Big Ten Bowl Picture, Week 13: The BCS Is Getting B1G

Obie, you card. - Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa's window of possible bowl destinations narrows, but it's still as up in the air as just about anybody in the conference.

First of all, good news: this was one of the friendliest weeks for the Big Ten in the BCS, as both Michigan State and Wisconsin shot up to at-large BCS contention. Only one can go, of course, and Wisconsin is still technically on the outside looking in at No. 15 while Michigan State is at No. 11. But Wisconsin should be buoyed by a victory over a decent 6-win Penn State, to say nothing of MSU's expected bump from beating 8-3 Minnesota. Further, there's a Big Ten Championship to be played, and either Ohio State wins and pushes MSU out of contention (and thus Wisconsin into at-large eligibility, where it would be an easy choice for bowl committees) or Sparty pulls off the upset and goes to the Rose, freeing Ohio State for an obvious at-large berth of its own.

Either way, there's virtually no plausible scenario in which the Big Ten doesn't get two teams in the BCS, and that's good because the Big Ten has earned it this year. Michigan State and Wisconsin are, on merit, Top 10-ish teams and they've been badly underrated all year, primarily due to some super-sketchy losses. They're getting back up where they belong though, and if they end up in the polls around No. 10 or so by the end of the season, who'll really care in December where they were ranked in October?

Anyway, as this week's games go, the only one that both A) affects the bowl picture in any way and B) is in any reasonable doubt is Iowa-Nebraska. We're fairly (supremely) confident that Ohio State will dispatch Michigan, and Penn State is rightfully a massive underdog going to Wisconsin. Same goes for Minnesota at Michigan State. So let's assume those games, punt on Indiana-Purdue and Illinois-Northwestern (you know, to make those teams feel at home) and look at what happens if Iowa wins or loses at Nebraska.

All projected bowl foes are via SBNation.com. Jason Kirk does the work so we don't have to!

IF IOWA WINS ON FRIDAY

LEGENDS

11-1 8-0 Michigan State
8-4 5-3 Iowa
8-4 5-3 Nebraska
8-4 4-4 Minnesota
7-5 3-5 Michigan
5-7 1-7 Northwestern

LEADERS

12-0 8-0 Ohio State
10-2 7-1 Wisconsin
6-6 3-5 Penn State
5-7 3-5 Indiana
4-8 1-7 Illinois
1-11 0-8 Purdue

BOWL GAMES

Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Stanford

We're assuming Alabama and FSU make the title game, seeing as how it would take a pretty substantial upset to knock either team off that spot. So OSU goes 13-0 and goes to Pasadena for it and faces a strong but eminently beatable Stanford. It would be trouble for Ohio State, no doubt; Stanford swallows up mobile QBs with its defensive front and the Buckeyes can be run on. We'd still take OSU in it, but it'd be close.

Orange Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Clemson

This is a pretty holy crap matchup, because we'd love to see Tajh Boyd facing the vaunted Badger D. And can Bucky run on the Tigers? That's not exactly a sure thing.

Capital One Bowl: Michigan State vs. Missouri

We're taking Michigan State all damn day. We know Mizzou is ranked No. 5 and is one win away from taking the SEC East. We know Gary Pinkel just coached his brains out and there's talent all over the place in Columbia. We know all that. We're taking Michigan State.

Outback Bowl: Iowa vs. LSU

This would be a monster matchup, and LSU's physicality on both sides of the line would be a major problem (to say nothing of Zach Mettenberger's cannon arm, which could cause all sorts of problems for the Iowa secondary). But LSU is hardly immortal and its defense is still young and wildly inconsistent, and Iowa has a fun habit of mashing the SEC's front sevens in bowl games.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Nebraska vs. Texas

A rivalry renewed! Both teams have major problems at quarterback and embattled head coaches who have seen middling opposition put up big games on their defenses. But they're not bad at all, and you'll see some guys who will definitely play on Sundays. But yeah, a couple very hot seats on display here.

Gator Bowl: Minnesota vs. Ole Miss

If you don't think Jerry Kill can beat Ole Miss with six weeks of prep work, you have not paid attention to Big Ten football at all. Ole Miss has the heavy physical talent advantage but hasn't looked as well-drilled as Minnesota for most of the season. This one would be a 60-minute fight, and one of the sneaky good mid-card bowls of the season.

Texas Bowl: Michigan vs. Texas Tech

Cheer up, Michigan: you could still have Rich Rodriguez, who we're sure is having a horrendous—wait what do you mean he just beat Oregon by 26 oh dammit.

IF IOWA LOSES ON FRIDAY

LEGENDS

11-1 8-0 Michigan State
9-3 6-2 Nebraska
7-5 4-4 Iowa
8-4 4-4 Minnesota
7-5 3-5 Michigan
5-7 1-7 Northwestern

LEADERS

12-0 8-0 Ohio State
10-2 7-1 Wisconsin
6-6 3-5 Penn State
5-7 3-5 Indiana
4-8 1-7 Illinois
1-11 0-8 Purdue

Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Stanford

Orange Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Clemson

Capital One Bowl: Michigan State vs. Missouri

Outback Bowl: Nebraska vs. LSU

Nebraska would absolutely earn and own the No. 4 spot in the Big Ten with a win over Iowa, and a date with ascendant former rival Missouri would be the reward. If Taylor Martinez is back from his debilitating foot injury that sidelined him for basically all of the Big Ten slate, this one's a shootout. If it's still Tommy Armstrong and Ron Kellogg III leading the charge, it won't be a blowout but we'll know who the better team is pretty quickly—and it'll be the black jerseys, not the blackshirts.

Hahahaha just kidding Mizzou is going to the Capital One Bowl someone really should be copy editing these things

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Minnesota vs. Texas

The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl probably isn't thrilled at the idea of hosting Iowa, and the feeling's likely mutual from Iowa's traveling fan base, who went to Phoenix for this thing when it was called the Insight Bowl in 2010 and 2011. Minnesota's a new, fun, sexy team to bring to town, though, and let us say: if the idea of Minnesota beating Texas in a bowl game wasn't the funniest idea in the world back in August, please go find somewhere else to chill because that is HILARIOUS.

Gator Bowl: Iowa vs. Ole Miss

The Gator Bowl would be happy to have the Hawkeyes, who haven't been to Jacksonville since 1983. And remember what we said about Iowa mashing SEC front sevens? LSU would be at moderate risk of that happening. Ole Miss would be in a flat-out "severe mashing warning." That's not to say they're not talented up front. They are. But this is a classic "Kirk Ferentz breaks fools" matchup.

Texas Bowl: Michigan vs. Texas Tech

Agree? Disagree? WHO CARES. Actually we care. Comment away, friends!

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