‘Rivalry Week’ Bowl Projections: Big Ten

By Brandon Sudge -

The Big Ten Conference is one of the deepest conferences in football this season, unlike in previous years. With potentially ten teams becoming bowl eligible, only the SEC can rival that total.

The conference also has four teams, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State, either in contention for a College Football Playoff spot or a New Year’s Six bowl game. Let’s take a look at where these bowl eligible teams may be headed entering rivalry week.

Illinois Fighting Illini (5-6)

*Illinois is playing for bowl eligibility this weekend against Northwestern.

ESPN (Mark Schlabach): Not projected

CBS (Jerry Palm): Not projected

Fox Sports (Stewart Mandel): Not projected

Indiana Hoosiers (5-6)

*Indiana is playing for bowl eligibility this weekend against Purdue.

ESPN (Mark Schlabach): Foster Farms Bowl vs. Washington State

CBS (Jerry Palm): Foster Farms Bowl vs. Washington State

Fox Sports (Stewart Mandel): Foster Farms Bowl vs. USC

Iowa Hawkeyes (11-0)

ESPN (Mark Schlabach): Rose Bowl vs. Stanford

CBS (Jerry Palm): Rose Bowl vs. Stanford

Fox Sports (Stewart Mandel): Rose Bowl vs. Stanford

Michigan Wolverines (9-2)

ESPN (Mark Schlabach): Fiesta Bowl vs. Notre Dame

CBS (Jerry Palm): Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl vs. Georgia

Fox Sports (Stewart Mandel): Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl vs. Temple

Michigan State Spartans (10-1)

ESPN (Mark Schlabach): College Football Playoff at Cotton Bowl vs. Alabama

CBS (Jerry Palm): College Football Playoff at Cotton Bowl vs. Alabama

Fox Sports (Stewart Mandel): College Football Playoff at Cotton Bowl vs. Alabama

Minnesota Golden Gophers (5-6)

*Minnesota is playing for bowl eligibility this weekend against Wisconsin.

ESPN (Mark Schlabach): New Era Pinstripe Bowl vs. Pittsburgh

CBS (Jerry Palm): not projected

Fox Sports (Stewart Mandel): not projected

Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-6)

*Nebraska is playing for bowl eligibility this Friday against Iowa.

ESPN (Mark Schlabach): not projected

CBS (Jerry Palm): Armed Forces Bowl vs. Air Force

Fox Sports (Stewart Mandel): Quick Lane Bowl vs. Central Michigan

Northwestern Wildcats (9-2)

ESPN (Mark Schlabach): TaxSlayer.com Bowl vs. Georgia

CBS (Jerry Palm): Music City Bowl vs. Ole Miss

Fox Sports (Stewart Mandel): Music City Bowl vs. Georgia

Ohio State Buckeyes (10-1)

ESPN (Mark Schlabach): Citrus Bowl vs. Ole Miss

CBS (Jerry Palm): Fiesta Bowl vs. Houston

Fox Sports (Stewart Mandel): Citrus Bowl vs. Mississippi State

Penn State Nittany Lions (7-4)

ESPN (Mark Schlabach): TaxSlayer.com Bowl vs. Georgia

CBS (Jerry Palm): Music City Bowl vs. Ole Miss

Fox Sports (Stewart Mandel): Music City Bowl vs. Georgia

Wisconsin Badgers (8-3)

ESPN (Mark Schlabach): Holiday Bowl vs. UCLA

CBS (Jerry Palm): Holiday Bowl vs. Utah

Fox Sports (Stewart Mandel): Holiday Bowl vs. Utah

As we can see, many Big Ten teams are projected to go to fairly significant bowl games. These are subject to drastic change as rivalry week approaches and the playoff contenders could either rise or be knocked down. It could also be possible that we see more than one Big Ten team in the College Football Playoff, although unlikely. We will have to see how things shake out, as which teams punch their ticket to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship will be very important.

The conference could possibly send a couple of teams to bowl games from the following group: Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Nebraska, even if those teams were to lose. Rutgers, currently as 4-7, would need to win in order to be considered. This is due to the NCAA’s issue with not having enough six-win teams to fill the slots. Therefore, there could be a situation where seven-loss teams are included.

2015-16 Bowl Schedule

  1. Noney
    November 27, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    When they start talking about including teams with losing records that just means one thing: There are just too many bowls games.

  2. DarthPancake
    November 28, 2015 at 9:13 am

    The Big Ten should replace the Foster Farms Bowl. It is too far away and expensive to travel to for a bad team.

    • Vegas Saxon
      November 28, 2015 at 1:43 pm

      Living in the SF Bay area, I’ve enjoyed having a bowl game to bring my young son to every year. As a Big 10 alum, I was delighted to see the Big 10 affiliate with the bowl, though it would be a bad year for my Badgers if they slipped this far. Problem for the Big 10 is that they’ll be putting their 8th or ninth best team against the Pac-12 #4, setting themselves up for a blowout (see last year’s Stanford/Maryland) and this year (Indiana v USC?).

    • Timber
      November 28, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      I’m a lot more likely to travel to the Bay Area in December than Yankee Stadium

  3. Rick Londrie
    November 29, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    It amazes me to see the 11-0 Hawkeyes getting no props and being offered up for only the Rose Bowl instead of the Championship game. While I am biased (born and raised in Keokuk, Iowa), I do believe they have a good chance of winning the Big 10.

    • Zack
      December 3, 2015 at 3:22 pm

      It’s just a prediction and a lot of experts are picking MSU over Iowa but it doesn’t mean Iowa cant win. I think if Iowa loses to MSU, then Ohio State would be in the Rose Bowl because I think Iowa would end up ranked behind them,

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