If you're playing ten games against non-BCS conference teams, you should get ten wins. That's what makes the Big Ten's 8-2 yesterday so disappointing. But more than that, the two losses may have sealed the post-season fates of Purdue and Minnesota - before conference play even began. Purdue's loss, dropping them to 2-2, requires a 4-4 season in the league. That would be tough enough as it is, but absent their starting QB, RB, and WR, it seems impossible. And Minnesota...oh, Minnesota. While I still expect that the Gophers will rise up and catch someone napping in conference play, 1 Big Ten win seems to be the ceiling for the worst team in the Big Ten.
But where teams fall, teams also rise. A weakened Purdue on the schedule brings an increased likelihood of a bowl to Indiana and Illinois. My guess is that the winner of that game will go to Dallas.
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.
Got it? Good. Let's get on to the projections.