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2013: Post Week 11 Bowl Projections

Off Tackle Empire's wildly inaccurate bowl projections for the Big Ten following week eleven. It includes a BCS breakdown.

Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

At this point in the season we can start talking locks for BCS games and possible at large bids. First, here are a few basic BCS rules:

  • If a non-AQ school is ranked in the top 12 of the BCS they get an automatic bid; or
  • A non-AQ school can get an automatic bid if they finish in the top 16 and their final BCS standing is higher than that of a champion of an AQ school.
  • To get an at-large you have to win at least nine games and finish in the top 14.
  • No more than two teams from the same AQ conference may appear in BCS games.

With those rules in place, here's what we've got for the BCS right now: Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State, Stanford, Baylor, Oregon, Auburn, Clemson, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, UCLA, Fresno State, NIU and Michigan State. I see it going like this:

  • BCS Championship: Alabama (SEC Champion) vs. Florida State (ACC Champion)
  • Orange Bowl: Clemson (ACC replacement; doesn't play in ACC title game because they already lost to FSU) vs. UCF (Central Florida wins the AAC and the Orange Bowl selects them as they actually want fans to show up. Oregon is the better team but concerns about travel has the Orange Bowl taking a Florida team)
  • Sugar Bowl: Auburn (Auburn finishes the season 10-2 with losses to LSU and Alabama) vs. Oregon (A rematch to the BCS Championship has the Sugar Bowl drooling. Oregon will likely be the highest ranked non-champion)
  • Fiesta: Baylor (Big 12 Champion) vs. Fresno State (FSU finishes the season undefeated and in the top 12 of the BCS rankings)
  • Rose: Ohio State (Big Ten Champion) vs. Stanford (Pac  12 Champion)

Oh, remember when absolutely no one could beat Oregon because OMG THAT OFFENSE IS UNSTOPPABLE? Yeah, ok.

So how does it play out for the Big Ten? Well, Michigan State and Wisconsin get the short end of the stick. Michigan State is currently ranked 16th and will probably hover around 10 at the end of the season before losing to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship. Wisconsin's schedule (or lack thereof) is getting zero respect and the Badgers are still ranked 22nd in the nation. Even if they win out they won't be higher ranked than any of the teams I just picked for BCS games. Same goes for Michigan State, most likely.

Thoughts on the Big Ten:

  • Iowa finishes 7-5 after beating Michigan and losing to Nebraska.
  • Michigan State wins out, loses Big Ten Championship game.
  • Minnesota loses their last two games.
  • Nebraska wins 9 games (again).
  • Northwestern only beats Illinois and finishes 5-7.
  • Ohio State doesn't lose a thing.
  • Wisconsin also wins out, finishing 10-2.
  • Illinois, Indiana and Purdue get nothing.
  • Penn State.

The Rules:

Bowl Eligible Teams: Iowa, Michigan State, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State, Wisconsin.

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.

It's very rare for a conference championship game loser to make a BCS Bowl. In the history of the BCS only three conference championship game losers have made BCS games: 2003 Oklahoma, 2008 Alabama and 2009 Florida. Thanks to user Incipient_Senescence for doing the research on this one.

The Projections:






BCS Championship

Pasadena, CA

vs. No. 2

Alabama vs. Florida State



Pasadena, CA

vs. Pac-12/BCS

Ohio State vs. Stanford


Capital One

Orlando, FL

vs. SEC No. 2

Michigan State vs. South Carolina



Tampa, FL

vs. SEC No. 4

Wisconsin vs. Missouri


Buffalo Wild Wings

Tempe, AZ

vs. Big 12 No. 4

Nebraska vs. Oklahoma



Jacksonville, FL

vs. SEC No. 6

Michigan vs. Georgia



Houston, TX

vs. Big 12 No. 6

Iowa vs. Texas Tech


Heart of Dallas

Dallas, TX

vs. C-USA

Minnesota vs. North Texas


Little Caesars

Detroit, MI

vs. MAC

NIU vs. Arkansas State

In case you're wondering why Minnesota is so low, they finish with a better overall record than Iowa and Michigan (8-4) but will have an identical conference record to Iowa and both the Hawkeyes and Wolverines travel better than the Gophers.

And for all of their effort...NIU will still be awarded the Pizza Pizza Bowl.