A week from today, the actual bowl lineup will be determined and revealed.
But for now, we offer our latest attempt at projecting how the postseason will shape up for the Big Ten. And things are definitely looking up for the league.
For the first time, we are projecting Ohio State into the BCS national title game after Alabama's loss to Auburn in the game of the century (any century, really). And that means we've got Michigan State in the Rose Bowl. Now, this doesn't mean we're officially predicting that the Buckeyes will beat the Spartans in Indianapolis on Saturday for the Big Ten title. We need a few more days to come up with our actual game picks, and Michigan State has a real shot. But for projection purposes, we'll go with the higher-rated team for now.
Wisconsin's stunning loss to Penn State moves the Badgers out of BCS contention and into the league's top non-BCS game, the Capital One Bowl. We think Iowa, with its late-season wins over Nebraska and Michigan, will be heading to the Outback Bowl. Then things really get interesting.
Will the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl go with Nebraska, despite the Cornhuskers' meltdown in the season finale? Or will that game roll the dice with Michigan? And will the Gator Bowl take whichever of those teams is left or go with Minnesota?
We think the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl would still like to reunite Nebraska with an old Big 12 foe. And when it comes down to it, the Gator won't be able to say no to the Michigan brand. So that leaves Minnesota back in Texas, a fate the Gophers could have avoided had they won at least one of their final two games.
Our final bowl projections of the regular season:
VIZIO BCS National Championship Game, Jan. 6: Ohio State
Rose Bowl Game Presented by VIZIO, Jan. 1: Michigan State
Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1: Wisconsin
Outback Bowl, Jan. 1: Iowa
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: not filled
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Dec. 26: not filled