There were some shake-ups in the Big Ten standings in Week 11, but our bowl projections remain the same.
The one that will probably jump out to you is Michigan in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl and Minnesota -- despite its 8-2 record and shiny new USA Today coaches' poll ranking -- slotted behind in the Texas Bowl. But as we've said, perception and fan bases still have more to do with bowl selection than anything. Michigan, even if it finishes only, say, 7-5, would still be a very attractive team for a bowl like the Gator. Remember that bowl took a 6-6 Ohio State team in 2011.
Of course, if the Wolverines don't improve and they lose out to go 6-6, all bets are off. Hardly any of their fans would want to go see them in the postseason, and Michigan could end up at the bottom of the projections -- maybe even in Detroit. And Minnesota can really help its own cause by beating Wisconsin and/or Michigan State in its final two games.
We still don't have the Badgers in a BCS game, but the win over BYU helped their cause. Wisconsin has an excellent chance of finishing 10-2 with an asterisk next to one of those losses. A team riding a seven-game winning streak would make bowls very interested. Ohio State is an Alabama or Florida State loss from getting into the BCS title game. And if Northwestern (versus Michigan) or Indiana (at Wisconsin) happens to win this week, we will project another Big Ten bowl team next Sunday.
The latest projections:
Rose Bowl Presented by VIZIO, Jan. 1: Ohio State
Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1: Wisconsin
Outback Bowl, Jan. 1: Michigan State
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 28: Nebraska
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, Jan. 1: Michigan
Texas Bowl, Dec. 27: Minnesota
Heart of Dallas Bowl, Jan. 1: Iowa
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Dec. 26: Not filled