weeks. We won't learn anything new next week. It is, quite simply, the worst schedule of games that I have ever seen a major conference have. Ever. I can't emphasize enough that this is not hyperbole. But more on that later in the week.
Right now, what do we know? We know that Ohio State is awesome. We know that Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Penn State are good, but flawed, teams. We know that Minnesota is the worst in the league. Beyond that, it's up in the air. Could Michigan State have a magical 11-1 season? Maybe. Could Wisconsin? Iowa? Sure. Could any of those teams crash to 7-5? Absolutely. The margin is very thin for all of them.
Now remember, these are projections, not "if the season ended today" picks. I'm accounting for what I think will happen in the remaining weeks. Here are the Rules for 2010.
- 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 is 1) Replacement for #1 Team; 2) Replacement for #2 Team; 3) Sugar Bowl; 4) Orange Bowl; 5) Fiesta Bowl.
- If a Big Ten or Pac-10 team qualifies for the BCS Championship Game, the Rose Bowl will be required to take a non-automatic qualifier. This will only be required of the Rose Bowl the first time it occurs over the next four years.
- The Gator Bowl picks its Big Ten team ahead of the Insight Bowl this year. It will rotate the other way next year.
- For the full rules on BCS selections, look here.
Got it? Good. Let's get on to the projections.