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Post Week 9 - 2011 Bowl Projections

I looked back through my bowl projections over the past few years. Generally by this point, it was pretty clear as to a general pecking order in the Big Ten. Sure, and upset or two may have messed with the order a touch. But for the most part, the league had a semblance of top-to-bottom. If you can find it this year, please chime in. Because the circles that we see now, make projecting what will happen ahead even more uncertain. 

Is it just home field? Wisconsin beats Nebraska. Michigan State beats Wisconsin. Nebraska beats Michigan State. Ohio State fits in there somewhere, too. Is it just home field? Are those four pretty even teams? I'm really not sure anymore. 

And what about Penn State? We're always attracted to the sizzle of an offense, but could their defense be good enough to ride to Indianapolis? Very quietly, something special could be happening in the Happy Valley. That two game division lead is nice. Of course, they have three very tough games left.

Nobody believes in Michigan, but they still sit at 7-1, with their toughest remaining games at home. Could they slip through?

And take Illinois, Iowa, and Purdue. Please.


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, <ahem>'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_medium_medium Alabama_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Stanford_old8_medium_medium_medium_medium

This is a pick of home field helping Alabama win this year's game of the century.

Really, this comes down to: do you think Stanford can beat Oregon and Arizona State at home. After watching Luck play at USC, I'll take that bet this week.

Rosebowl_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Penn_st_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Oregon_medium_medium_medium_medium

Penn State? Can they beat Ohio State, Wisconsin and Nebraska with that defense? If they can take two of those three, they clinch the Leaders Division. I'm picking wins over the Huskers and Buckeyes.

The Rose Bowl will take a 10-2 Ducks squad to replace Stanford.

Fiestabowl_2006_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Oklahoma_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Wisconsin_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Oklahoma beats Okie State to win the league. 10-2 Wisconsin gets an at large bid and a great matchup. The Fiesta has a slew of 10 win B1G teams to choose from.
Sugarbowl_2006_sm_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Lsu_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Boise_st_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Alabama-LSU loser will go here. The Sugar Bowl will be left with a choice between Boise and the Big East champ. That will mean Broncos on Bourbon Street.
Orangebowl_2010_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Clemson_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium West_virginia_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium

I'm sticking with Clemson, but I wonder if Virginia Tech could get them in an ACC title game rematch.

This week's West Virginia-Cincy game will all but decide the Big East title.

Capitalonebowl2002_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Nebraska_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Arkansas_medium_medium_medium_medium

I have Nebraska finishing at 10-2, but missing the Big Ten title game. Their new hotness will give them the edge is the selection order over the other 10 win teams.

Arkansas is the third best team in the SEC. The question is: are they any good? The last two weeks have me doubting.

Outbackbowl_2010_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Michigan_old4_medium_medium_medium_medium Georgia_medium_medium_medium_medium

I have Michigan losing to Nebraska and finishing 10-2. They, too, miss the Big Ten title game. 

Georgia wins the East, but loses to the Alabama-LSU winner in the SEC title game.

Insightbowl2002_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Michigan_st_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Texas_am_medium_medium

I have Sparty winning out to finish 10-2, but losing the B1G Title Game in a defensive slugfest to Penn State. 

Beyond, the two Oklahoma schools, the Big 12's selection order is as messy as the Big Ten's.

Fl61806logo_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Ohio_st_medium_medium_medium_medium South_carolina_old13_medium_medium_medium

I have Ohio State losing to Michigan and Penn State to finish 7-5. And so ends the Fickel era.

The South Carolina-Arkansas game this weekend will be huge for bowl order in the SEC.

Meineke_car_care_bowl_of_texas_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Illinois_medium_medium_medium_medium Texas_tech_medium_medium_medium

Will Ron Zook be around to coach this game? 

Why do I love college football? Tech beats Oklahoma in Norman and loses to Iowa State in Lubbock.

Ticketcity_bowl_small_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Purdue_medium_medium_medium_medium Southern_methodist_medium_medium What was it about Purdue's loss at Michigan that saved them from the Queso? Nothing. But they'll host an Iowa team that is hapless on the road. That win, with an Oaken Bucket victory, gets them to six.
Littlecaesarsbowl_2009_sm_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Florida_international_medium_medium Toledo_medium_medium_medium Because the B1G can't fill the bowl, FIU gets the shot to play MAC champ Toledo.





When you can't get to six wins, you're On the Couch with the Queso Bowl. 

Indiana is eliminated. Minnesota will be with their next loss. Northwestern can only afford one more loss, and with Michigan State and Nebraska on their schedule, that seems unlikely.

Iowa has been bowl eligible ten straight seasons. Only Ohio State has a longer current streak in the B1G. That said, where do they find win number six? Denard is a horrible matchup for their slow defense. Sparty is poised to end their run of futility in Iowa City (if they can't do it with this team against that team, when will they?). Iowa would have to play better by a factor of 10 to win on the road in West Lafayette or Lincoln. I hate this, but I think Iowa may be a 5-7 team this year.