|Michigan QB john O'Korn. Image via mLive.com.|
Week 13 is win or bust for the three remaining Big Ten teams needing one more win to make it to bowl this season. Indiana, Maryland, and Northwestern all lost on Saturday, meaning this coming Saturday could be a darker day for those teams than Black Friday will ever be in 2016.
Here's the rundown of where things stand in the B1G regarding its seven bowl eligible teams, and the three still so-close-but-so-far-away at five wins. Bowl projections are via SB*Nation's Jason Kirk.
Bowl Eligible Teams
Projected Bowl: 2016 Fiesta Bowl vs. Clemson (College Football Playoff. Dec. 31, Glendale, Az.)
Ohio State (10-1)
Projected Bowl: 2017 Rose Bowl Game vs. USC. (New Year's Six Bowl. Jan 2, 2017. Pasadena, Ca.)
Penn State (9-2)
Projected Bowl: 2016 Orange Bowl vs. Louisville (New Year's Six Bowl. Dec. 30, Miami, Fl.)
Projected Bowl: 2017 Cotton Bowl vs. Western Michigan (New Year's Six Bowl. Jan. 2, 2017. Arlington, Tx.)
Projected Bowl: 2017 Outback Bowl vs. Auburn (Jan. 2, 2017. Tampa, Fl.)
Projected Bowl: 2016 Holiday Bowl vs. Washington State (Dec. 27, San Diego, Ca.)
Projected Bowl: 2016 Music City Bowl vs. Arkansas (Dec. 30, Nashville, Tn.)
Even though Penn State will win the Big Ten if Michigan beats Ohio St., Kirk predicts the Buckeye's strength of schedule will jump over the Nittany Lions to make it to Pasadena.
Wisconsin has the edge over Nebraska when it comes to potential tiebreakers to determine the Big Ten West division winner. That in theory gives the Badgers the advantage over the Cornhuskers when it comes to which team goes both the Big Ten Championship Game and a NY6 bowl, and which team goes to the bowl in Tampa named after a restaurant chain.
It's Now or Never (Five wins, one needed to be bowl eligible)
Week 13: va. Purdue (Nov. 26)
Week 13: vs. Rutgers (Nov. 26)
Week 13: vs. Illinois (Nov. 26)
There's really no excuse for any of three teams not to win their final games of the 2016 season. Purdue and Illinois have (3-8) records, and Rutgers is a little worse at 2-9.
The team that could be the most at jeopardy of losing may be Northwestern, as two of Illinois' three wins came over Big Ten opponents (Rutgers and Michigan State).
On the other hand, if all three 5-6 teams lose their games this coming Saturday, Northwestern has the highest Academic Progress Rate (APR) score of all Big Ten schools, and is third in the nation behind Dartmouth and Duke. If there aren't enough six-win schools to qualify for bowl invitations, Northwestern might be able to sneak into a bowl with the APR waiver.