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Big Ten Bowl Projections, Week 11

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Can the Big Ten get two teams into the CFP?

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

I'll be honest with y'all: I literally got a migraine typing this all up and trying to figure out bowl projections this morning. Hence their tardiness. Sorry about that one.

There's no making sense of the playoff picture right now, save for the fact that Alabama's gonna be at the top. There are just so many questions: Do two teams from one conference make it in? (I still don't think so.) How far will Washington fall? (Not very, in my mind.) Will OSU being on the outside looking in at the B1GCCG damn them to the Rose Bowl? (Probably.)

With that said, let's get to 'em:

Bowl Date Tie 1 Tie 2 Comments
Cure 17-Dec AAC Boston College** Sun Belt Appalachian State I feel bad sending the Mountaineers here, because they deserve much better. 5-7 Boston College bowls, somehow.
Camelia 17-Dec MAC 3 Miami Hydroxide Sun Belt South Alabama The Jags make it to 6-6 and play a hot, hot Miami Hydroxide.
New Orleans 17-Dec Sun Belt Arkansas State C-USA Louisiana Tech The Bulldogs make NOLA after a C-USA CCG loss. They face the Sun Belt runners-up.
New Mexico 17-Dec C-USA UTSA MWC New Mexico Does the best New Mexico team…maybe ever?...go any farther? I don't think Vegas is that eager for the Lobos.
Las Vegas 17-Dec MWC Air Force Pac12 6 Arizona State This will be high-scoring and fun.
Miami Beach 19-Dec AAC Central Florida MAC Central Michigan A Battle of the Centrals in Miami Beach. Why not?
Boca Raton 20-Dec AAC Houston C-USA Western Kentucky They find a good matchup after all for the Cougars, who get the C-USA champion 'Toppers.
Poinsettia 21-Dec BYU BYU MWC San Diego State After losing the MWC Championship game, the Aztecs stay close to home. BYU awaits.
Potato 22-Dec MAC 2 Ohio MWC Wyoming A loss in the MAC championship sends the Bobcats to the frozen blue turf.
Bahamas 23-Dec AAC Tulsa MAC Toledo I maintain that the Bahamas just requests whichever MAC and AAC teams score the most.
Armed Forces 23-Dec Big XII 7-8 Baylor AAC (Navy) Navy With Seth Russell out, Baylor limps to a 6-6 finish. Navy's locked in here.
Dollar General 23-Dec MAC Western Michigan Sun Belt Troy :(((((((((( row the boat
Hawaii 24-Dec MWC Hawaii C-USA Middle Tennessee State 4-7 Hawaii has games with Fresno and Umass to get to 6-7 and bowling, somehow.
Independence 26-Dec ACC Army* C-USA/SEC Southern Miss Army fills this slot when the ACC can't, and they get a middle-of-the-road Southern Miss filling in for the SEC.
Quick Lane 26-Dec ACC Eastern Michigan* B1G 8-9 Indiana Detroit's gonna have to do, as Indiana's not going back to NYC and the 4-5 (B1G) Gophers won't be making a return trip here. They face an excited and close-to-home EMU club filling in for the ACC.
St. Petersburg 26-Dec ACC/C-USA North Texas AAC South Florida A home matchup for the Bulls is too good to pass up. They get the 5-7 Mean Green.
Cactus 27-Dec Big XII 6 Kansas State Pac12 7 Mississippi State** A 5-7 SEC school makes a bowl on APR. I…I don't know what to say.
Heart of Dallas 27-Dec B1G 8-9 Northern Illinois** C-USA Old Dominion At 5-7, Northern Illinois is the last team to sneak in on APR. Old Dominion somehow finishes 9-3. Seriously.
Military 27-Dec ACC Wake Forest AAC Temple Temple falls to Navy in the AAC championship and gets stuck here.
Holiday 27-Dec B1G 2-4 Iowa Pac12 3 Utah Iowa turned their season around and guaranteed some sun. Kirk Ferentz announces after the game that he bought all of Tijuana.
Russell Athletic 28-Dec ACC 2 Virginia Tech Big XII 3 West Virginia AWWWWW YISSSSSSS GET THAT BLACK DIAMOND POLISHED UP
Pinstripe 28-Dec ACC 3-6 Georgia Tech B1G 5-7 Maryland The rollin' Ramblin' Wreck get a favorable matchup with a Maryland team that essentially has nowhere else to go.
Texas 28-Dec Big XII 4 Texas SEC 3-8 LSU A 6-5 LSU team invades Houston and its fans drink the town dry in comraderie with Longhorns happy to be bowling.
Foster Farms 28-Dec B1G 5-7 Northwestern Pac12 4 Stanford NERD FIIIIIIIGHT. But seriously, how about the Stanford turn-around?
Alamo 29-Dec Big XII 2 Oklahoma State Pac12 2 USC A loss in the Pac-12 title game sends the Trojans here.
Belk 29-Dec ACC 3-6 Miami SEC 3-8 South Carolina Wake gets bumped for Miami, and the 'Canes get a decent matchup.
Birmingham 29-Dec AAC Memphis SEC 9 Kentucky This feels like a worse matchup than it probably is, all things considered.
Sun 30-Dec ACC 3-6 Pitt Pac12 5 Colorado Sure, this can be a game that happens. Pitt's all excited and whatnot now, and Colorado will just be happy to go bowling.
Music City 30-Dec B1G 5-7 Minnesota SEC 3-8 Arkansas Man, how long has it been since the Gophers have been to the Glen Mason Memorial Bowl? We get a 2002 rematch!
Arizona 30-Dec MWC Texas Tech* Sun Belt Idaho Texas Tech makes it to 6-6 and bowls against a Vandals club which is in line to win 8 games.
Liberty 30-Dec Big XII 5 TCU SEC 3-8 Ole Miss A potentially fun game close enough to home for both sides.
Citrus 31-Dec ACC/B1G 2-4 Florida State SEC 2 Tennessee This is a sexy matchup for NYE: A decent Florida State team close to home, and a bunch of inbreds that travel well.
TaxSlayer 31-Dec ACC 3-6 North Carolina SEC 3-8 Florida A 7-5 Florida team on a 3-game losing streak gets a lovely consolation prize. The mess that is the ACC Coastal shakes out…somehow.
Outback 2-Jan B1G 2-4 Nebraska SEC 3-8 Georgia I'll take 8-4 UGA over a 7-5 Florida that's lost 3 straight. Huskers stay east thanks to a top-heavy Big Ten. Yes, it's a repeat of 2013-14. Don't @ me.

New Year's Six Bowls

Bowl Date Tie 1 Tie 2 Comments
Cotton 2-Jan At-Large Penn State At-Large Boise State You could probably flip-flop Penn State and Ohio State, if you really wanted to. Boise State's back in the MWC driver's seat, and a win over SDSU in the final puts them here. Sorry, WMU :(
Rose 2-Jan B1G 1 Ohio State Pac12 1 Washington State A loss in the Apple Cup still earns the Cougs a helluva matchup.
Sugar 2-Jan Big XII 1 Oklahoma SEC 1 Texas A&M Auburn's loss means we flip-flop back to the Aggies here. Oklahoma and Washington are in a horse race to the finish to get the #4 seed, and right now I have the Huskies making it.
Orange 30-Dec ACC 1 Louisville B1G/SEC/ND Wisconsin Louisville loses the tiebreaker to Clemson and gets the Orange as a reward.

College Football Playoff

Bowl Date Tie 1 Tie 2 Comments
Fiesta 31-Dec CFP2 Michigan CFP3 Clemson Michigan still wins the B1G. Clemson still has the tiebreaker on Louisville and takes the ACC.
Peach 31-Dec CFP1 Alabama CFP4 Washington The Huskies win out, exacting revenge on the Trojans along the way.

Observations:

  • That's four 5-7 teams bowling, in case you were counting: Boston College, North Texas, Mississippi State, and NIU.
  • The ACC and SEC are really stupid and cause a lot of headaches.
  • I know the Quick Lane is a disappointing placement for the Hoosiers, but I think it's there or the Heart of Dallas Bowl after the Pinstripe opts for Maryland. If you wanted to do some mental gymnastics you could send them west to the Foster Farms, send Northwestern to the Pinstripe, and slot the Terps in Detroit, but that makes substantially less sense to me.
  • I almost put USC over Wazzu in the Rose Bowl, but an excited 11-1 Cougs fanbase to the Rose? Hell yeah, man. You could make a case for an excited Penn State to join them, but I think Ohio State's CFP ranking keeps them afloat.
  • That said, you could just as easily opt for the badgers against Boise in the Cotton and bump Penn State up to the Orange if a loss in the CCG sends wisconsin tumbling.
  • How excited will a Gophers fanbase on a three-game losing streak be for the Music City Bowl? I mean, they have all those wonderful memories of the early aughts to fall back on, but will that be enough to drive attendance? If you don't want it, I graciously volunteer the 'Cats instead.
  • Seriously, I have no fucking clue. College football is a big, glorious mess, and I love every second of it.