Sunday, October 21, 2007

Bowls All Around

The Big Ten is funny this year. Week 8 is finished, so 4 more weeks to go. Let's take a look at the bowl situation.

Already Bowl Eligible
* Michigan
* Penn St
* Purdue
* Wisconsin

Need 1 Win
* Illinois
* Northwestern
* Indiana

Illinois should thump Ball State, and if that should somehow not happen, they at least still have Minnesota on the schedule, so count them in. Northwestern has a tougher row ahead with Purdue, Iowa, Indiana, and Illinois, but I'd say they can pretty much count on beating Indiana at home. They could certainly lose out, but I can see them pulling a win out somewhere. That loss to Duke sure hurts, huh? Indiana should also thump Ball State, although that could be their only win for the rest of the season. So unless they choke hard, count them in. MSU's best shot is probably at Iowa, although you can't discount the Michigan game since it is a rivalry at home.

So some of these may be long shots, but it is not out of the realm of possibility for all four teams to earn a bowl game. That leaves Iowa and Minnesota. At 1-7, Minnesota is already out of it. But if they would win out - they won't, but if they did - they would have missed it by a single game. They lost 2 games by 1 point each, and a game by 3 points. So close.

Iowa needs to win 3 of their last 4 to have a post-season. 3 of those games are home games. They ought to beat Minnesota and Western Michigan. They are coming off a humbling loss to Purdue, so ought to be pretty motivated next week. MSU is certainly beatable, and if they can't do it they have to win at NW on the road, also a winnable game.

The point of all of this is that there exists a real possibility that 10 out of 11 teams in the Big Ten could wind up with bowl games. That's just insane. OSU, Michigan, Penn St, Illinois, Purdue, Wisconsin, and Northwestern could potentially earn it with conference play alone. The others will need some help from their out-of-conference wins.

10 out of 11 schools. Insane.

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