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2014: Post Week Ten Bowl Projections

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Bye, Ole Miss. Hello MSU. No not that MSU. CLANGA CLANGA.

Matthew Holst

Football can be a cruel mistress sometimes. With around a minute and a half left in the game, Ole Miss was literally one foot away from taking a 38-35 lead over Auburn, likely securing the victory and keeping their playoff hopes alive. Alas, it wasn't meant to be. Ole Miss wide-receiver Laquon Treadwell was pulled down awkwardly near the goal line, causing his legs to get trapped under the Auburn defender's body and ultimately fracturing his fibula. Naturally, Treadwell fumbled the ball into the endzone, Auburn jumped on it for a touchback and the game was all but over. Watching Treadwell get carted off in tears is an image that will probably stick with me for a while. Absolutely sickening. For him. And for Ole Miss.

The Rebels' loss obviously knocks them out of playoff contention and allows Oregon, Alabama or TCU to take their place. Auburn will probably maintain the #3 spot, though they still have to play Alabama at the end of the year. I still think they're the loser of the Iron Bowl, knocking them out. Nothing changes for Florida State and Mississippi State. Going back to the #4 spot, I think it's down to Oregon, TCU/K-State and Michigan State. TCU and Kansas State play this weekend and if the Horned Frogs can squeak out a victory they finish the year with Kansas, Texas and Iowa State. There's no way they get passed over at 11-1.

Michigan State is in the same old scenario. They need someone to lose. They will not jump TCU or Oregon if either of those teams win out. Simple as that.

Meanwhile, let's talk non-playoff Big Ten stuff. The Big Ten East seems fairly easy to make out. I've got Michigan State and Ohio State both making New Year's Bowls, regardless of who wins. Maryland is improving its position following their win against Penn State; obviously Penn State is not. I do have Michigan making a bowl game after what I saw out of Northwestern on Saturday. Indiana is the sole team in the East I do not having making a bowl.

Oh, fun fact about Rutgers. On October 4th Rutgers had 5 wins. It's November 4th. Rutgers has 5 wins. Welcome to the Big Ten.

The West is problematic. The problem is that I had Nebraska squeaking out as a victor until Ameer Abdullah suffered a "mild" MCL sprain. And I know that it's not considered serious. But he's a running back and he has a knee injury. That's never a positive. Even if he is able to go against Wisconsin it's doubtful that he'll be 100%.

Iowa finishes @Illinois and gets Wisconsin and Nebraska at home.

Nebraska finishes up @ Wisconsin, gets Minnesota at home and then is @ Iowa.

Wisconsin finishes against Nebraska, @ Iowa and at home against Minnesota.

Assuming Iowa gets past Minnesota this weekend and wins in Champaign, they'll be 8-2 (5-1) heading into the final two weeks. Say that Nebraska loses to Wisconsin but beats Minnesota, they'll be 9-2 (5-2) with only Black Friday remaining. Say that Wisconsin beats Nebraska, loses to Iowa and beats Minnesota? They'll finish 9-3 (6-2). And if Nebraska beats Iowa? They'll finish 10-2 (6-2), leaving Iowa at 9-3 (6-2) as well. Three teams with a conference record of 6-2. This is my nightmare.

And I'm sorry Minnesota. I was on the hype train for a while there. But then you lost to Illinois and Iowa looked great on Saturday. Following Iowa you get Ohio State, @ Nebraska and @ Wisconsin. There's a possibility that you lose out.

Northwestern also slipped from the bowl projections as it's clear that there is no offense in Evanston. Well, I guess there's no defense either. OK so there's nothing in Evanston. Sorry Fitzy.

The Rules:

  • Four teams are chosen for the College Football Playoff.
  • Six bowls rotate for the semifinals: Rose, Sugar, Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Peach.
  • The bowls hosting the semifinals this year are the Rose and Sugar.
  • If the Big Ten Champion is eligible for a non-playoff bowl when the Rose and Sugar Bowls are hosting the semifinals, as they are this year, the Big Ten Champion will appear in the Fiesta, Peach or Cotton Bowl, but NOT the Orange Bowl.
  • The highest ranked champion from the Group of Five mid-majors (AAC, C-USA, MAC, MWC, Sun Belt) is guaranteed a spot in the non-playoff bowls if they fail to make the playoff.
  • The Big Ten Bowls are not necessarily in any order and should be broken into three tiers. First, the Citrus, Outback and Holiday are in the upper tier. The middle tier is Music City/TaxSlayer and San Francisco Bowl. The lower tier is whatever is left.

More rules/information appear below. Here's a look at the bowls themselves:

College Football Playoffs:

Bowl Location Date Opponents
Championship Arlington, TX 1/12/15 Semi Winner v. Semi Winner
Rose Pasadena, CA 1/1/15 No. 2 v. No. 3
Sugar New Orleans, LA 1/1/15 No. 1 v. No. 4

New Year's Bowls (Non-Playoff Bowls):

Bowl Location Date Opponents
Cotton Arlington, TX 1/1/15 At-Large
Fiesta Glendale, AZ 12/31/14 At-Large
Orange Miami, FL 12/31/14 ACC vs. Big Ten/Notre Dame
Peach Atlanta, GA 12/31/14 At-Large

Big Ten Bowls:

Bowl

Location

Opponent

Last 5

Rose Bowl or Playoff

Pasadena, CA or Playoff Site

Pac-12 or Playoff Team

MSU, UW, UW, UW, OSU

Citrus Bowl or Orange Bowl*

Orlando, FL or Miami, FL

SEC or ACC

UW, NU, NU, MSU, PSU

Outback Bowl

Tampa, FL

SEC

IA, UM, MSU, PSU, NW

Holiday Bowl

San Diego, CA

Pac-12

New

Music City or TaxSlayer Bowl**

Nashville, TN or Jacksonville, FL

SEC

NU, NW, OSU, UM, NU

San Francisco Bowl

San Francisco, CA

Pac-12

New

Pinstripe Bowl

New York City, NY

ACC

New

Quick Lane Bowl

Detroit, MI

ACC

New

Heart of Dallas or Armed Forces Bowl****

Fort Worth, TX or Dallas, TX

C-USA

PU, PSU, NW

* - The Big Ten, along with the SEC, will be eligible to face the ACC representative in the Orange Bowl at least three out of the eight seasons that it does not host a semifinal for the Playoff over a 12-year span. Notre Dame will be chosen the other two years if eligible. (It's from Wikipedia so it must be true). Also note that if the Big Ten is chosen for the Orange Bowl they give up their spot in the Citrus Bowl.

** - The Big Ten and ACC will switch between the Music City and Gator Bowl (now simply known as the TaxSlayer Bowl). In 2014 the Big Ten has the TaxSlayer Bowl.

*** - The San Francisco Bowl was the Fight Hunger Bowl and the Quick Lane Bowl is the new Detroit bowl game.

**** - The Big Ten and Big 12 will rotate these bowls in alternating years. In 2014 the Big Ten has the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Now for the projections.

Bowl Projections:

Bowl

Matchup

Why

Rose Bowl

Alabama v. Oregon

1/2 SEC v. Pac-12 Champion

Sugar Bowl

Florida State v. Mississippi State

Undefeated v. 1/2 SEC

Cotton Bowl

Ole Miss v. TCU

Ole Miss slips here, Texas school remains.

Fiesta Bowl

Michigan State v. Kansas State

#1 Big Ten v. #2 Big 12

Orange Bowl

Clemson v. Auburn

ACC runner-up v. 3/4 SEC

Peach Bowl

Ohio State v. Marshall

Marshall is the best of the G5

Citrus Bowl

Nebraska v. LSU

Big 10 runner up v. the next best SEC

Outback Bowl

Wisconsin v. Missouri

Did you know Missouri is 7-2?

Holiday Bowl

Iowa v. Arizona

I changed my mind on Goldy, Iowa back

TaxSlayer Bowl

Maryland v. Florida

Maryland bounced back

San Francisco Bowl

Minnesota v. Utah

Someone has to go West

Pinstripe Bowl

Penn State v. Pittsburgh

Don't stop believing this will happen.

Quick Lane Bowl

Rutgers v. NC State

Someone in the ACC has to make this bowl game...I think

Heart of Dallas Bowl

Michigan v. Rice

MMMM RICE

Queso Bowl Participants:

Rotel_queso_medium

via content.dollargeneral.com

  • No. 1 Seed in the Ro-Tel Queso Bowl: Indiana
  • No. 2 Seed in the Ro-Tel Queso Bowl: Purdue
  • No. 3 Seed in the Ro-Tel Queso Bowl: Illinois
  • No. 4 Seed in the Ro-Tel Queso Bowl: Northwestern

Why hello there Northwestern. So glad to see you again. I think your seed entirely depends on the HAT game. I'll take Northwestern...for now.