"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
With play concluded and nothing to do except wait for the BCS tomorrow, here's your Big Ten Bowl Outlook, with two weeks to play.
First, the standings (ordered by projected conference finish)
TEAM, W-L / ConfW-L; Games remaining, Proj Record
Wisconsin, 9-1 / 5-1; @Mich, NW, 11-1 / 7-1 (Higher BCS than Mich St , OSU)
Ohio St, 9-1 / 5-1; @Iowa, MICH, 11-1 / 7-1
Mich St, 9-1 / 5-1; PUR, @ Penn St, 11-1 / 7-1
Iowa, 7-3 / 4-2; OSU, @Minn, 8-4 / 5-3
Penn St, 6-4, 3-3; IND, MICHST, 7-5 / 4-4
Illinois, 5-5 / 3-4; NW, @ Fresno St (?!?!), 6-6 / 4-4
Michigan, 7-3 / 3-3; WISC, @ OSU, 7-5 / 3-5
Northwestern, 7-3 / 3-3; @Ill, @Wis, 7-5 / 3-5
Purdue, 4-6 / 2-4; @MichSt, IND, 5-7, 3-5
Minnesota, 2-9 / 1-6; Bye, IOWA, 2-10 / 1-7
Indiana, 4-6 / 0-6; PENNST, @ Purdue, 4-8 / 0-8
So first we eliminate the non-bowl eligible (Purdue, Minnesota, Indiana), leaving us with 8 bowl eligible teams. I'm now going to rank them by overall record instead of conference record:
1) Wisconsin (highest BCS), 11-1
2) Ohio St (2nd highest BCS), 11-1
3) Michigan St, 11-1
4) Iowa, 8-4
5-t) Penn St 7-5
8) Illinois 6-6
Now it looks like the Big Ten is going to get two BCS teams if the form holds as expected, those should be Wisconsin (Rose Bowl) and Ohio St (at-large). The Big Ten affiliated non-BCS bowls are:
Capital One Bowl (Orlando, 1 Jan)
Outback Bowl (Tampa, 1 Jan)
Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, 1 Jan)
Insight Bowl (Tempe, 28 Dec)
Texas Bowl (Houston, 29 Dec)
TicketCity Bowl (Dallas, 1 Jan)
Little Cesars Pizza Bowl (Detroit, 26 Dec)
The non-BCS bowls go in order of selection, with the only requirement being you can't choose a team more than 2-losses different than the team you're "supposed" to choose in that slot (i.e. the Capital One Bowl with the #2 Big Ten selection can't choose a team with more than 2 losses more than Michigan St, the highest Big ten team not in the BCS). With that being said, here's my bowl projections:
Capital One Bowl (Orlando, 1 Jan): Mich St v. SEC #2 (right now LSU or SEC champ game runner-up)
Outback Bowl (Tampa, 1 Jan): Iowa v. SEC #3 (Fla / So Car / Alabama)
Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, 1 Jan): Between Mich & Penn St... I'm going to say Mich since they're a more attractive team at this point. Michigan v. SEC #6 (Ark/Ken/MissSt)
Insight Bowl (Tempe, 28 Dec): Penn St v. Big 12 #4 (Mizzou or Baylor)
Texas Bowl (Houston, 29 Dec): Northwestern v. Big 12 #6 (Tex A&M or Texas)
TicketCity Bowl (Dallas, 1 Jan): Illinois v. Conf USA #1 (UCF)
Little Cesars Pizza Bowl (Detroit, 26 Dec): Big Ten will vacate this slot since with two Big Ten BCS teams, we won't have enough to fill this
- I really think Michigan is a lock over any other 7-5 team in the Big Ten, and MAYBE, just maybe we're more attractive than a 8-4 Iowa to a bowl committee, meaning we're looking at a range of Outback through Texas Bowl. Unless we upset both Wisconsin and Ohio St, and Michigan St drops one game the last two weeks, we're probably out of the Capital One Bowl. Even with two upsets, we're probably still looking at best at the Outback Bowl in a pick em vs. Iowa since Mich St would get a Rose Bowl and Wisconsin would get a BCS at-large. Realistically, I'd say pack our bags for Jacksonville
- Northwestern with Persa out for the year isn't a real attractive team anymore. Illinois could jump them in picking if Illinois can manage to win one out of two against a Persa-less NW or Fresno St.
- I don't think there's going to be a big consternation over the bowl selections this year. If the chalk holds as I predict, everything should shake out realtively according to plan with the possible Michigan / Penn St swap for the Gator / Insight Bowl
- A 6-6 Illinois team could still get a New Years Day game. wow.
If somehow the Big Ten only gets one BCS team, the only change I tihnk would be is everybody moves down one slot....
except I don't know how but I have this feeling that Jerry Jones would LOVE to have Michigan in his Dallas bowl game on 1 Jan, especially with alumni coming back in two years for the '12 game vs Alabama. can he personally vouch for 10,000 Northwestern tickets at the Insight Bowl?:)
- EDIT:: The Dallas bowl game (TicketCity Bowl) is not the Jerryworld Spectacular, but a bowl game being staged at the ACTUAL Cotton Bowl. So yeah, no Jerry Jones conspiracy theories...