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B1G Bowl Game Projections: Could the Big Ten send two teams to the CFP?

While the B1G isn't trending up overall, two of the nation's top four teams currently reside in the same division.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana did some dumb things on the football field, how'd the rest of the conference fare?


  • Michigan thoroughly outclassed Penn State in their conference opener, riding a 28-0 halftime score to a 49-10 victory, cementing themselves among the nation's elite as we head into October.
  • Wisconsin collected the weekend's most impressive win, heading into #8 Michigan State's stadium and heading out with a 30-6 victory. Michigan State dropped all the way to #17, as their previous win over Notre Dame also tanked in value with the Irish loss to Duke. Not to pile on, but S&P+ hates the Spartans as well.
  • Nebraska went to Evanston and took care of business against Northwestern, and remain the favorite to represent the West in the Big Ten Championship Game.
  • Minnesota and Purdue each allegedly took on nondescript non-conference opponents that they each managed to pull away from late. I'm working to confirm these games occurred but eyewitnesses are scarce.
  • Iowa managed to dispatch of the Rutger in the most Iowa way possible, lulling the Scarlet Knights peacefully to sleep and- well, they did score two touchdowns so maybe it wasn't #PEAKIOWA but it sure was close.

B1G in the CFP?

I broached the topic of TWO BIG TEN TEAMS IN THE CFP last week and no threats on my life were made. There's no question that both Michigan and Ohio State look the part of a championship contender, but they stand in each other's way. Not only on the schedule, but the fact they share a division will prevent the loser of The Game from getting their revenge in the title game, assuming no one else knocks them off. If Ohio State runs the table to 13-0, does 11-1 Michigan have a case? Obviously it depends on how things crumble around them, but with preference being given to conference champions, it sure looks like the conference's biggest rivalry game is going to go a long way in selecting a playoff team.

But, as always, the West can have their say as well. If the West representative can get to Indy with one loss or less, they'll have a chance to grab a massive résumé boost and sneak into the CFP at the last possible moment. I said last week that Wisconsin and Nebraska didn't look the part, but the Badgers sure had something to say about that on Saturday, and the Huskers can keep racking up wins until they get their chance to make a statement against Wisconsin on Halloween weekend.

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

Bowl Projections:

Ohio State: CFP Semifinal vs. Louisville

Michigan: Rose Bowl vs. Stanford

Wisconsin: Orange Bowl vs. Clemson

Nebraska: Outback Bowl vs. Tennessee

Iowa: Holiday Bowl vs. Colorado

Michigan State: Pinstripe Bowl vs. Pittsburgh

Indiana: Music City Bowl vs. Arkansas

Minnesota: Foster Farms Bowl vs. Arizona State

Penn State: Quick Lane Bowl vs. Georgia Tech

Maryland: Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Western Kentucky

LOL NAH: Illinois, Purdue, Rutgers, Northwestern

Indiana certainly screwed up against Wake Forest but I'm keeping them in Nashville because the computers still love them and conference agreements are forcing the hand of a lot of bowls based on the teams currently in play. With contractual obligations, it almost doesn't matter how you rank the last five teams currently projected to make a bowl, as requirements for different teams over so many years makes it hard to consider other criteria. Maryland can't really go to Santa Clara, same for Minnesota and Detroit, also unlikely that Penn State goes back to NYC and absolutely no way Indiana does.