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2015 Big Ten Football Bowl Projections: Ohio State makes College Football Playoff, Illinois reaches postseason

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The first edition of TCR's weekly Big Ten bowl projections.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

College Football is upon us once again!  This is the best week of the sports year if you're a college football fan like myself, and there's no better time to start speculating about the postseason than right this very minute. Using our keen sense of football smarts and some well thought out predictions, we bring you our preseason Big Ten Bowl Projections.

Some of you may already be aware with the bowl game selection process the NCAA and ESPN developed last season. If you need a refresher on the regulations and rules of bowl game selections, you can read them all here (it is well documented to be a good choice for bathroom reading material).

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Cotton Bowl (Dec 31st) Arlington, TX ~ Ohio State Buckeyes vs TCU Horned Frogs

This would be the first round of the 2016 College Football Playoff, and there's no doubt that the committee will try and work a matchup of Big Ten vs Big 12 early in the bracket. Trevone Boykin leads a red-hot Frog offense against his fellow Heisman candidate Ezekiel Elliott.

Rose Bowl (Jan 1st) Pasadena, CA ~ Michigan State Spartans vs Oregon Ducks

Depending on Oregon's run through the Pac-12 this season, we may see a rematch of the September 12th game between Sparty and the Ducks. In our Big Ten season preview, Connor Cook is a player we think will have a great season. Pending on his health and the status of the Spartan defense, this game could be yet another postseason classic for Mark Dantonio.

Citrus Bowl (Jan 1st) Orlando, FL ~ Wisconsin Badgers vs LSU Tigers

Wisconsin's season rides on of the shoulders of Corey Clement, and he'll carry the Badgers to Orlando in January. The question is whether or not Joel Stave will be joining him with the offense; his experience at the quarterback needs to equate to turnover-free football for Wisconsin to have any hope of playing in a January 1st bowl game.

Outback Bowl (Jan 1st) Tampa, FL ~ Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Georgia Bulldogs

This was by far the easiest bowl to predict. When it comes to football season, the Huskers and Bulldogs always seem to face each other in a Florida bowl game.  ince both teams have yet to play in the Outback bowl, Tampa is obviously almost a lock this season.

Holiday Bowl (Dec 30th) San Diego, CA ~ Penn State Nittany Lions vs Arizona State Sun Devils

Provided James Franklin doesn't run into another LLWS player, the Lions should be in great shape to make a run to the west coast this season. Arizona State will be an interesting opponent, as they will be coming off a grueling Pac-12 campaign. That's not to say that the Lions won't need to claw their way through the Big Ten East, either.

Gator Bowl (Jan 2nd) Jacksonville, FL -OR-
Music City Bowl (Dec 30th) Nashville, TN ~ Michigan Wolverines vs Ole Miss Rebels

Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines have high expectations heading into the 2015-16 campaign. Nothing would start his tenure off better than a bowl victory against an SEC West opponent.

Foster Farms Bowl (Dec 26th) Santa Clara, CA ~ Iowa Hawkeyes vs Arizona Wildcats

Iowa intrigues a lot of the media this season due to their lack of offensive experience, particularly at quarterback.  C.J. Beathard brings an interesting dynamic to the Hawkeyes, and they'll need to trust his arm to get their offense going this season.

Pinstripe Bowl (Dec 26th) New York, NY ~ Minnesota Golden Gophers vs Pittsburgh Panthers

Jerry Kill's Gopher squad will ride a stingy defense all the way to Yankee Stadium this season. Losing Maxx Williams and David Cobb was a big blow to their offense, and it'll be interesting to see who steps up to fill the running back role.

Quick Lane Bowl (Dec 28th) Detroit, MI ~ Illinois Fighting Illini vs N.C. State Wolfpack

All eyes are on Wes Lunt and his ability to stay healthy will imperative for Illinois' postseason hopes. Bill Cubit calling the plays may be a blessing in disguise as he'll be able to open his entire bag of tricks against opponents without recourse. The schedule is tougher this year, but the Illini certainly have a chance to return to a bowl game.

Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dec 26th) Dallas, TX ~ Maryland Terrapins vs Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Crabcakes and football. That's how Maryland does it. Perry Hills will be under center for the Terrapins, and his ability to stretch plays when the pocket collapses will determine Maryland's success on offense this season. It's hard not to find at least six wins in their schedule.