In a perfect world, OTE is about more than settling scores and petty fights over silly proclamations like some idiot wondering “how high can Purdue climb?” in his weekly bowl projections.
I don’t think we’ve achieved that perfect world yet.
So an extra-special shoutout, today, to all the Maryland fans who, for the last couple weeks, stopped by in the bowl projections comments to wonder why I hadn’t included their precious team in my Definitely Serious Bowl Projections.
That’s why. Because you got the free spaces of Rutgers and Illinois, then rowed a bad Minnesota team. This is hardly different from my reminder to Iowa fans that their three conference wins were over y’all, Indiana, and Minnesota. When in doubt, remember that in the Big Ten you are likely not special.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a definitely-not-at-all-farcical trip to Indianapolis to pack for.
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.
- And again, a word on the formatting: I dunno. Sorry.
Notes on Teams to Look For:
- The USC Trojans, as I mentioned above, could legitimately miss a bowl game if they lose to UCLA—that would bump Cal up to the regular slate of Pac-12 bowl games.
- The Miami-Ohio Redhawks, with their upset of Ohio in the Battle of/with/for/on the Bricks, are sitting at 4-6 (4-2). They host surging NIU this Wednesday in a should-watch, then finish with moribund Ball State. Could Chuck Martin pull off the surprise again?
- The Southern Miss Golden Eagles will likely miss a bowl at 5-6 (4-4), having lost a home game with Appalachian State to hurricane-related fuckery, unless they can beat LaTech on the road and handle woeful UTEP at home. Too bad—the Eagles got a narrow win over Marshall and gave UAB all they could handle.
- At 5-5, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, in their first year as a bowl-eligible FBS team, will likely lose to Georgia Southern but host 2-8 South Alabama for a shot at a bowl. They should win that...but I don’t know if they have the cache to nab a bowl berth.
- Less exciting are the 5-5 Louisiana Ragin Cajuns, who should also be able to go on the road and handle South Alabama. Failing that, they’ll need to beat division leaders ULM at home to qualify for a bowl—but I’d keep the Warhawks in the New Orleans Bowl.
- While the Wyoming Cowboys, at 4-6, have Air Force at home before a trip to woeful New Mexico, I just don’t know. The Falcons, too, are 4-6 with their final game against 3-7 Colorado State in the Ram-Falcon showdown (throw out the records, etc). So who knows if the Mountain West will find itself with a couple at-large teams?
As always: 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.
I’ll try to have more coherent thoughts on Northwestern later this week. What the actual hell, guys.