The Big Ten is likely to have 10 bowl-eligible teams

Submitted by jmblue on November 20th, 2011 at 11:55 AM

We've heard all year that the Big Ten is "down."  If you measure conferences based on the number of teams they have in the top 10, that might be true, but if you instead evaluate them based on how balanced they are, the league is actually doing quite well.  There are nine bowl-eligible teams in the league right now, which is already unprecedented in league history and Purdue needs only to beat hapless Indiana next week to make it ten. 

A big part of the reason why there are no Big Ten teams in the top 10 is that the league is cannibalizing itself.  Michigan, MSU, Wisconsin, Nebraska, PSU and Illinois went a combined 22-2 out of conference, but now all of them have at least two losses overall.  But I digress.   Here are the league's tie-ins:

#1 - Rose

#2 - Capital One

#3 - Outback

#4 - Gator

#5 - Insight

#6 - Meineke

#7 - Ticket City

#8 - Pizza

Now here are the bowl-eligible teams:

PSU - 9-2 (6-1)

MSU - 9-2 (6-1)

Wisconsin - 9-2 (5-2)

Michigan - 9-2 (5-2)

Nebraska - 8-3 (4-3)

Iowa - 7-4 (4-3)

OSU - 6-5  (3-4)

Northwestern - 6-5 (3-4)

Illinois - 6-5 (2-5)

Purdue* 5-6 (3-4) (*needs one more win)

If we assume Purdue beats IU to finish 6-6, who will go where?  Will one Big Ten team get shut out of the postseason, even if we put two teams in the BCS?  And how will teams be ranked when there are two divisions?




November 20th, 2011 at 12:40 PM ^

While the improvement has been undeniable, and the last two games gave been very impressive, the last two games have been against offenses with a lot of issues. Illinois is inept and Nebraska is limited in the passing game.
<br>The four most balanced teams we have played (MSU, Iowa, northwestern and ND,) have given us some problems. Granted we won two of them, but the latter two teams aren't nearly as good against stopping the run as Wisconsin would be.
<br>I love UM, but I don't think it is rational to say we would destroy the badgers. Just too balanced in my opinion.


November 20th, 2011 at 12:40 PM ^

If I'm not mistaken, a team doesn't have to win its conference to play in the MNC game. It all has to do with your resume and BCS ranking. And among the teams with one loss, ours to a top-10 team on the road wouldn't have looked too shabby.

In another universe where Kirk Ferentz is still Kirk Ferentz, I think we'd be ranked in the top 5, ready to take a spot in the top 2 if things fall right this weekend. C'est la vie.


November 20th, 2011 at 1:54 PM ^

Although I think you are right that it isn't a strict requirement that you have to win your conference to play in the mnc, it is generally considered part of the resume to have won your own conference. Before the calamity that was this weekend in college football all the analysts were saying that alabama should not be in the mnc for multiple reasons but a big one was the fact that they would not even have won their division. If I recall correctly this was an argument used against us in 2006. Also I think you overestimate the possibility that we would be 2 in the nation sans an Iowa loss. I think Arkansas would probably get the nod over us. The big ten is just too unpredictable this year for polls to let us jump teams with a similar record. Considering the big tens only marquee out of conference win was our gift wrapped victory over a solid nd team, the big ten is just too much of a crapshoot. The real loser in all of this is USC. They could be doing well for themselves if they didn't consider the rules more as guidelines. Ha makes me laugh that they miss out on college footballs mediocrity this year.


November 20th, 2011 at 12:01 PM ^

Is it Insight then Gator this year, or the other way around? That flips yearly.

Rose- PSU
Fiesta- Michigan
Capital One- Wisconsin
Outback- Nebraska
Gator- MSU
Insight- Iowa
Meinecke- OSU
Ticket City- Northwestern
Pizza- Illinois
Random unfilled bowl slot- Purdue



November 20th, 2011 at 12:01 PM ^

Theres no way any bowl would take a 6-6 MAC team over a 6-6 B1G team (because of the viewers and money involved), so I don't see how any of our teams would get shut out of a bowl.


November 20th, 2011 at 1:50 PM ^

That means they are gonna totally lay down for us.
<br>You realize the last 6 win OSU team that came to Ann Arbor beat Michigan when the Rose Bowl was in the line?
<br>Just because we have had a solid year doesn't mean we can take wins for granted against any big ten team. Especially Ohio.


November 20th, 2011 at 6:14 PM ^

Run, run, run, and it's like that until they hit 3rd and long where there's a 50% chance that they run it again. Their leading receiver has 12 catches on the year. Nebraska's offense is much scarier than OSU's.


November 20th, 2011 at 12:08 PM ^

I say Wisco beats PSU next week in Camp Randall, so they take the division. At a neutral site, they beat MSU by 10. Then they go to the Rose Bowl. MSU goes to Capital One. Out of Michigan and PSU, one goes to BCS at-large (probably Michigan for Denard and quality of travel), then the other goes to Outback. After that, it's down the line. Winner of Nebraska/Iowa to Gator, loser to Insight, OSU to Meinecke, Northwestern to Ticket City, and Purdue to Pizza. Illinois gets jumped for its losing streak and Purdue gets picked for its win over OSU.

Only thing in here that could be variable is OSU, who travels well, so they might jump ahead of the loser of the Iowa/Nebraska game and go to Insight. Unlikely for a 6-6 (3-5) team, but possible.


November 20th, 2011 at 12:35 PM ^

If I recall correctly 6-6 teams cannot be picked before 7-5 teams. Its an NCAA rule. I could be wrong though.


If I am correct the only way OSU can make the Meinecke bowl is if The Big Ten gets an at large in the BCS and Illinois and Northwestern both lose there last game.


If The BIg Ten does not get a 2nd team in the BCS and Illinois and Northwestern both win Ohio State would have 8 teams with better records and would not be going to a Big Ten bowl, and if there was enough 7-5 teams they could be left out altogether.


November 20th, 2011 at 12:45 PM ^

I don't think the NCAA has any rule about that.  The Big Ten does have a rule that a team can't be picked ahead of another team that is two wins ahead of them.  Being one win behind is okay.  A 6-6 team can be picked over a 7-5 team, but not over an 8-4 team.


November 20th, 2011 at 3:25 PM ^

So here's a thought on what OSU might do if they get beat by Michigan this Saturday:

Self-Impose a bowl ban on themselves for this year and tearfully forgo whatever crap bowl they might get invited to in the hopes they can dodge a bigger bullet from the NCAA by showing their "contriteness". That would be entirely consistent with their previous self-imposed penalty strategy.


November 20th, 2011 at 12:12 PM ^

... but the truth is we're all Bowl eligible is because we all play easy non-conference schedules and have 2 EXREMELY awful teams in our conference. Alabama, Miami, and Notre Dame are the only "decent' teams we played in non-conference and we collectively went 1-3 against them (ND split against us and MSU).

Not optimistic about the B1G bowl record this year.


November 20th, 2011 at 1:21 PM ^

... a few of these teams (namely Purdue, Illinois, OSU, and Northwestern) are getting in because they have a .500 record, not because they are solid deserving teams.If all the favorites win next week, this would be the bottom of the conference standings:

Northwestern 6-6 (3-5)
Minnesota 2-10 (1-7)

Purdue 6-6 (4-4)
Illinois 7-5 (3-5)
OSU 6-6 (3-5)
Indiana 1-11 (0-8)

Do you think ANY of these teams DESERVE to be in a bowl game?

Picktown GoBlue

November 20th, 2011 at 5:09 PM ^

any bowl game, is some kind of special privilege.  70/120 of the FCS teams go to bowl games.  You only have to be in the 43rd percentile or better to make the grade.  Yes, there are better bowl games and lesser ones.  But, considering the bowls did not have enough eligible teams to fill all the slots last year until the final week of the season, when .500 is all you need, says that, yes, crappy .500 teams in the B1G that travel well have done enough to earn a Ticket to a bowl.


November 20th, 2011 at 1:02 PM ^

I believe the reasoning is the Sugar Bowl -- as the bowl that lost the #1 team to the title game -- would have the first pick of the not automatically assigned teams. The sugar bowl has, in years past, selected the second SEC BCS team. Since both appear to be in the title game, they cannot pick an SEC team, and the ACC champ is auto assigned to the orange bowl. Therefore, what better way to sell tickets then select Michigan with their huge fan base? Would put far more butts in seats and TV viewers than Houston, Stanford, or the big east champ.

Edit : The Sugar Bowl would then have the next to last pick in the bowl selections. Stanford will no doubt get scooped up by the Fiesta Bowl to pair a Luck/Jones QB duel where Stanford's fans won't have to travel too far. The Sugar would then choose between either Houston (who someone is required to pick) or the Big East champ. If the champ is WVU, the Sugar would probably take them. If its anyone else (Cincinatti or Rutgers), they probably take Houston.


November 20th, 2011 at 12:18 PM ^ least in my opinion, that the Big Ten doesn't have teams which are elite on a national level (give Hoke time, right?), we're no slouch. We do  have four teams - Michigan included - with 9-2 records right now. It's a competitive conference, if nothing else, and I think it can only get better if we stay on this track.


November 20th, 2011 at 12:21 PM ^

It's pretty ironic since this isn't exactly a great year for the Big 10. 

In recent years, I remember many 6-5 teams that weren't invited to bowl games.  But today, there's so many bowl games (with awful names) that we just might get 10 teams in. 


November 20th, 2011 at 12:44 PM ^

Wisconsin to the Rose, Michigan State to the Capital One.  With a win over Ohio, Michigan goes to the BCS because the Big 12 just ate itself.  If we don't go to the BCS, we'll go to the Cap One, and MSU to the Outback.  The Outback would rather have anyone but PSU, especially because PSU went there last year, so they take the Iowa-Nebraska winner.  PSU to the Gator, Nebraska-Iowa loser to the Illinois, at 7-5, goes to the Meinecke, leaving Ohio, NW, and Purdue all at 6-6.  The Ticketcity Bowl gets Ohio (sparing them the indignity of an Ohio vs. Ohio (NTO) matchup in Detroit), and the Pizza Pizza bowl takes Northwestern over Purdue because NW has a name player in Persa, and Purdue is Purdue.  Having exhausted all of the B1G bowl tie-ins, Purdue will end up replacing a Pac-12 team in one of their tie-ins, since the Pac-12 will have two BCS teams and can't send USC to a bowl.  So I think Purdue goes to the New Mexico Bowl.