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Big Ten Bowl Projections: The Hoosiers might be in trouble.

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After a road loss in which the offense failed to make good on a second half shutout from their defense, Indiana has seen their margin for error effectively reduced to zero. Sound familiar?

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana lost to Northwestern, more on that later. Let's check the rest of the league!

CARNAGE REPORT:

  • James Franklin's Penn State became the first team to beat Urban Meyer's Ohio State in a true road game and did it largely through the strength of special teams. If you missed this game because you were to busy celebrating the Cubes, as most of my friends did, you missed a great one.
  • Illinois started a true freshman quarterback on the road to Michigan and it went exactly how you would expect it to go.
  • Purdue headed out to Nebraska for the first game of the post-Darrell Hazell era, but at least this loss was less expensive.
  • Wisconsin beat Iowa 17-9. The Hawkeyes averaged 4.6 yards per pass and 3.1 yards per run. That's disturbingly Hoosier-esque.
  • Rutgers had Minnesota beat before surrendering a late field goal to lose 34-32. Give the Scarlet Knights some credit, they were down 21-3 in the first quarter and came all the way back to take the lead.
  • Maryland held Michigan State to 3 second half points en route to victory as the nightmare season continues in East Lansing.

B1G in the CFP?

THE FAVORITE(S): Ohio State, Michigan

THE DARK HORSE: Nebraska

I've left Ohio State in my top-4 and bounced Michigan out after feeling saucy enough to throw them both in there last week. Yes, OSU just lost but I'm still projecting them to beat Michigan at the end of the year based solely on the fact that the game is in Columbus. I could talk myself into undefeated Ohio State and one-loss Michigan making the playoff together, but putting two one-loss teams from the same conference seems like a stretch for the committee.

Assuming the winner of OSU / Michigan doesn't go on to blow it in the title game, the winner will be the Big Ten's playoff team. And right now, I'm still picking the Buckeyes. Nebraska can prove over the next two weeks they're deserving of serious consideration, with games against the Badgers and Buckeyes.

MY TOP FOUR: 1. Alabama 2. Washington 3. Ohio State 4. Clemson

Bowl Projections:

Ohio State: CFP Semifinal vs. Washington

Michigan: Rose Bowl vs. Utah

Wisconsin: Orange Bowl vs. Louisville

Nebraska: Outback Bowl vs. Auburn

Penn State: Holiday Bowl vs. Washington State

Maryland: Pinstripe Bowl vs. Miami

Minnesota: Music City Bowl vs. Georgia

Iowa: Foster Farms Bowl vs. Washington State

Indiana: Quick Lane Bowl vs. NC State

Northwestern: Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Western Kentucky

LOL nah: Michigan State, Illinois, Purdue, Rutger

I've finally dropped Indiana out of that second tier of bowls now that their ceiling is probably six wins. The dream of the 8-9 win year was completely undone the day Feeney and Camiel went down with injury and an offense predicated on being able to run the ball just couldn't do it anymore. Indiana has a chance at one more marquee win with Penn State at home, but at a minimum must defeat Maryland at home, Rutgers on the road, and retain the Old Oaken Bucket for the fourth straight year to become bowl eligible again. That's certainly not an impossible task, but dropping any one of those games would mean having to defeat Penn State or pull off the upset of the century in the Big House.