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Post Week 5 - Bowl Projections

Off Tackle Empire's latest bowl projections for the Big Ten and the BCS following week 5 of NCAA football action.

Reese Strickland-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

I have a feeling that people are looking back and asking "C’mon, did we really think Stanford was that good?" After beating #2 USC 21-14 in week 3, the Cardinal followed it up by laying an egg in Seattle against the Washington Huskies. Yes, the same Washington Huskies that were absolutely destroyed by the LSU Tigers 41-3. Speaking of LSU, I THOUGHT THEY SPOSED TO BE SEC?

The box score will tell you that LSU won comfortably against the Towson Tigers. But if you watched the game for a few quarters as I did, you’ll know that it was a lot closer. In fact, LSU was actually losing 9-7 with three minutes left in the half. Naturally, they turned it on and realized that they were playing a FCS team but that’s not really the point. They looked sloppy, mistake prone and lethargic in the time that I watched them. That’s probably why they allowed two touchdowns in the fourth quarter: because they didn’t take their opponent seriously.

That’s now two consecutive weeks that the Tigers have struggled with a team they should have no business struggling with. They travel to the Swamp this week and get South Carolina at home after that. Those two games will go a long way in determining whether they’re BCS Bowl worthy.

A few other observations on what I’ll call "slow start Saturday":

  • I think Alabama was losing to Ole Miss for a few seconds. They ended up winning 33-14.
  • Oregon struggled with Washington State for a half before running it up in the third quarter.
  • Florida State and South Carolina didn’t exactly blow away inferior competition.
  • As the scores from the Baylor v. West Virginia and Texas v. Oklahoma State games will tell you: The Big 12 takes defense seriously.
  • Remember when Wisconsin losing to Oregon State was such an embarrassment? The Beavers are now 3-0 with wins over two ranked teams and a team that was previously ranked.
  • Louisville struggled but still beat Southern Mississippi and is still perfect.
  • Boise State clearly deserves to be in a BCS game after their dominating 32-29 win over New Mexico.

It was an eventual Saturday for our beautiful conference. First, I personally attended Iowa’s pantsing of Minnesota and watched as the Hawkeyes reclaimed Floyd after two years of embarrassment. I said I’d really make a determination of whether Minnesota is a bowl team based on how they played against Iowa. However, I’m withholding any change for the Gophers because: 1) They didn’t have their starting QB; 2) Iowa is always good after a LOLtastic loss; and 3) I honestly didn’t think the Gophers were that good in the first place.

Now, the Gophers get the undefeated (yes, they’re really undefeated) Northwestern Wildcats at home. If Gray and the Gophers are healthy we’ll get an idea of how good they and the Wildcats really are. Regarding Iowa: who knows. The Hawkeyes get a bye week before heading to travelling to East Lansing to take on the Spartans. Michigan State just lost a prototypical Big Ten game to Ohio State, will probably destroy Indiana and follows it up with Iowa and Michigan. Week 7 against the Hawkeyes will be the epitome of a trap game for Sparty…just remember that.

Like I said in last week’s bowl projections: Ohio State is the most non-incompetent team in the conference. Actually, I’m not sure I actually believe that because they're so sloppy. They just have the advantage of being so talented and well coached that they’re able to overcome turnovers and boneheaded mistakes.

Speaking of boneheaded mistakes…I once had Wisconsin playing in a BCS Game. And to be fair: no one saw this coming. Detractors of Wisconsin will say that they didn’t think the Badgers were that good in the first place. That’s fine. But really? Blowing a 17 point lead in the second half? The Badgers were up 27-10 at one point with 10:29 left in the third quarter. They ended up losing 27-30. Here’s what the Wisconsin program looks like right now:


Oh Biels. On to the projections.

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. There's also still no clarification on who gets to pick first between the Gator and the BWW. I'll assume the Gator gets to pick first.
  • Apparently, the Outback Bowl only takes teams from the SEC East and Auburn.

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. 4/5

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Tempe, Arizona

Big 12 No. 4

No. 5/4

Gator Bowl
Jacksonville, Florida

SEC No. 6

No. 6

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
Houston, Texas

Big 12 No. 6

No. 7

TicketCity Bowl
Dallas, Texas


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.



Alabama_mediumvs. Florida_st_medium

Why Alabama: Bama was actually losing a game for a few minutes on Saturday. That only upset Saban and the Death Star.

Why Florida State: The Seminoles didn't exactly dominate South Florida but a W is a W.



Michigan_st_medium vs.

Why Michigan State: Following another loss you're probably wanting me to put another team in the Rose Bowl. Unfortunately, I can't. The Huskers won but should they have ever been down that much to a dumpster fire? Michigan has looked absolutely pathetic in two games this season and they still have to play Iowa (yes, I'm seriously mentioning them along with these other teams), Michigan State, Nebraska and Ohio State. Right now it's between Nebraska and Sparty and the nod currently goes to Michigan State. I'll hear arguments for Herbie if you'd like to make them.

Why USC: The Trojans were off this week but they're still the Rose Bowl winner participant.



Westvirginiahelmet_mediumvs. Oregon_medium

Why West Virginia: Texas struggles and West Virginia scores 1,000 points...albeit they gave up 900 as well. The Mountaineers can outscore anyone in the Big 12 Conference and isn't that how you always win the Big 12 Conference?

Why Oregon: Oregon didn't blow away the Washington State Cougars in Seattle but a W is a W. With the emergence of Oregon State, Washington, ASU and UCLA the Pac-12 doesn't look as top-heavy as it used to,



Lsu_medium vs. Kansas_state_helmet_medium

Why LSU: I lose faith in you with every passing week LSU. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone else in the SEC (besides Bama) looks any better.

Why Kansas State: Now now, hear me out. The Wildcats are currently 4-0 with wins over Miami (who suddenly looks like a good ACC team) and Oklahoma in Norman. They travel to Morgantown and will probably lose to the Mountaineers before taking down Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. The Wildcats finish the season taking on three teams who were ranked in last weeks AP Poll. One is TCU, who will be rudely awakened by actual Big 12 teams, another is Baylor, who can't stop a nose bleed and the third is Texas. If Kansas State can beat OU in Norman I think they can take down a Texas squad that struggled with Oklahoma State.



Clemson_mediumvs. Louisville_medium

Why Clemson: Clemson is now 4-1 after a win over Boston College. Business as usual. Oh, speaking of business as usual, did you see Virginia Tech melted down against Cincinnati? Yeah, I don't see how the Tigers don't make a BCS game.

Why Louisville: Did the Redbirds struggle against Southern Miss? Yes. Does someone have to represent the Big East? Also yes. 5-0 for Louisville.


Capital One

Nebraska_medium vs. Georgiahelmet_medium

Why Nebraska: Want to make the case that Nebraska could be going to the Rose Bowl? Make it. But don't come back here crying when they lose to the Michigan(s).

Why Georgia: Still the 3rd best team in the SEC.



Michiganhelmet_medium vs. South_carolina_old13_medium

Why Michigan: Michigan didn't turn the ball over during the bye week. Supposedly.

Why South Carolina: Losses to Georgia, LSU, Florida and Clemson get you here.


Northwestern_mediumvs. Texas_medium

Why Northwestern: The Wildcats are 5-0. We've done this before.

Why Texas: So if K-State and West Virginia make BCS Bowls and OU beats Texas in the Red River Shootout...that leaves the Longhorns as the 4th best team in the Big 12.



Purdue_medium vs. Tennessee_medium

Why Purdue: Wisconsin continues to stumble and other teams capitalize on it. Purdue gave up 500+ yards to Marshall and faces a real gauntlet over the next three weeks: vs. Michigan, vs. Wisconsin, @ Ohio State. Fortunately, they still get to play Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana. The Boilers will get to 7-5 and make the Gator Bowl.

Why Tennessee: The Vols hung tough with the Bulldogs and had an opportunity to win but uh...DOOLEY TIME. At some point the Vols will have a losing record (probably next week) and might even sit at 2-5 after their 7th game. Fortunately, they'll win 4 straight and finish 7-5.


Car Care

Wisconsin_medium vs. Texas_tech_medium

Why Wisconsin: I think we all know why.

Why Texas Tech: With Kansas State, West Virginia, Texas and OU all being better than Tech, that leaves the Red Raiders, TCU and Baylor. I think TCU is absolutely going to call apart come conference play and Baylor will be better than the Red Raiders. So here they are.



Iowa_medium vs. Ball_st_medium

Why Iowa: Iowa looked better against Minnesota. By better I mean they looked like a 6-6 team.

Why Ball State: After checking the C-USA schedule/standings I realized they're really top-heavy and I'm not sure there will be enough bowl eligible teams. The MAC, on the other hand, will have too many bowl eligible teams. Thus, Ball State.


Little Caesars

Minnesota_mediumvs. Ohio_old11_medium

Why Minnesota: The Gophers currently have 4 wins and still have Northwestern, @ Wisconsin, Purdue and @ Illinois on their schedule. Can they win at least two of those games? I think so.

Why Ohio: Unless Ohio goes undefeated, which they could in this wacky season, they'll end up in the Pizza Pizza Bowl as the MAC Champion. Also, how messed up is it that the 4th or 5th best team in the MAC has to play a better Big Ten school while the best team in the conference has to play an inferior one?





Why Illinois: I had Illinois going 8-4 or 7-5. Of course, I didn't have Scheelhaase going down with injury or their running game being a debacle. To put it another way: I didn't have Illinois going Zook without Zook. Turns out, Illinois still cannot have nice things.

Why Indiana: Still Indiana.

Why Ohio State: Sigh. What a drag. Ohio State should be playing in the Rose Bowl as they're the best team in the conference. Unfortunately, they'll sit home and wonder what could've been.

Why Penn State: Penn State has looked better in the past couple weeks but I still don't think they'll win 6 games. Naturally, they'll prove me wrong by beating Northwestern, Purdue, Indiana and Wisconsin, finishing 7-5.

All helmet images credit to The Helmet Project.