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Big Ten Bowl Projections, Post-Week 8: Somehow, a worse College Football Playoff

You don’t want to see who’s in college football’s final four of bowl projections. Skip this article (assuming you’ve already clicked on it—these takes don’t warm themselves) and find something less maddening to do with your day.

Michigan v Michigan State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Back by no one’s demand except our fearless leader’s, here are your post-Week 8, 2018, OTE Big Ten Bowl Projections. As a general rule, I follow what Wikipedia tells me are the bowl selection orders by conference, try to keep up on who played whom last year or whatever, and snub other Big Ten teams at every turn.

A few notes:

  • Big Ten bowls tend not to go for repeat games, attempting to fill each slot with at least 5 different teams over 6 years.
  • If an ACC team is ranked higher than a B1G team, I think, they take the Citrus Bowl slot. Or something.
  • The Music City and TaxSlayer Gator bowls take one Big Ten team and one ACC team among them to face an SEC team. Since a B1G team went to the Music City Bowl last year, look for that to flip this year.
  • An asterisk denotes a team filling a slot outside its conference bowl affiliation. Two asterisks denotes a 5-7 team qualifying on APR. As there are 78 bowl slots, I figure there’ll be at least one team making that leap.

I’m so sorry:

Bowl Date Location Conf 1 Team 1 Conf 2 Team 2 Comments
Cotton 29-Dec Arlington, TX CFP 1 Alabama CFP 4 Michigan This is the darkest timeline.
Orange 29-Dec Miami, FL CFP 2 Clemson CFP 3 Notre Dame Go Clemson.
Sugar 1-Jan New Orleans, LA Big XII Texas SEC LSU Texas still back. LSU on the outside looking in unless they do something exciting against Bama, unless they edge 1-loss Michigan because "Bama did it, why can't LSU?"
Rose 1-Jan Pasadena, CA B1G Ohio State Pac-12 Washington Ohio State will be a much more appealing Rose Bowl candidate than whatever tomato can Michigan steamrolls in the Big Ten championship. Winner of the Apple Cup currently has this slot from the Pac-12. I trust Washington more.
Peach 29-Dec Atlanta, GA At-large Florida At-large Central Florida
The question becomes if the committee (1) gifts Georgia a home game, (2) wants a UGA-OU rematch, and (3) wants Florida-UCF. I answered them how I want them answered.
Fiesta 1-Jan Glendale, AZ At-large Georgia At-large Oklahoma
Citrus 1-Jan Orlando, FL SEC 2 Auburn B1G Iowa I put Iowa second in my Power Poll rankings this week, so I can walk my talk and put them third in the Big Ten's bowl pecking order. We'll say Auburn is the fourth-best team in the SEC -- I couldn't give a shit less than I do.
Outback 1-Jan Tampa, FL B1G Purdue SEC (I) Texas A&M SURE! GOOD FOR YOU, PURDUE. All the way from "no bowl," apparently (I don't know why) to the Outback Bowl! For a good Harboring, I'll allow it. Could face CLANGA here; I'd put Auburn as a less-likely opponent.
Gator 31-Dec Jacksonville, FL SEC (I) Mississippi State ACC or B1G wisconsin It gets a little fuzzy down the line for Big Ten bowls, because each bowl would like to have at least 5 different teams in 6 years. So the badgers are out for the Florida bowls...right? WRONG! There's one they haven't been to! From experience, I can tell you that CLANGA in Jacksonville at noon is a hoot.
Holiday 31-Dec San Diego, CA B1G Penn State Pac-12 3 Oregon No team in the Pac-12 South has fewer than 2 conference losses; Oregon gets a nod over Stanford, who we're not yet sure about (games vs Wazzu, UW back-to-back now). Crowded out of Florida, Penn State heads west.
Liberty 31-Dec Memphis, TN Big XII 5 Oklahoma State SEC (I) South Carolina No change here.
Military 31-Dec Annapolis, MD ACC (II) Boston College AAC South Florida South Florida held off [/checks notes] UConn? Oof. Boston College moves here. Try not to think too much about it.
Redbox San Francisco 31-Dec Santa Clara, CA B1G Northwestern Pac-12 4 Utah Pac-12 CCG loser Utah (now with tiebreaker on USC) tumbles here because, well, the Pac-12 North is four deep this year. But the San Francisco Bowl is not up on a Northwestern-Stanford matchup ahead of the same game in Palo Alto next August. NU might be 5-7 (come ON...they HAVE to beat MN and IL, right?), but that'd still be enough.
Sun 31-Dec El Paso, TX ACC (I) Virginia Tech Pac-12 5 Stanford Stanford was here two years ago; they come back anyways. If you wanted to adjust the Pac-12 3-4-5 games, drop Oregon to San Francisco, bump Stanford to the Holiday and Utah here.
Belk 29-Dec Charlotte, NC SEC (I) Kentucky ACC (I) North Carolina State I will never buy that Kentucky is actually good at football. They are the Belk of SEC teams. Turns out the 'Pack was a fraud; no one cares that they're here.
Alamo 28-Dec San Antonio, TX Big XII 2 West Virginia Pac-12 2 Washington State West Virginia is left out of the Big XII CCG, and their reward is a high-flying shootout with similarly-jilted Wazzu. Let's get weird.
Arizona 28-Dec Tucson, AZ MWC 5 San Diego State Sun Belt Arkansas State Arkansas State is on the right track. SDSU struggled with winless San Jose State, and the Arizona Bowl opts for new blood rather than a Utah State repeat.
Camping World 28-Dec Orlando, FL Big XII 3 Texas Tech ACC (I) Miami No change here.
Music City 28-Dec Nashville, TN SEC (I) Tennessee ACC or B1G Virginia Virginia gets what I consider a better slot for the ACC by beating Duke, which is now 1-2 in the ACC. Sigh.
Texas 27-Dec Houston, TX Big XII 4 TCU SEC (I) Mizzou Mizzou has the offense to run with anyone in the SEC, and they've got Vandy, Tenn., and Ark. on the schedule. They'll get a solid test from the Frogs' defense.
Pinstripe 27-Dec New York City, NY B1G Michigan State ACC (II) Syracuse Cuse survived UNC in 2OT, so they stay. Michigan State tumbles because right now you have to take Purdue to beat them, right?
Independence 27-Dec Shreveport, LA SEC (II) Vanderbilt** ACC (II) Duke Vanderbilt goes 5-7 and squeaks in on APR. SMART KID BOWL.
Cheez-It 26-Dec Tempe, AZ Big XII 6 Baylor Pac-12 7 Colorado Hey, an accidental Big XII redux! Sometimes the world works in mysterious ways, huh?
Quick Lane 26-Dec Detroit, MI B1G Indiana ACC (II) Ohio Indiana beats Maryland and Minnesota. They bowl. That's all I've got.
First Responder Bowl 26-Dec Dallas, TX B1G Air Force** C-USA North Texas Minnesota's out. Duh. UNT drops with their loss to UAB, but they'll still stay close to home, so that's nice. Air Force sneaks in at 5-7.
Hawaii 22-Dec Honolulu, HI MWC (I) Hawaii C-USA UAB Hawaii is fun again! UAB crawled back from the depths! That's enough.
Dollar General 22-Dec Mobile, AL MAC Buffalo Sun Belt Troy Jeez -- Buffalo might be legit. They can play one of the best in the Sun Belt for their troubles. This will be an excellent game, at least on paper.
Armed Forces 22-Dec Fort Worth, TX Big XII 7 Iowa State AAC Houston Keep Houston close-ish, give the AAC another P5 team it can take down. Assuming Iowa State can get past Incarnate Word, of course.
Birmingham 22-Dec Birmingham, AL SEC (II) Nevada** AAC Temple The Owls are gonna bowl (well, they need one more win, but.)... Believe it or not, Nevada would be the next team in with a 5-7 record, based on APR. They're tied for eighth with Washington, Illinois, and wisconsin at 986.
Potato 21-Dec Boise, ID MWC (I) Boise State MAC Western Michigan Western is bowl-eligible, and Boise won't win the Mountain West. BRONCO BATTLE on the Smurf Turf.
Bahamas 21-Dec Nassau, BH C-USA Florida Atlantic MAC Northern Illinois Is NIU good again? FAU looks mediocre again.
BAD BOY MOWERS Gasparilla 20-Dec Tampa, FL AAC Cincinnati C-USA Marshall Hey look, Cincy was a fraud. We'll see if they tumble farther than this, but for now, a good game against a tough Marshall team that just pounded FAU (31-7!) will suffice.
Frisco 19-Dec Frisco, TX AAC Army* At-large BYU* No change. Two independents without bowl contracts make for perfect stand-ins when the AAC can't fulfill its obligation.
Cheribundi Tart Cherry 18-Dec Boca Raton, FL AAC Toledo* C-USA Florida International Still gonna be a lot of points in this sucker. Butch Jones might actually be doing the damn thing in Miami. Could be a fun Indiana coach...
New Orleans 25-Dec New Orleans, LA Sun Belt Louisiana Monroe C-USA Louisiana Tech This matchup has never happened in the New Orleans Bowl, and that's a damn crime. The Warhawks sneak to 6-6; LaTech is competent.
Camellia 15-Dec Montgomery, AL Sun Belt Georgia Southern MAC Eastern Michigan I repeat: No modern Camellia Bowl has ever been decided by more than 5 points. That seems...implausible, but I can't wait to see how these two teams do it this year.
Las Vegas 15-Dec Las Vegas, NV Pac-12 6 USC MWC 1 Fresno State USC slips with the Pac-12 losing a NY6 slot, so why not give them something their fanbase might actually travel for -- a weekend getting fucked up in Vegas. Fresno could crash that party, though.
Cure 15-Dec Orlando, FL AAC Memphis Sun Belt Appalachian State The Mountaineers deserve something more fun than the Camellia or Dollar General bowls...they're 3-0 under Scott Satterfield, now give them a crack at one of the big boys. Take the over in this one.
New Mexico 15-Dec Albuquerque, NM MWC (I) Utah State C-USA Middle Tennessee USU falls here because Hawaii keeps its home bowl. MTSU will get to 6 wins; they're the last team left on my list.

Disagree? Noted a number of repeats (I’m sure there’s at least one; just look harder)? Formatting not working for you? Let me know in the comments so I can laugh at you and maybe try to fix things next week.

Fuck Notre Dame.


Which team does NOT make the College Football Playoff?

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  • 3%
    (11 votes)
  • 4%
    (13 votes)
  • 55%
    (164 votes)
  • 36%
    Notre Dame
    (108 votes)
296 votes total Vote Now