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Gone Bowling: The Big Ten

Already In

Ohio State
8-0 (4-0)

The Buckeyes quietly bested everything in their path on the way to an 8-0 start and a #1 ranking. Plenty of tongues have wagged on whether they deserve to be there or not, but with a remaining slate that reads at Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, and at Michigan, if this team runs the table they deserve a shot at the national title, where CBS has them picked to take on LSU

Michigan
6-2 (4-0)

The Wolverines were written off for dead after being on the wrong side of the biggest upset in college football history, and then following that up with a thorough dismantling by Oregon. They got their act together, though, winning six straight (ugly, though), and can extend that streak with a home game against Minnesota, a trip to Michigan State and Wisconsin, and the home finale against tOSU. A 9-3 finish is possible, though 8-4 is more likely, and CBS thinks they'll wind up in the Capital One Bowl against Kentucky.

Penn State
6-2 (3-2)

I had the Nittany Lions in my preseason top ten and had them pegged as the Big 10 champs. I'm an idiot. Anywho, they have the bad fortune of getting a visit from tOSU this weekend, but should finish strong against Purdue, at Temple, and at Michigan State. CBS thinks they'll make the Outback Bowl against South Carolina.

Purdue
6-2 (2-2)

The Boilermakers ran off a quick five wins (and a lot of points) before running into a brick wall against tOSU, but more baffling, they dropped one to Michigan, a team notoriously unable to defend against a spread offense. They got back to work, knocking off Iowa 31-6 to get to six wins, and with a remaining schedule that reads Northwestern, at Penn State, Michigan State, and at Indiana, they should have no trouble getting at least one more win to seal the deal. CBS has them playing Texas Tech in the Insight Bowl.

Wisconsin
6-2 (2-2)

The Badger had a lot of preseason hype, but after several far too close contests against teams that had no business hanging with them they finally stumbled at Illinois (Zooked!) and were then blown out by Penn State. A thorough beatdown of Northern Illinois got them to six, and Indiana, at tOSU, Michigan, and at Minnesota gives them plenty of opportunity to get the seventh (and probably eighth) win they need to insure a bowl berth. CBS thinks they'll land in the Champs Sports Bowl against Georgia Tech.


Getting In

Illinois
5-3 (3-2)

The Fighting Redacti got off to a decent start, dropping a close one to a good Mizzou team before reeling off five straight, including big wins over the likes of Penn State and Wisconsin. A head scratching loss to Iowa and another to Michigan derailed their season somewhat, and there's no guarantee that these guys won't Zook themselves and wind up at home. A surprisingly good Ball State, at Minnesota, at tOSU, and Northwestern round out the schedule, and Minnesota and NW both look like the two wins they need. CBS thinks they'll get them and wind up taking on Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl.

Indiana
5-3 (2-3)

The Hoosiers have had a great season so far considering the loss of HC Terry Hoeppner to cancer just before the start of the season. At Wisconsin, Ball State, at Northwestern, and Purdue round out the schedule, and these are all winable games for Indiana. CBS thinks they'll squeak into the International Bowl in place of their Big East selection against Miami (OH).

Michigan State
5-3 (1-3)

The Spartans are their usually frustrating selves, starting off strong but stumbling in grand fashion by the middle of the season. A surprising loss to Northwestern keeps them at five wins, but at Iowa, Michigan, at Purdue, and Penn State finish the schedule, and they've got a pretty good shot at knocking off at least Iowa, and maybe Purdue, to extend their season. CBS thinks they won't travel far, putting them in the Motor City Bowl against Central Michigan.


Hoping to Get In

Northwestern
5-3 (2-2)

An upset of Michigan State looks good for the Wildcats, but a loss to Duke looks exceptionally bad. With at Purdue, Iowa, Indiana, and at Illinois remaining, there's a more than good chance they'll be staying home, either finishing the season with four losses or getting one over on possibly Iowa but still not getting an invite. CBS agrees.


Staying Home

Iowa
3-5 (1-4)

The Hawkeyes got a good win over Illinois a few weeks ago, but when it comes down to it, they aren't that good. They've got four more chances to get to six wins, with Michigan State, at Northwestern, Minnesota and Western Michigan coming up. While that might look like the kind of slate a team desperate to get to the postseason and only needing three more wins would dream of, there are no guarantees for the Hawkeyes. I'll be shocked if they don't spend the bowl season in front of their TVs.

Minnesota
1-7 (0-4)

They lost to North Dakota State, a provisional 1AA team, by giving up over 500 yards of offense, and even if they did run the rest of the schedule (at Michigan, Illinois, at Iowa, and Wisconsin) they still wouldn't have enough wins to get eligible. They'll probably wind up 1-11.