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Big Ten Bowl Projections: OSU missed the Playoff, settles for the Rose Bowl. Now what?

Now that Ohio State’s won the Big Ten but been left out of the College Football Playoff, how do the rest of the conference’s bowl games shake out?

SDCCU Holiday Bowl - Michigan State v Washington State
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

It’s common knowledge, by now, that 12-1 Big Ten Championship Game winner Ohio State, they of a neutral site win over TCU and a pasting of Michigan, along with a game against Penn State in which I’m sure nothing unreasonable or weird happened, was left out of the College Football Playoff by The Committee, an entity that I liken to the Shadow Proclamation in that they don’t actually seem that effective or good at their jobs but everyone revers them as some clarion of truth in the college football world.

In fact, it was the 12-1 Big XII Championship Game winners, the Oklahoma Sooners, who will enjoy the privilege of having Alabama blow their doors off in one of the playoff’s semifinals. I have heard literally nothing about the ACC Championship, but I’m going to assume Clemson won big and we all moved on with our lives.

Perhaps as obnoxiously, though, The Committee ranked Ohio State sixth, obviously behind Oklahoma but also behind the 11-2 Georgia Bulldogs, losers of the SEC Championship Game. I’ve not heard a convincing argument for why that is, but in the long run it really doesn’t change much.

And so your final rankings before bowl season have the following Big Ten teams:
22. Northwestern Wildcats
12. Penn State Nittany Lions
7. Michigan Wolverines
6. Ohio State Buckeyes

Here’s what that means for bowl games. You can (and should!) check out the SBNation calendar of bowl games for full coverage—I may have more later this week, but currently I am sitting at the Hinsdale Oasis drinking Starbucks and trying to plan out the next few days of my life while my phone charges. So you can get wrecked.

Big Ten Bowls:

#6 Ohio State Buckeyes

Bowl: Rose Bowl
Opponent: #9 Washington Huskies (Pac-12 Champions, def. Utah)

You’re going to the Rose Bowl. Congratulations. No doubt people will argue in the comments about expectations versus results and whether 2018 was a success for Ohio State, and perhaps we’ll get some really spicy takes complaining that the reason Ohio State didn’t go anywhere is because they had to play Northwestern, and winning just isn’t fun anymore unless you can beat wisconsin and go to the playoff.

Congrats on being the Coach Reilly of the Big Ten. Enjoy the Rose Bowl, a game about which my wife—unsolicited and unrequested by me!—told me “if the ‘Cats win, we’re going.” She has not been to a Northwestern game in three years. So you denied me—and her!—a Rose Bowl that would have meant something.

You dicks.

#7 Michigan Wolverines

Bowl: Peach Bowl (Dec. 29, 11am, ESPN)
Opponent: #10 Florida Gators

Ugh. Freep broke the news literally 4 minutes after I published. Bowl day is stressful.

#12 Penn State Nittany Lions

Bowl: Citrus Bowl (Jan. 1, 12pm)
Opponent: #14 Kentucky Wildcats

If you consider this beneath you or not a titillating matchup, Penn State fans, Northwestern is very, very happy to take it off your hands for you.

Update: Welp, looks official:

#22 Northwestern Wildcats

Bowl: Holiday Bowl (Dec. 31, 6pm)
Opponent: #17 Utah Utes

There’s been a lot of steam that the Holiday Bowl may pass up the conference runner-up and opt for the unranked—but infinitely more exciting!—Oregon Ducks.

Don’t do it, Holiday Bowl.

This was the Rose Bowl we could’ve had, if Northwestern and Utah both had pulled the upset. This is the game we wanted. Will it be two bad teams bludgeoning each other with rocks until the High Commissioner of Football steps in and declares an end to it? Yes. Will there be at least 15 punts? Yes.

It is what the people want.

You have The People’s Rose Bowl. Make it happen.

Update, 2:24pm: Teddy G is saying It’s Happening:

Iowa Hawkeyes

Projection: Outback Bowl (Jan. 1, 11am)
Projected Opponent: Auburn Tigers

If there is one thing you do not want, neutral observer of Big Ten football, it is for the Hawkeyes to “jump” Northwestern into the Holiday Bowl. You will get more of the same things you are sick of—Iowa fans with an inflated sense of their import and worth to the game of college football, crowing about Northwestern’s limited attendance and crap season and did you know Iowa won a game over a full calendar year ago by the score of 55-24 no really it’s true, that means something.

That means nothing in a contemporary context.

Michigan State Spartans

Projection: Redbox Bowl (Dec. 31, 2pm)
Projected Opponent: Oregon Ducks

All season I have been pumping the Outback as MSU’s logical resting place. Here is why, from an Actual Journalist whose words you will take 100% more seriously than mine, a fact which, while completely understandable, nonetheless still rankles me. I BEEN TELLING YOU THIS FOR MONTHS:

Update, 2:48pm: It looks like Iowa is nosing toward the Outback for the 6th time in 16 years, with Michigan State left holding the Santa Clara bag:

Wisconsin Badgers

Projection: Pinstripe Bowl
Projected Opponent: Miami-Florida Hurricanes? Maybe?


Purdue Boilermakers

Bowl: Music City Bowl (Dec. 28, 12:30pm, ESPN)
Opponent: Mississippi St. Bulldogs OR Auburn Tigers

Projection: Pinstripe Bowl (Dec. 27, 4:15pm)
Projected Opponent: #20 Syracuse Orange

I’ve gone back and forth on who would be the better team here, Purdue or Minnesota. With time, reflection, and this coin I just flipped, I have determined it would be more fun to watch Purdue in the Pinstripe Bowl. Give them a ranked and frisky Syracuse team for maximum fun.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Projection: Quick Lane Bowl (Dec. 26, 4:15pm)
Projected Opponent: Wake Forest Demon Deacons


That’s what I’ve got! We’ll try to update these as the day goes on. There’s the bummer out there, too, that four bowl-eligible teams will be officially left out, now that Virginia Tech got to bowl eligibility with a pasting of Marshall.

In the meantime, a few teams have already accepted bowl invitations. They are:

New Mexico Bowl (12/15, 1pm, ESPN): North Texas Mean Green vs. Utah State Aggies
Cure Bowl (12/15, 1:30pm, CBSSN): Tulane Green Wave vs. Louisiana Ragin Cajuns
Las Vegas Bowl (12/15, 2:30pm, ABC): #21 Fresno State Bulldogs vs. [Pac-12 TBD]
Camellia Bowl (12/15, 4:30pm, ESPN): Georgia Southern Eagles vs. [MAC TBD]
New Orleans Bowl (12/15, 8pm, ESPN): Appalachian St. Mountaineers vs. [C-USA TBD]
Bahamas Bowl (12/21, 11:30am, ESPN): FIU Panthers vs. Toledo Rockets
Dollar General Bowl (12/22, 6pm, ESPN): Troy Trojans vs. [MAC TBD]
Hawaii Bowl (12/22, 8:30pm, ESPN): Hawaii Warriors vs. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Arizona Bowl (12/28, 4:30pm, CBSSN): Arkansas State Red Wolves vs. [MWC TBD]

Post your hottest bowl tips and insider info in the comments.