Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Penn State is bowl eligible. When does the rest of the Big Ten join it?

Week six passed with only one Big Ten team, Penn State, qualifying for a college football bowl in 2017. Nine other schools with three or more wins still have a reasonable chance at making a bowl this season.

All bowl projections, unless otherwise noted, Is via Jerry Palm of CBS Sports.

Bowl eligible (Six or more wins)

Big Ten East

Penn State (6-0, 3-0 conference)

What's standing between Penn St. and the CFP? The three other  big programs in the B1G East division. The Nittany Lions have a bye in Week 7, then host Michigan on Oct. 21, followed by back-to-back road trips against Ohio State on Oct. 28, and Michigan State on Nov. 4.

Chances of Penn St. surviving this gauntlet unbeaten? Not good.

Projected Bowl:

2018 Sugar Bowl (CFP semifinal no. 1 vs. no. 4) (Jan, 1, 2018, New Orleans, La.)

Projected opponent: 


Big Ten West


Five wins (Magic number: 1)

Big Ten East

Ohio State (5-1, 3-0 conference) 

Earning a sixth win over the next three weeks is doable, but won't be easy during in October. The Buckeyes travel to Nebraska on Oct. 14, then has a bye in Week 8. What could be the biggest game of the year follows  on Oct. 28 , when Ohio St. hosts Penn St. That's followed by the Buckeyes traveling to Iowa on Nov. 4.

Projected bowl:

2018 Rose Bowl Game (CFP semifinal no. 2 vs no. 3) (Jan. 1, 2018, Pasadena, Ca.)

Projected opponent: 


Clemson vs. Ohio St. is the more probable matchup of Palm's most recent CFP semifinal projection.

Big Ten West 

Wisconsin (5-0, conference 2-0)

Wisconsin earning its sixth win of the season over the next three games should be a lock. The Badgers host Purdue on Nov. 14, then host surprising Maryland on Oct. 24. Wisconsin visits Illinois on Oct. 28.

Projected bowl:

2018 Peach Bowl (Jan 1, 2018, Atlanta, Ga.)

Projected opponent:

Oklahoma State

Four wins (Magic number: 2)

Big Ten East:

Michigan State (4-1, conference 2-0)

A resurgent Michigan St. scored a big win over hated in-state rival Michigan in Week 6. The Spartans' search for postseason eligibility continues in October as it travels to Minnesota on Oct. 14. Michigan St. returns home to hose Indiana on Oct. 21, followed by a road trip against Northwestern on Oct. 21. The Spartans host Penn State on Nov. 4.

Projected bowl:

2018 Citrus Bowl (Jan 1, 2018, Orlando, Fl.)

Projected opponent: 

Mississippi State.

To be honest, it's not a bad bowl matchup,

Michigan (4-1, conference 1-1)

Michigan suffered its first loss of the season to in-state rival Michigan St. in Week 6. The Wolverines will try to get back on track when it travels to Indiana on Oct. 14. The road trip continues on Oct. 21 with a chance to knock Penn St. out of the CFP. A home game vs. 1-4 Rutgers on Oct. 28 looks like the only chance for an "easy win." for the rest of the season.

Projected bowl:

2017 Holliday Bowl (Dec. 28, San Diego, Ca.)

Projected opponent:


The Holliday Bowl is probably not the bowl game that neither Michigan nor Stanford wanted.

Big Ten West

Iowa (4-2, conference 1-2)

Iowa has a bye in Week 7. The Hawkeyes visit Northwestern on Oct. 21, then host Minnesota on Oct. 28. Ohio State comes to Iowa City on Nov. 4.

Projected bowl:

2017 Quick Lane Bowl (Dec. 26, Detroit, Mi.)

Projected opponent:

Central Michigan

Iowa's 2016 Rose Bowl appearance seems distant memory now.

Three wins (Magic number: 3)

Big Ten East

Maryland (3-2, conference 0-2)

Despite Maryland's success in the first half of the season, bowl eligibility isn't guaranteed. There is a  winnable game on Oct. 14, when the Terrapins host 2-3 Northwestern on Oct. 14. A road meeting with Wisconsin on Oct. 21 has a somewhat possibility of success. Maryland returns home to host 3-2 Indiana on Oct.28.

Projected bowl:

2017 Pinstripe Bowl (Dec. 27, New York City, NY)

Projected opponent: 

Notre Dame

Facing Notre Dame in a bowl game isn't as exciting as it used to be.

Indiana (3-2, conference 0-2)

Indiana's road to bowl eligibility doesn't look good over the next two weeks Indiana hosts Michigan on Oct. 14, then goes on the road to face Michigan St. on Oct. 21. A more winnable game comes on the road against Maryland on Oct. 28.

Projected bowl: (Jason Kirk, SB*Nation)
2017 Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dec. 26, Dallas, Tx.)

Projected opponent:


I had to go to my backup Jason Kirk when Palm didn't project Indiana going to a bowl.

Big Ten West:

Nebraska (3-3, conference 2-1)

Nebraska is having another less-than-stellar season. Things don't get easier when the Cornhuskers host Ohio State on Oct. 14. Nebraska's bye week comes in Week 8, then it's back to the B1G West division to host Purdue on Oct. 28. November 4  brings Northwestern to Lincoln.

Projected bowl (Erick Smith, USA Today):

2017 TaxSlayer Bowl (Dec. 30, Jacksonville, Fl.)

Projected opponent:


Remember when Nebraska vs. Florida in a bowl game meant something? A bigger note: USA Today  was the fourth site I went to in looking for a bowl projection that included Nebraska.

Purdue (3-2, conference 1-1)

First-year Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm was named by ESPN's Mark Schlabach as his choice at midseason for Best First Year Coach. Despite that, It looks doubtful that Purdue will be bowl eligible following the three-game stint. The Boilermakers travel to B1G West division leader Wisconsin on Oct. 14, then its off to Rutgers on Oct. 21. Purdue returns home to face Nebraska.

Projected bowl:

2018 Outback Bowl (Jan. 1, 2018, Tampa, Fl.)

Projected opponent: 


I'm not sure if I'm more surprised with Palm's pick for Purdue making it to a Jan. 1 bowl, or for his pick of LSU going to the same bowl.

Minnesota (3-2, conference 0-2)

The hiring of PJ Fleck as Minnesota head coach made a lot of headlines during the offseason. The headlines being made now involve the Fleck-led Golden Gophers being 0-2 in conference play. It doesn't look like the boat will get righted enough to win two of Minnesota's next three games.

Minnesota hosts a resurgent Michigan State on Oct. 14. The home stand continues when Illinois comes to Minneapolis on Oct. 21. The Gophers go on the road to face Iowa on Oct. 28.

Projected bowl:

2017 Foster Farms Bowl (Dec. 27, Santa Clara, Ca.)

Projected opponent: 


No one should have expected Fleck to take Minnesota to a New Year's Six bowl in his first year, but the Foster Farms Bowl does seem to be a good start.

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