Indiana blew a great shot at a big home upset for the one millionth time in a row but how did the rest of the conference do and OH GOD SO MUCH BLOOD.
- As, somehow, predicted by Editor-in-Chief Kyle Robbins, Iowa defeated Michigan by scoring 14 points in the most B1G way possible (two field goals, touchdown, missed XP, safety). This isn't nearly as cataclysmic as some may lead you to believe. Michigan can still win out and make the playoff, probably as the 2-seed.
- Ohio State completely dismantled Maryland and stand to be the biggest winners of Saturday's chaos in the short-term, however, the loss to Penn State now seems likely to keep them out of the Big Ten title game which might affect their chances to make the playoff.
- Wisconsin did the same to Illinois as they keep pace in a very competitive B1G West and, just maybe, leave the door cracked to slide into the Playoff.
- Nebraska ended Minnesota's dark horse run to a division title, erasing a 7-point halftime deficit to stay alive in the B1G West.
- Michigan State unleashed a season's worth of frustration on Rutgers, winning 49-0. Things aren't great in Piscataway.
- Northwestern demolished Purdue, who now can only hope to spoil the bowl hopes of their rivals to the south by reclaiming the Bucket for the first time in four tries.
B1G in the CFP
THE FAVORITE(S): Ohio State, Michigan
THE DARK HORSE: Wisconsin? Penn State?!
We're on the threshold of things getting absolutely bonkers in the Big Ten and elsewhere. Penn State now only needs to defeat Rutgers and Michigan State to finish the season with one conference loss. An OSU victory over Michigan would send the Nittany Lions to Indianapolis to face, probably Wisconsin, giving the Big Ten a two-loss champion and a playoff-worthy one-loss team sitting at home during conference championship week. This will test the resolve of a committee that has seemed to strongly favor conference champions, but a two-loss champion over OSU? Do you put two B1G teams in the playoff?
I think the committee won't favor a conference champ over teams with a single loss, especially when it was a roadie in Happy Valley. I've switched up my seeds but my top-4 remain the same with one-loss conference champions in Clemson and Washington rounding out the 4. Washington is the most tenuous of the four, as their horrific non-conference slate could easily see them punted out for the B1G Champion or Louisville or PERHAPS WESTERN MICHIGAN?!
MY TOP FOUR: 1. Alabama 2. Ohio State 3. Clemson 4. Washington
Bowl Projections (bowl-eligible teams marked with an *)
Ohio State*: CFP Semifinal vs. Clemson
Michigan*: Rose Bowl vs. Colorado
Wisconsin*: Orange Bowl vs. Louisville
Penn State*: Cotton Bowl vs. Western Michigan
Nebraska*: Outback Bowl vs. Auburn
Minnesota*: Holiday Bowl vs. Utah
Iowa*: Music City Bowl vs. Kentucky
Northwestern: Pinstripe Bowl vs. Miami
Indiana: Foster Farms Bowl vs. Washington State
Maryland: Quick Lane Bowl vs. Georgia Tech
Illinois, Purdue, Rutger, Michigan State
Iowa's win is Indiana's loss, as they're likely to finish with at least 7 wins and a much better profile than the Hoosiers. The Hawkeyes are well-known to travel well and I can't see the Music City Bowl passing on them. Pinstripe, of course, can't select the Hoosiers again so they'll take Northwestern (or possibly Maryland, but the Wildcats will look like the much better team as the Terrapins seem destined to limp to the finish line), likely sending the Hoosiers out west for what could be an insanely fun matchup with the Cougars. Ultimately, I'll trade being able to possibly attend the bowl for a better matchup and trip out West instead of going to Detroit.
Regardless, two bowls in two years is good for the program no matter what the bowls are. The Hoosiers cannot slip up and get beaten by a horrible Purdue team that now seems to be packing it in for the year. But a chance to take the Bucket and keep Indiana out of a bowl should be plenty of motivation for the Boilermakers to go out on a high note.