It's time to get serious about these projections.
Confession: We've been a little loosey-goosey with these in recent weeks, as they really didn't mean much so far out from the actual selections. Well, the Big Ten had a little chat and set us straight on a few things that are worth relaying to you fine folks.
1. The Big Ten champion cannot play in the Capital One Orange Bowl.
2. If a Big Ten team plays in the Orange Bowl, another will not appear in the Citrus Bowl.
3. The Big Ten really wants to avoid repeat bowl destinations and even repeat postseason areas for teams. The league will ask each bowl to submit its top three choices for participants and then match teams based on where they've been in the past, who the opponent could be and other factors. Basically, the Big Ten is in charge here, not the bowls.
4. Each bowl will see a minimum of five different teams in six years (the New Era Pinstripe Bowl is on an eight-year contract).
We've now taken the Orange Bowl out of the possibilities for both Michigan State and Ohio State.
One big debate this week was whether to send Nebraska to a Florida bowl game for the fourth consecutive season (all as a Big Ten member). The Huskers also recently have appeared in the Holiday Bowl (both in 2009 and 2010) but not as recently as the Florida bowls. The Outback Bowl would be the exception, but from what we gather from the Big Ten, Nebraska likely will be leaving the Sunshine State this season.
We're not that confident placing Iowa in Orlando, but Wisconsin went there last year so Tampa seems likelier for Gary Andersen's crew.
Northwestern tumbles out of the projections after its blowout loss at Iowa. We considered dropping Penn State but still have the Lions squeaking into a bowl game. Michigan also was under consideration for bowl placement, but for now the Wolverines are on the outside. Northwestern hosts Michigan on Saturday.
Seven Big Ten teams are now bowl-eligible: Michigan State, Ohio State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Maryland, Minnesota and Iowa.
OK, enough rambling. To the projections:
Chick-fil-A Peach/Cotton/VIZIO Fiesta: Michigan State
Chick-fil-A Peach/Cotton/VIZIO Fiesta: Ohio State
National University Holiday: Nebraska
TaxSlayer/Franklin American Mortgage Music City: Maryland
San Francisco: Minnesota
New Era Pinstripe: Penn State
Quick Lane: Rutgers
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