If you read our Games to Watch thread this Thursday, you'll see that there are a TON of games this weekend that will shake up the CFB Playoff standings. Before that happens though, we'd like to take a look at what the current state of affairs look like for the Big Ten Conference and their potential matchups for the 14'-15' bowl season.
Fiesta Bowl (Dec 31) ~ Michigan State Spartans vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish
With Ole Miss losing again this past weekend, Michigan State scooted up a few spots in the rankings and earned themselves a date with another one-loss team looking to make the CFB Playoff. Remember the days when Notre Dame and Michigan State used to play each other in the non-conference part of the schedule every year? Remember how much fun those games were? We're looking at you ND...
Capital One Citrus Bowl (Jan 1) ~ Ohio State Buckeyes vs Ole Miss Rebels
MANY different bowl projections have slotted the Buckeyes as a team that will sneak into the Top 10 of the CFB Playoff. But once the dust settles in East Lansing this weekend, only one team will remain undefeated in conference play AND still only have one loss. As much as the Buckeyes look like a solid football team, I don't see them knocking off Sparty at home this weekend. Then again, I've been wrong in the past...
Outback Bowl (Jan 1) ~ Nebraska Cornhuskers vs LSU Tigers
It will be interesting to see where the Huskers land after the B1G Championship Game. All that matters to one fan is that they don't play Georgia (again):
National University Holiday Bowl (Dec 27) ~ Wisconsin Badgers vs Arizona Wildcats
Rich Rod and the Wildcats take the field against his former conference. Matchup doesn't look too great at the moment, but the Cats have a tough finish to their 2014 schedule. Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota could also be swapped in as they currently are tied in the conference at 3-1. According to ESPN's playoff tracker however, the Badgers have the best overall ranking.
Tax Slayer Gator Bowl (Jan 2) ~ Iowa Hawkeyes vs Missouri Tigers
A re-match of the 2010 Insight Bowl could happen depending on the final conference standings of both teams. The Hawkeyes are looking at a 3 way tie with Wisconsin and Minnesota for position in a bowl game, and they will have plenty of opportunities to close out the year strong. Herky upset the Tigers in 2010 and would certainly be looking to repeat in Jacksonville if given the chance.
San Francisco Bowl (Dec 30) ~ Minnesota Golden Gophers vs Washington Huskies
Once again, there are a lot of teams that are ironing out positions in their respective conferences. That being the case, it wouldn't be a surprise to see a Minnesota Washington game on the 30th. The Gophers are coming off a bye week, but will have a brutal finish to their season as they face Iowa, Ohio St, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. It certainly will be interesting to see how they finish the season.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl (Dec 27) ~ Maryland Terrapins vs Boston College Eagles
A battle of the New England-ers still looks promising as either Maryland, Penn St, or Rutgers could end up here. Maryland is a team that can't seem to find a consistent stride though, and the end of their schedule this season is a toss up. But, since they got it done against PSU this past weekend, we threw them a bone.
Quick Lane Bowl (Dec 26) ~ Penn State Nittany Lions vs N.C. State Wolfpack
As stated above, Maryland knocked off Penn St in a really gritty football game last weekend. This dropped the Lions into the #8 bowl spot this week, slotting them against an NC St Wolfpack team that's sitting at 5-4. There's a good chance that a B1G team will face NC St, it's simply a matter of which one?
Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dec 26) ~ Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
With the CFB Playoff system, the highest ranked non-power 5 conference team will get the knod in a Top Tier bowl game. Since East Carolina lost this past weekend, Marshall could sneak into one of those games, leaving the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs to play in the HoD bowl. This game could get really scary for the B1G if Marshall gets the knod in this game. Otherwise, it's a fairly tame matchup that the Knights SHOULD win with ease.
-Michigan Wolverines (4-5): Dare I say it, but the Michigan Wolverines could sneak into a bowl game with a 6-6 record when this is all said and done. Of course, they haven't looked particularly great this season, but with Northwestern on the road and an inconsistent Maryland at home, they honestly could pull it out before facing the traditional Buckeye game to end the season. Does a bowl game save Brady Hoke?
-Illinois Fighting Illini (4-5): That's right guys, we are close. Honestly, the Illini look like the last team that has any shot at sneaking into a bowl game in the B1G. It all comes down to the last 3 games of the season...