Who would be foolish enough to try to project the Big Ten bowl slots after just one week of games?
OK, this is the smallest possible sample size, and several league teams barely broke a sweat against lesser competition during Kickoff Week. Still, it's fun -- if not necessarily the most accurate thing in the world -- to look ahead. Just remember to take these with a grain of salt if you don't like your team's position right now. Things can and certainly will change. A lot.
First, a couple of notes about the lineup: Over the course of the current bowl contract, the Big Ten is guaranteed three appearances in the Capital One Orange Bowl when that game is not hosting a semifinal, as is the case this year. So we're assuming for now the league will get a slot there this year and not the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, which shares a tie-in with the Orange. Same goes for the Franklin American Mortgage Music City and TaxSlayer bowls. Since the Big Ten played in the TaxSlayer the past two years, it's a good bet a conference team is going to Nashville, Tennessee, for the Music City Bowl this season. And the Heart of Dallas Bowl gets to select a Big Ten team this year.
And while the nine-game conference schedule might make it difficult for the Big Ten to fill all its slots this year, we're mostly going with optimism after the first weekend. Except on one key point: The four teams that missed a bowl last year -- Illinois, Maryland, Purdue and Rutgers -- need to prove themselves for a couple of weeks before we put them in here.
Without further ado ...
College Football Playoff: Ohio State
Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual: Michigan
Capital One Orange Bowl: Iowa
Outback Bowl: Michigan State
Holiday Bowl: Nebraska
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Wisconsin
New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Northwestern
Foster Farms Bowl: Penn State
Quick Lane Bowl: Indiana
Heart of Dallas Bowl: Minnesota