Indiana ran all over Maryland to stay on schedule for a second consecutive bowl appearance, how'd the rest of the conference do?
- Michigan went out to East Lansing and took care of business against rival Michigan State. The Spartans opened the game strong and only gave up five second-half points to the Wolverines, but a 20-point second quarter proved too much to overcome.
- Ohio State got everything they could handle at home against Northwestern as the Buckeyes midseason funk continues. Urban Meyer has a lot of kinks to work out if they hope to defeat a Michigan squad that has been rolling rather smoothly for pretty much the entire conference season.
- Nebraska went to Madison and got tagged with their first loss of the season in overtime against the Badgers, in all likelihood ending their bid for the College Football Playoff. But with a sputtering Ohio State in town next week, they could pull off a big upset and reenter the conversation. If they can avoid a second loss and win the Big Ten Championship game, hard to see them being held out.
- Penn State scored 45 points IN THE SECOND HALF against Purdue and turned a tight game at half into a laugher. Turns out the coach might not be the only problem in West Lafayette.
- Minnesota apparently leveled Illinois on Saturday. I haven't seen a highlight from this game or any real evidence of its existence but it gave the Gophers bowl eligibility so good for them.
B1G in the CFP
THE FAVORITE(S): Ohio State, Michigan
THE DARK HORSE: Nebraska
All OSU and Michigan have to do is win out and they're in the playoff. We've been over this pretty much every week. For as much fanfare as the Penn State game got, it didn't really alter the path for the Buckeyes. Michigan will be in the playoff bracket released this week because they're undefeated, but I still don't think they'll beat Ohio State in Columbus, and for the millionth time it's a shame these two share a division and a bigger shame that they share it with Indiana.
Nebraska took the loss, but a win over OSU would put them on track to get to the Big Ten Championship with one loss and should they upset Michigan when they get there, then they're in. Hard to envision them beating either of the East's top two teams, though.
MY TOP FOUR: 1. Alabama 2. Washington 3. Ohio State 4. Clemson
No changes here.
Bowl Projections (bowl-eligible teams marked with an *)
Ohio State*: CFP Semifinal vs. Washington
Michigan*: Rose Bowl vs. Utah
Wisconsin*: Orange Bowl vs. Louisville
Nebraska*: Outback Bowl vs. Florida
Penn State*: Holiday Bowl vs. Washington State
Iowa: Pinstripe Bowl vs. Miami
Indiana: Music City Bowl vs. Kentucky (please please please please please)
Minnesota*: Foster Farms Bowl vs. USC
Maryland: Quick Lane Bowl vs. Georgia Tech
Northwestern: Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Western Kentucky
LOL nah: Michigan State, Illinois, Purdue, Rutger
I'm moving Indiana back into the Music City Bowl, essentially exchanging places with Maryland in the pecking order. Obviously Indiana can't return to the Pinstripe Bowl and they remain an attractive pick for a Nashville-based bowl, who needs to take three B1G teams over a six year agreement, and has taken ACC teams the last two seasons. Meeting them there would be Kentucky for what would be the greatest bowl game of all time and I'm begging you, Music City Bowl, you alone wield more power in re-igniting the Indiana / Kentucky rivalry across all sports than anyone outside the two athletic directors. End the Midwest's Cold War, get these two on the field and then, later, we can pull a goof where we invite each basketball team to come shoot hoops with us and once they show up we leave to attend to a fake family emergency and then they play each other since they came all this way.
Call me for more details, you beautiful bowl game, you.
Additionally, I sent Maryland's hilariously bad run defense to play GEORGIA TECH in a dome because I wanna see if they can get 1,000 yards. And Iowa goes to NYC to end the first year of Miami's Richt Era with a substantially inexcusable 16-10 loss in a blizzard.