Big Ten Bowl Picture; UM to San Diego?

Submitted by SpikeFan2016 on November 19th, 2017 at 10:54 AM

The Bowl picture is becoming very clear cut in the Big Ten, so I wanted to look at who's in/who's out and most likely destinations. 

Going Bowling (8):

  • Wisconsin (11-0)
  • Ohio State (9-2)
  • Penn State (9-2)
  • Northwestern (8-3)
  • Michigan State (8-3)
  • Michigan (8-3)
  • Iowa (6-5)
  • Winner of Indiana @ Purdue (both teams enter 5-6). 

Probably Not Going Bowling (1):

  • Minnesota (5-6): After getting shutout by Northwestern 39-0 this weekend, not much hope for the Gophers to upset Top 5 Wisconsin next week. 

Not Going Bowling (5):

  • Loser of Indiana @ Purdue (both teams enter 5-6). 
  • Nebraska (4-7)
  • Rutgers (4-7)
  • Maryland (4-7)
  • Illinois (2-9)

Likely Destinations:

The Big Ten has 8 associated Bowl Games this year (cannot have both TaxSlayer and Music City in the same year, also not likely to get Orange this year); you can scroll to the following link to see: There is a general order to these bowls' prominence, but the Big Ten does have contract considerations (must have 5 different teams in each bowl in a 6 year span), so it's not a direct adherence.

With a projected 3 teams in the New Year's Six and only 8 bowl teams overall, the Big Ten will likely leave 3 spots unfilled. 

Of the four non-playoff NY6 bowls, three of them are at-large vs. at-large. The fourth is the Orange, which the Big Ten is not likely to be in because Michigan was last year (Orange must balance how often it picks from B1G/SEC). It will be ACC vs SEC/Notre Dame, most likely. 


  1. Playoffs

    • Winner of Wisconsin vs. Ohio State; it's not guaranteed if the Buckeyes are Big Ten champions (an 11-1 Bama with a close loss is very likely in over 11-2 OSU with two double digit losses), but if Wisconsin defeats Minnesota and OSU defeats Michigan, the winner in Indianapolis likely receives a playoff spot. 
  2. New Year's Six (Peach, Fiesta or Cotton Bowls)

    • Loser of Wisconsin vs. Ohio State; unless Ohio State loses in Ann Arbor and Indianapolis in back to back weeks, the loser of the B1G Championship is going to a NY6 at large bowl bid. If the Badgers beat Minnesota and lose to Ohio State, they are all but assured a NY6 at large bid with a 12-1 record. 
    • Penn State; if/when Penn State defeats a floundering Maryland team next weekend, they will receive a NY6 at large bid with a 10-2 record with two close road losses to ranked teams. 
  3. Citrus Bowl in Orlando vs. SEC

    • Northwestern; the Wildcats are likely to finish 9-3 on a 7 game winning streak with their last game of the season being against Illinois. In addition to a head to head win over MSU to give them the better bowl, Northwestern has already been to the Outback Bowl (the next on the list) in this contract period so the Big Ten won't send them again. If Michigan defeats Ohio State to also finish 9-3, Northwestern would also get this spot anyways given that Michigan has already been to the Citrus Bowl in this contract period (2015). 
  4. Outback Bowl in Tampa vs. SEC

    • Michigan State; the Spartans are also likely a lock for this bowl after likely winning next weekend to finish 9-3 (@Rutgers). Even if Michigan defeats OSU, MSU still should get this bowl over the Wolverines given their head to head win and the fact that Michigan has been to Florida for bowl games several years in a row (although, the Outback Bowl against South Carolina in 2012 was before the contract period started so they could send us again). 
  5. Holiday Bowl in San Diego vs. PAC 12

    • Michigan; whether UM wins The Game or not, they seem exceedingly likely to go to the Holiday Bowl. It's the next most prominent bowl after Citrus/Outback, and no teams can catch us from behind record-wise (Iowa will finish either 7-5 or 6-6, the Purdue/IU winner will be 6-6). If Michigan does beat Ohio State, I guess they could theoretically move into the Outback if the Big Ten decides they want to raise MSU to the Citrus and lower NW to the Holiday. But that would go against head to head results, as NW would be in a worse bowl than State. You can imagine the MSU fanbase would make their displeasure known to the conference if Michigan got the Outback over them and they were sent to the Holiday based on their head to head win. 
  6. The Messy Final Two Spots

    • There are four possible bowls for two teams here: TaxSlayer in Jacksonville, Music City in Nashville, Pinstripe in NYC and Foster Farms in Santa Clara, CA. However, there are numerous contract stipulations:

      • The Big Ten must play in one of TaxSlayer/Music City, but cannot play in both in the same year. 
      • Iowa cannot play in the Taxslayer Bowl (attended in the 2014 season). 
      • Indiana cannot play in the Pinstripe or Foster Farms Bowls (attended in the 2015 and 2016 seasons, respectively). 
    • If Indiana beats Purdue: 

      • Iowa heads to either the Foster Farms Bowl against the PAC 12 or the Pinstripe Bowl against the ACC. I imagine the conference would let the Hawkeyes take their preference. 
      • Indiana heads to either the Music City Bowl or the Taxslayer Bowl, both against the SEC. 
    • If Iowa beats Nebraska AND Purdue beats Indiana: 

      • Iowa heads to the Music City Bowl. 
      • Purdue heads to one of Pinstripe/Foster Farms. I imagine the conference would let the Boilermakers take their preference. 
    • If Iowa loses to Nebraska AND Purdue beats Indiana:

      • Purdue goes to either the Taxslayer or Music City bowl. 
      • Iowa goes to either the Foster Farms or Pinstripe bowl. 

Unfilled Bowls:

  • One of Pinstripe/Foster Farms Bowl
  • Quick Lane Bowl
  • Armed Forces Bowl





November 19th, 2017 at 11:07 AM ^

As an aside: I did want to point out that teams like Nebraska or Minnesota could potentially make a bowl at 5-7 due to APR ratings, but I avoided them from analysis for now as it's a random gamble on which teams would get those. 


November 19th, 2017 at 11:21 AM ^

As long as Peters has a chance to recover and play in this game, this should be entertaining. Likely play either Wash State or Stanford - depending on Wash State's game at Wash. 

Definitely not happy about 8-4 but at least playing a good team here should be enough motivation. Anything but that ugly loss to K State in a 1030 PM bowl - never again!


November 19th, 2017 at 11:46 AM ^

As disappointing as I perceive a non-Florida, non-NY6 bowl to be, I would like to play Stanford. I think we match up very well. Their defense has been uncharacteristically bad this year, especially against the run. That's game I could see us winning by a couple scores. Plus the story-linezzz or whatever.

Rockford Rams

November 19th, 2017 at 9:35 PM ^

But there is too much TV money involved not to take mediocre teams.  ESPN puts on 30 games over a two week span for a reason.  More inventory of games means more teams are needed otherwise who would play in the Quick Lane Bowl?

Coaches and ADs love bowl games as well for the extra practice and exposure.


November 19th, 2017 at 12:44 PM ^

It's going to be funny when we get a California team (Stanford) in their home state and we double their attendance at the bowl. Stanford can't fill their stadium that's half the size of ours for home games. I'm sure the Stanford die hards would rather get the Foster Farms bowl than the Holiday Bowl.


November 19th, 2017 at 3:51 PM ^

Is it possible that if Washington beats WSU, then they'll get in the New Years six and bump the third Big Ten team out?  SEC gets 3 teams, 2 each from ACC, Pac 12 and Big Ten, 1 from Big 12, ND and UCF.


November 19th, 2017 at 4:14 PM ^

I don't think Washington is a threat to the Big Ten teams with their Charmin schedule. If Alabama blows out Auburn, then maybe they could take their spot because Auburn would have 3 losses. Or Notre Dame could lose to Stanford.

Wisconsin and Penn State are locks if they beat Minnesota and Maryland.

Only way Big Ten doesn't get 3, in my opinion, is if Ohio State loses out to Michigan and Wisconsin. Maybe if the Buckeyes beat us and get blown out by Wisconsin, they could be left out too.


November 20th, 2017 at 5:10 PM ^

If a Big Ten team gets slated in the Orange or if say PSU drops down to the citrus, Northwestern could really drop in the Bowls.  If either of those happen Nortwestern would likely head to Foster Farms Bowl or Music City Bowl.  Outback would likely select Michigan State and the Holiday Bowl is not obligated to take Northwestern over Michigan and likely wouldnt ($$).

I do agree, win or lose this Weekend Michigan will likely head to San Diego and barring upset MSU to Tampa.    Northwestern's future is where I see several different possibilities.