Things didn't go great for the Big Ten on Saturday. A conference with only two real shots at getting a team into the CFP saw both shots falter, one much earlier than expected. It wasn't just the top of the conference that faltered, as the five total losses on Saturday included:
- Purdue's annihilation on their home field at the hands of a Central Michigan team that struggled to put away Chattanooga (FCS) last week.
- Northwestern dropping their second straight home game, this time to Northern Illinois.
- Michigan getting bagel'd by Notre Dame in South Bend. Going in, I didn't think there was much that separated Michigan and Notre Dame, but goodness gracious that looked like
Nebraska playing McNeese State Iowa playing Ball StateAlabama playing Florida Atlantic.
- Nebraska failed to clear FCS McNeese State by more than 7 points.
- Maryland had to rally past a South Florida team that just barely hung on to FCS Western Carolina the week before.
- Iowa struggled mightily against fellow Indiana institution of higher learning Ball State before managing to score a go-ahead touchdown with about a minute to go.
- Illinois needed a 21 point 4th quarter to get by Western Kentucky.
B1G in the CFP?
Michigan State: Many, myself included, didn't give Sparty much of a shot to survive a tough test in Autzen Stadium. MSU is a very, very good team, and looked the part of an elite college team during the second quarter against the Ducks; but getting a win in that environment is a tall task, impossible for most. I don't see Sparty losing the rest of the way, or at least I wouldn't bet against them in any of their remaining games. But with non-conference matchups against Eastern Michigan and Wyoming before a full-slate of mediocre-to-bad Big Ten teams, a 12-1 record isn't going to look as good as it should.
Like I said, MSU's hopes rode exclusively on getting that win in Eugene and that's, truthfully, a damn shame. Pulverizing their remaining opponents isn't likely to move the needle enough and you can't help but wonder if MSU had punched up their non-conference a little bit, if that could have made the difference. Maybe 12-1 gets them in, but I wouldn't bet on it; not with a loaded Pac-12 / SEC / or even a plucky Notre Dame that could shoot up the rankings with plenty of high profile games.
Ohio State: Any faint chance of getting to the CFP faded as the Buckeyes were manhandled by Virginia Tech's aggressive defensive line and the Hokies came out of Ohio Stadium victorious. OSU didn't just look unworthy of the CFP, but I don't know if they even get a New Year's bowl at this point. Until VT proves they can shake off the inconsistency that has marred them for the past few years, I'm inclined to think this game told us a lot more about the Buckeyes than the Hokies.
B1G BOWL TEARS
Hahahaha get it? Because it's a homophone and college football is a very sad thing for all of us.
Tier 1 (New Year's Day Worthy): Michigan State
Tier 2: Ohio State, Wisconsin, Nebraska
Tier 3: Indiana, Michigan, Iowa
Tier 4: Minnesota, Maryland
Won't Have to Lose a Bowl Game: Penn State, Rutgers, Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue.
I've got Michigan State as the only team on New Year's, which now allows the B1G to fill all their bowl spots because Ohio State is down with everyone else now. I wanted to move Indiana up into tier 2, but that's simply too much credit given by virtue of not playing. So with the new tiers, we've got new bowl projections: