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2013: Post Week 5 Bowl Projections

Off Tackle Empire's wildly inaccurate bowl projections for the Big Ten following week five. It includes Minnesota enjoying some queso!

Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Not a lot of moving and shaking in the projections as there were only four conference games last week. While Purdue confirmed that they're the worst team in the Big Ten (and possibly any AQ conference), every other game showed me something new. First, is Illinois like...a thing? I realize that they crushed a team that would probably lose to Purdue (uh, I think) but they look a little better each week. The problem is that their schedule does them no favors: @ Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan State, @ Penn State, Ohio State and Northwestern. Do you see them winning any of those games? They'll get to five wins by beating Indiana and Purdue but it will take an upset to make a bowl game.


I was really surprised by Wisconsin. I'll admit that I underestimated the Badgers and was actually rooting for them when they got the ball back with just under two minutes. Jared Abbrederis is seemingly unstoppable and Stave makes good decisions when under pressure. The question I had as the game ended was: wait, isn't Wisconsin a running team? Gordon and White were shut down, forcing Wisconsin to throw the ball. I guess it worked because Abbrederis had 207 receiving yards. Here's my concern: what if you shut down Wisconsin's running game AND somehow contain Abbrederis? Or is that impossible? The Badgers don't play Michigan State so I don't think we're going to find out. I still have Wisconsin going to a BCS bowl because the back end of their schedule is cushy. But...that doesn't mean they won't be challenged on the road at Iowa and Minnesota. Rivalry games are always tough and that might be something Gary Andersen doesn't understand.

If Braxton Miller stays healthy I still don't see the Buckeyes losing a game. Their game against Wisconsin was closer than they wanted yet they still came out on top.

As an Iowa fan I want to jump for joy and proclaim that they're suddenly a contender in the West. If I did that I would be lying. The Hawkeyes looked like your typical Kirk Ferentz team on Saturday: domination at the line, power running and the quarterback game managing. Naturally, I'm still not happy. Iowa still has trouble in the red zone, Ferentz still won't sweep the leg and the secondary is troublesome. I think Iowa makes it to six wins by beating MSU on homecoming and Purdue later in the season. Any other win is going to have to be an upset at home against Northwestern, Wisconsin or Michigan. /stares at Michigan

Minnesota. Yikes. If you can't run the ball you have to throw the ball and the Gophers can't throw the ball. If Phillip Nelson is Goldy's best throwing quarterback then I don't see how the Gophers are going to win another game. In fact, that's why I have them dropping out of the projections. Do you really see them beating anyone else other than Indiana with that schedule? Not unless they get the quarterback situation figured out.

This upcoming week has plenty of significance. Here are some things I'm looking for:

  • Sure, I just talked about how bad Minnesota looked on Saturday but have you seen Michigan play a football game in the past three weeks? They've looked terrible. Michigan needs to come out and dominate the Gophers if they want to be taken seriously in the West. Or...they could struggle and we'll just write them off again.
  • If Iowa wants to make some noise in the West they need to beat Sparty. Simple as that. Michigan State arguably has the Big Ten's best defense but their offense is nothing short of a tire fire. The Hawkeyes should capitalize on a few Michigan State mistakes and win impressively by a whopping 6 points. Final score: 9-3.
  • Indiana. Do you want to go bowling? Beat someone not named Indiana State.
  • Nebraska needs to show that it isn't 2007 and beat the Illini at home. If the game is close or WORSE if the Huskers's gonna be ugly for Pelini. Note: I don't think Illinois stands a chance.
  • Avoid a letdown Ohio State. This could be Northwestern's year.

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. Some bowl games also have the "two loss-rule."
  • The order of BCS selection is 1) Replacement for #1 Team; 2) Replacement for #2 Team; 3) Orange Bowl; 4) Sugar Bowl; 5) Fiesta 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.
  • The Outback Bowl only takes teams from the SEC East and Auburn.
  • Penn State is not bowl eligible until 2016.
  • I base these projections upon what I believe will be the final conference standings. The game by game method is rather unscientific: who would win the matchup 9 times out of 10? Naturally, that means I can't predict insane upsets.
  • There's some sort of unwritten rule about the conference championship game loser not making a BCS Bowl. I believe that in the history of the BCS that only one conference championship game loser has made a BCS game.

The Projections:



BCS Championship

Pasadena, CA

vs. No. 2

Ohio State vs. Alabama



Pasadena, CA

vs. Pac-12/BCS

Wisconsin vs. Stanford


Capital One

Orlando, FL

vs. SEC No. 2

Northwestern vs. Georgia



Tampa, FL

vs. SEC No. 4

Michigan vs. Florida


Buffalo Wild Wings

Tempe, AZ

vs. Big 12 No. 4

Nebraska vs. Texas Tech



Jacksonville, FL

vs. SEC No. 6

Michigan State vs. Ole Miss



Houston, TX

vs. Big 12 No. 6

Iowa vs. Texas


Heart of Dallas

Dallas, TX

vs. C-USA

Illinois vs. Tulsa


Little Caesars

Detroit, MI

vs. MAC

Ohio vs. Western Kentucky

Wisconsin not making the Rose Bowl was an unpopular pick. Thinking about it, would the Rose Bowl really pass up a Big Ten team simply because they've been there three previous times in a row? My heart says yes but my head says no. Northwestern definitely gets the short end of the stick due to the unwritten "championship game loser" rule. Here's what unmentioned teams get:


Disagree? That's what the comments are for.