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B1G Bowl Projections: ILLINOIS MAGICAL RUN? EDITION

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Indiana played it safe and didn't schedule a game for this week. Smart move.

Michael Hickey

Five more games this week, most of them unwatchable. #B1G

To the CARNAGE REPORT:

  • The Illini scored the biggest upset of the B1G weekend, taking out upstart, bowl-eligible Minnesota to spark what could prove to be a very magical run to the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Can they squeeze two wins out of @ OSU, v. Iowa, v. Penn State, @ N'western? The crazy thing is, if you counted two of their losses as wins, they'd already be bowl eligible!
  • Wisconsin treated Maryland like they often treat Indiana. Just try to love yourselves, Terps.
  • Rutgers was pummeled by Nebraska and remains precariously close to bowl eligibility, but with only one "winnable" game left on the schedule. Zander Diamont will have the opportunity to ruin some days out in Piscataway in two weeks.
  • Michigan did an incredible amount of pregame trash talking and gesticulating for a team that was 3-4 coming in and subsequently got walloped by in-state rival Michigan State.
  • Ohio State and Penn State played a tight game that went to overtime that included everything you look for in a quality B1G game: dubious officiating in favor of Ohio State, 34 total points through the end of regulation, and the teams averaged less than 5 yards per pass attempt.

B1G in CFP?

Michigan State: I have Michigan State in the CFP right now, and I'm anxious for the reveal of the committee's Top 25 coming up this week. Barring an unforeseen hiccup, the Spartans should finish the year 12-1 as B1G champions with a loss at Oregon as the only blemish. Many have Oregon back in the playoff picture, making that loss rather easy to swallow when you evaluate the Spartans.

Ohio State: A ton, and I do mean A TON, of stuff has to happen to get the Buckeyes in play, but they are on the periphery and playing their best ball right now. That lost to Virginia Tech has to be tearing them up inside, as the Hokies have since crumbled into nothingness, getting effectively shutout by Miami at home on Thursday night. Yikes. How that team won at Ohio Stadium remains the most inexplicable losses of the season, in my opinion.

B1G Bowl Tears

Tier 1: Michigan State* (CFP), Ohio State*

Tier 2: Nebraska*, Minnesota*, Wisconsin

Tier 3: Iowa, Penn State

Tier 4: Maryland, Rutgers

Won't Have to Lose a Bowl Game: Northwestern, Michigan, Indiana, Purdue, Illinois

Ohio State will be playing in a New Year's Day bowl, at least, even if they don't get the breaks necessary to essentially bust the CFP. Minnesota remains in Tier 2 despite the hiccup, but they really blew a great chance at finishing the season with 9 wins, which would be monumental for Kill and company. Wisconsin returns to Tier 2, and could finish the year with ten wins, but probably closer to 8. Penn State looked excellent from halftime on against OSU and nearly stole the victory, coming up short in overtime, they should win their next 4 fairly handedly. Rutgers hangs on by a thread, a loss to Indiana next week and it's hard to see them getting a sixth win despite starting 5-1. As I said a few weeks ago, I think the winner of their game against Maryland could be a de facto play-in game for a bowl, but both have decent shots at a sixth win before that game with the Terps playing at Michigan and Rutgers' game against Indiana.

MICHIGAN STATE: CFP Semi-Final against Florida State

OHIO STATE: Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame

NEBRASKA: Citrus Bowl against Auburn

MINNESOTA: Holiday Bowl against Arizona State

WISCONSIN: Outback Bowl against Mizzou

IOWA: Music City Bowl against Tennessee

PENN STATE: Pinstripe Bowl against Miami

MARYLAND: San Francisco Bowl against USC

RUTGERS: Zaxby's Bowl against UTEP