Bowl Chaos After Crazy Saturday

Just when we thought things were nice and tidy related to the Big Ten’s bowl prospects, things got crazy on Saturday thanks to one game; Penn State’s upset of Wisconsin in Madison.

All of my bowl projections the past two weeks assumed the Badgers would hold serve against the undermanned Nittany Lions and that Michigan State and Ohio State would win out, too. The latter two things happened, the first did not.

With the loss, Wisconsin removed itself from Top 14 consideration in the final BCS poll, a mark you have to hit in order to be considered for at large inclusion in the BCS.

When that happened, the Big Ten’s chances of getting two teams into the BCS (which I will refer to as the ‘2-up’ scenario’) took a big hit.

Yes, Michigan State was ranked 11th in last week’s BCS poll and they did beat Minnesota on Saturday. Ohio State was ranked 3rd in the nation and will be headed to a BCS bowl. However, Michigan State does not have the type of bowl traveling reputation of Wisconsin and even if they finished inside the Top 14, their BCS fortunes are murky aside from winning the Big Ten’s automatic bid to the Rose Bowl. But the Rose Bowl has told the powers that be that if Michigan State is available in the Top 14 when their pick comes around, they will likely take the Spartans.

This of course has huge implications of where Iowa will go bowling. The 2-up scenario is clear and clean; Iowa was very likely headed to Tampa and the Outback. Given that the 2-up seems a bit more shaky right now, Iowa’s bowl destination likelihood is also shaky.

And then, a miracle happened in Auburn.

With that play, the Big Ten’s 2-up prospects were back in play, and South Carolina topped a Clemson team who doesn’t have a chance to play again this year and a team Michigan State likely jumps in the rankings.

The Spartans will probably be 10th when the BCS rankings come out tonight. The easiest 2-up scenario is Michigan State beating Ohio State for the Big Ten title on Saturday, then MSU goes to the Rose and Ohio State would be an at large BCS bowl selection, without a doubt. If Ohio State beats Michigan State, it will be white knuckle and down to the wire time as we await to see whether or not Michigan State falls below the Top 14 line. It will be close, as long as the Big Ten title game is close.

Let’s get to some scenarios…again, if Michigan State beats Ohio State, the Big Ten 2-up is going to happen. That’s the most certain thing in all of this.


Title: Ohio State
Rose: MSU
Capital One: Wisconsin
Outback: Iowa
Buffalo Wild Wings: Nebraska
Gator: Michigan
Texas: Minnesota


Rose: MSU
BCS: Ohio State
Capital One: Wisconsin
Outback: Iowa
Buffalo Wild Wings: Nebraska
Gator: Michigan
Texas: Minnesota

ONE UP SCENARIO: There are a few ways the one up scenario could happen and they all include an Ohio State win in the Big Ten title game. Ohio State could win the game and somehow get screwed over by an Auburn win in the SEC title game and getting enough votes to pass them to play against Florida State in the title game. I don’t think that will happen as I don’t think the coaches poll will rank Auburn ahead of Ohio State nor do I think that would happen in the Harris Poll. But, it could still happen and Auburn AD Jay Jacobs is already out the politicking:

“A one-loss SEC team that wins in Atlanta can’t get left out (of the BCS title game). It’s impossible,” Jacobs said. “It already happened in 2004. It would be a disservice to the nation if we got left out.”

So, there you go…which is utterly ridiculous and the disservice to the nation part is only something that can come from someone associated with an SEC football program.

The more likely 1-up comes from Ohio State handling Michigan State and the Spartans falling down below the 14th position in the rankings…and given where I think they will be after the rankings come out tonight, I think it would be very close and well within the realm of possibility.


BCS: Ohio State
Capital One: Michigan State
Outback: Wisconsin
Buffalo Wild Wings: Nebraska
Gator: Iowa or Michigan
Texas: Iowa or Michigan
Dallas: Minnesota

I think the Buffalo Wild Wings would take Nebraska to match up against an old Big 12 foe in the final year of the BWW’s involvement with the Big Ten. I could see the Gator taking Iowa or Michigan. If memory serves, the Gator picked ahead of the Insight in 2010 and while Iowa had one more win in league play than Michigan and head beaten the Wolverines head to head, the Gator chose Michigan as its Big Ten representative, sending Iowa to the Insight against Missouri. I’d lean Iowa 60-40 but I wouldn’t want to bet on it.  Here is an article from Jacksonville talking about Iowa and Michigan, with Georgia as the opponent.  That article includes this ominous line:

“In the end, all it could mean is that the Gator Bowl gets the preferred matchup that president Rick Catlett liked a month ago, Georgia vs. Michigan. With re-upping as title sponsor, TV ratings will be important this year.” 

When the BCS rankings are released Sunday night, look to see if MSU can get into the nine-spot in the rankings and not 10th. Anything better than 10th means its farther for them to fall out of the Top 14 if they lose to Ohio State. Or you can just choose to cheer for Mark Dantonio’s Spartans next week against the Buckeyes…if not, you’re cheering for Urban Meyer.

Good luck to you on your decision.

  • JJ Nebraska

    Anyway you look at it they all would be real good opponents. On my Nebraska outlook to me I like to first play the highest ranked team or a former conference foe.Cornhuskers may have some healed players by then, key on winning Bowl Game.The obvious cut the mistakes by beating thereself…..happen in all 3 conference losses and injuries didn’t help. Coaching needs to improve (I was for Bo staying)Special team & offense is shaky

    • Husker Finder

      You certainly sound like a Nebraska grad. Well done.

      • jeffbuck

        No, Ryan is right. You never simply get beaten by a better team. Always some other reason; it’s never down merely to the superiority of the other team. Reminder: You haven’t won at conf. title since ’99. Reminder: You’ve never won a Big 10 title. FYI: Iowa has won 2 Big 10 titles since 1999. Get your head in a book. You don’t know the conference you’re in.

    • Ryan

      And if, and if, and if Iowa wasn’t playing their fifth string rb and a offensive line torn by injuries, and if we would not have had first year coordinator’s, or a below average qb, a young d line, my god the sky was the limit last year. Typical husker fan. I live with you idiots out here. The other team never beats you do they. If only you wouldn’t beat yourselves. The only team that can beat nebby is nebby. Keep saying it for another 20 years.

  • Rose Bowl

    It’s all useless speculation, as this weekend has underscored, BUT over at, they’re projecting a Stanford-Baylor Rose Bowl. If that happens, that’s just more evidence of how stupid the BCS is.

    Baylor? The Rose Bowl? Please…

    If OSU gets by MSU and ends up in the so-called title game, there’s no way ANYONE should go to the Rose Bowl ahead of MSU. The damned BCS has as many rules and exceptions as the IRS, and America would be better off without either of them.

    This whole bowl thing is a joke, and the BCS has been just plain BS all along. Whether the “playoff” will be any better next year is highly questionable, but I know this: The Rose Bowl should be Pac 12-Big Ten. Period.

    It’s getting so you can’t enjoy anything in this country anymore what with all the under-the-table politicking, bias, and just plain stupidity. Please, somebody, make it stop….

  • TMac

    It certainly looks like we’ll get to see how good we are. ESPN.COM has us in the Outback against Missouri. After the way we walked over them a few years ago, they should be well motivated.

    • Ryan

      We walked all over them? We won the game, but we did not walk all over them. If anything Gabbert threw all over us save one horrible throw.

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