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Post Week 11 - Bowl Projections

Off Tackle Empire's latest bowl projections for the Big Ten and the BCS following week 11 of NCAA football action.

Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

PAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWL. The king is dead. The king is dead! Long live the king! In what can only be described by Big Ten fans as "the most awesomest game evar," Johnny Manziel showed why the whole of Texas A&M (and Texas in general) is in love with him by taking down Alabama 29-24. What made it even more enjoyable was that the Crimson Tide had an opportunity to win until SuperBro and perpetually overrated quarterback AJ McCarron threw a terrible pass that ended up getting picked off in the end zone. There was also a punt, a laughable neutral zone infraction and so on and so forth. The story ends with: an SEC team probably won't be playing in the BCS Championship game.

Aside from Louisville, who got housed by Syracuse, the rest of the top 10 took care of business. Fortunately for the Cardinals, they're still ranked ahead of Rutgers and have an opportunity to win the conference in New Jersey on November 29th. I still have the Fighting Charlies as my Big East Champion.

Things are more complicated in the Pac-12 following Oregon State's loss to Stanford. The loss drops the Beavers to 16th in the BCS and moves the Cardinal up to 13th. The problem is that Stanford still has Oregon and UCLA on their schedule. Losing either one of those games knocks them out of the top 14. The bad news for Oregon State is that they ALSO have to play Oregon in the Civil War. At 16th, another loss will put the nail in the coffin of their BCS dreams. What about UCLA? LOL NO. They still have to play USC, Stanford and if they make the Pac-12 Championship game they'll lose to Oregon. A long story short: the Pac-12 will only be sending Oregon to a BCS game.

In our beloved conference the Nebraska Cornhuskers caught "a break" or two in their comeback win against the Penn State Nittany Lions. Down 20-6 at half, the Cornhuskers rallied behind someone named Imani Cross (I swear, Nebraska has some really diverse names for being in Lincoln) and stormed back to tie it 20-20. Early in the fourth quarter the Huskers took a 27-23 lead but Matt McGloin and the Nittany Lions stormed right back down the field. And then...this happened:



Tight end Matt Lehman was ruled to have fumbled into the end zone before the ball crossed the goal line. Nebraska recovered, the call was upheld and that was the last real shot Penn State had at winning. We won't mention Matt McGloin doing his best Dan Orlovsky in the end-zone. Naturally, McGloin wasn't happy and felt that the call was due to an ongoing national conspiracy that aimed to bring down the Nittany Lions:

"We're not going to get that call here. We're not going to get that call ever actually, against any team. It doesn't matter who the refs are... It's us against the world and we're not going to get those calls in these types of games."

Speaking of LOLWUT moments...Northwestern. Let me give you a scenario. You're up 31-28 with 3:37 remaining in the game and first down all but seals the victory. You run. The opponent calls a timeout. You run. The opponent calls a timeout. You run. The opponent calls a timeout. You get a first down. Game over, right? WRONG.

After picking up the crucial first down the Wildcats continued to drain the clock before eventually punting and giving the Wolverines the ball with 0:18 remaining. Nothing short of a miracle would allow Michigan to get into field goal position and give them an opportunity to play for overtime. Ask, and ye shall receive. Nothing like a hail mary to save the day:



At that point it was basically over for Northwestern. Michigan scored on their first OT possession and the Wildcats turned the ball over on downs, ending the game 38-31 in favor of Big Blue. Credit to Northwestern though, as they keep finding the most interesting ways to snatch victory from their own hands.

Wisconsin beat Indiana 62-14. Yes, the whole Hoosiers in the Big 10 Championship game was cute, wasn't it?

Minnesota is bowl eligible for the first time since 2009 following their 17-3 victory over the ILOLini.

Maybe we'll just save the final paragraphs for the Big Ten's two worst teams: Iowa and Illinois. It seems like years ago since Iowa was 2-0 in conference and looked to be a dark horse in the Big Ten West. Four straight laughable losses, including one to Purdue, will do that to you. In the OTE e-mails last week I told Baba that whoever played QB for Purdue would be named Big Ten POTW. I was wrong, of course, even though Robert Marve went 25-33 for 266 yards and 2 touchdowns. Instead, POTW went to Purdue defensive tackle Kawann Short. My Big Ten POTW predictions for the next two weeks: Devin Garner and T-Mart. You heard it here first.

What's even left to say about Illinois? Is Tim Beckman to Ron Zook what Tim Brewster was to Glen Mason? Both of their names are Tim. Both their initials are TB. A conspiracy? I think so. But really, Illinois isn't going to win a conference game this season. Maybe if they'd gotten a few more of those players from Penn State they weren't recruiting...

On to the projections, which are basically just BCS standings at this point.

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. Per the one and only Brendan Stiles, the Gator Bowl gets the first pick between the two.
  • Apparently, the Outback Bowl only takes teams from the SEC East and Auburn.
  • The TicketCity Bowl is now the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Here's a full breakdown of the Big Ten bowl tie-ins:


Bowl Game


No. 1

Rose Bowl
Pasadena, California

Pac-12 No. 1 or BCS

No. 2

Capital One Bowl
Orlando, Florida

SEC No. 2

No. 3

Outback Bowl
Tampa, Florida

SEC No. 3

No. 4

Gator Bowl
Jacksonville, Florida

SEC No. 6

No. 5

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Tempe, Arizona

Big 12 No. 4

No. 6

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
Houston, Texas

Big 12 No. 6

No. 7

Heart of Dallas Bowl
Dallas, Texas

Big 12 No. 8

No. 8

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Detroit, Michigan


Now that we've gotten the formalities out of the way, let's get to the projections.



Kansas_state_helmet_mediumvs. Oregon_medium

Why Kansas State: BCS #1.

Why Oregon: BCS #2.



Nebraska_medium vs. Notre_dame_old1_medium

Why Nebraska: It's Nebraska's conference to lose at this point.

Why Notre Dame: Oregon is #2 in the nation right now but come season end, they'll be #1. With the Pac-12 team being #1 in the nation and there being no eligible replacement, they'll get first pick for a replacement. Who else would they pick?



Oklahoma_medium vs. Florida_medium

Why Oklahoma: With Kansas State going to the BCS Championship, Oklahoma takes their spot in the Fiesta Bowl.

Why Florida: As it stands, Florida is 6th in the BCS behind Georgia and ahead of LSU. The Bulldogs will win the East and lose to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. Florida will win out and beat Florida State finishing 11-1 ahead of 10-2 LSU.



Alabama_medium vs. Clemson_medium

Why Alabama: The SEC champion actually playing in the Sugar Bowl? Weird.

Why Clemson: Check the BCS standings. There's literally no other option.



Florida_st_medium vs. Louisville_medium

Why Florida State: No change.

Why Louisville: No change.


Capital One

Michiganhelmet_medium vs. Georgia_medium

Why Michigan: No change.

Why Georgia: No change.



Wisconsin_medium vs. South_carolina_old13_medium

Why Wisconsin: The Badgers are currently 7-3 (4-3) with Ohio State and Penn State remaining. I've got the Badgers beating Penn State, losing to the Buckeyes and losing to the Cornhuskers, leaving them at 8-5.

Why South Carolina: The Gamecocks fall here after tiebreakers.



Northwestern_medium vs. Mississippi_st_medium

Why Northwestern: The Wildcats are currently 7-3 (3-3) with Michigan State and Illinois remaining on their schedule. I've got them losing to Sparty and keeping the LOL Trophy.

Why Mississippi State: Talk about getting exposed.


Michigan_st_medium vs. Oklahoma_st_medium

Why Michigan State: Somehow, the Spartans will finish 7-5.

Why Oklahoma State: With two Big 12 teams being BCS eligible, everyone will move up in the pecking order. With Texas and Texas Tech finishing ahead of OSU, the Cowboys will fall here.


Car Care

Minnesota_medium vs. West_virginia_medium

Why Minnesota: Someone has to be the Big Ten's last remaining bowl eligible team.

Why West Virginia: I officially apologize for once considering West Virginia a BCS worthy team. I also apologize to Minnesota for this matchup.


Heart of Dallas

Iowa_st_medium vs. East_carolina_old8_medium

Why Iowa State: Seriously, watch Iowa State lose to Kansas.

Why ECU: Why not?


Little Caesars

Arkansas_st_medium vs. Northern_illinois_medium

Why Arkansas State: /name out of hat

Why NIU: So apparently Iowa can beat the best team in the MAC but not one of the worst? Ok then.





Why Iowa: At any other university a season like this would put a coach on the hot seat. Then there's Iowa, who has a coach with a 21 million dollar buyout...

Why Illinois: PLAY4BECKMAN

Why Indiana: The Hoosiers lose to Penn State officially eliminating them from a bowl game but upset the Boilers at home.

Why Ohio State: It was a bye week so there's nothing funny to say.

Why Penn State: IT'S A CONSPIRACY.


All helmet images credit to The Helmet Project.