Let’s talk about bowling.

Not the sport, though I wouldn’t mind doing that as someone who’s in a weekly bowling league and is becoming a big oil pattern nerd. Want to talk scorpion oil patterns? Hit me up.

Instead, let’s talk about college football bowling. Specifically, B1G bowling.

We’ve got a month to go and there are plenty of teams in the conference who are playing for bowl eligibility. Amazingly, Indiana isn’t one of them. The Hoosiers are one of 7 B1G teams to have already clinched bowl eligibility.

Technically, the other half of the conference still has bowl aspirations. So let’s discuss whether they’re going to the postseason or not:

Illinois (4-4)

Remaining schedule:

  • vs. Rutgers
  • at Michigan State
  • at No. 19 Iowa
  • vs. Northwestern

Bowl or no bowl: Bowl

I definitely didn’t think I’d say that 2 weeks ago, but here we are. For the first time in the Lovie Smith era, Illinois has a B1G winning streak. Wild, I know. The Illini are running the ball and playing defense, just like Smith promised when he was hired 3.5 years ago. And with remaining matchups at home against Rutgers and Northwestern coming up, dare I say that Illinois will go bowling for the first time since 2014. What a monumental second half of the year this is shaping up to be for Smith and his future in Champaign.

Maryland (3-5)

Remaining schedule:

  • vs. No. 14 Michigan
  • at No. 3 Ohio State
  • vs. Nebraska
  • at Michigan State

Bowl or no bowl: No bowl

What started out so promising has since taken a turn for the worst. After that stunning beatdown of Syracuse, the Terps’ only win came against Rutgers. Injuries at the quarterback position certainly haven’t helped matters there, but even if Maryland had a healthy offense, that’s not a 4-game stretch that would yield 3 wins. This is the downside of losing to Temple. The Terps would likely be eliminated from bowl eligibility heading into the final 2 games of the season. As we thought a few months ago, Mike Locksley has his work cut out for him.

Michigan State (4-4)

Remaining schedule:

  • vs. Illinois
  • at No. 14 Michigan
  • at Rutgers
  • vs. Maryland

Bowl or no bowl: Bowl

I think? What’s stunning is that there’s a very realistic possibility that MSU needs wins in its final 2 games just to reach the postseason. For a team that spent time in the top 25 and returned a ton of talent on the defensive side of the ball, that’s disastrous. Here’s the good news for Mark Dantonio. There’s still a chance his team could go 3-1 down the stretch and be playing for an eighth win in a bowl game. The bad news? MSU has “Pinstripe Bowl” written all over it. (No offense to the Pinstripe Bowl, but New York isn’t exactly where I’d want to go in late December.)

Nebraska (4-4)

Remaining schedule:

  • at Purdue
  • vs. No. 18 Wisconsin
  • at Maryland
  • vs. No. 19 Iowa

Bowl or no bowl: Bowl

I realize that’s somewhat of a blind pick without knowing the exact status of Adrian Martinez. The Huskers’ struggles have been far more than the loss of their preseason Heisman Trophy candidate. The defense still hasn’t turned the corner, there’s undisciplined play on both sides and if we’re being honest, the talent just still isn’t there. But with road matchups at Purdue and possibly a Maryland team that won’t be playing for a bowl game, I’m gonna say the Huskers get to the postseason for the first time since 2016. I might regret that prediction a lot if they lose this weekend.

Northwestern (1-6)

Remaining schedule:

  • at Indiana
  • vs. Purdue
  • vs. UMass
  • vs. No. 13 Minnesota
  • at Illinois

Bowl or no bowl: No bowl

From B1G West champs to this? Woof. The offense in the post-Clayton Thorson era has been abysmal. Scoring 38 points in 5 conference games is proof of that. It’s because of that dreadful stat that I give Northwestern a .0000000001% chance of winning out to clinch a postseason berth. Not only is this shaping up to be the end of the Wildcats’ 4-year bowl streak, but it’s also looking like potentially the worst of the Pat Fitzgerald era. If that happens, Fitzgerald might finally have to make some big changes to his on-field staff.

Purdue (2-6)

Remaining schedule:

  • vs. Nebraska
  • at Northwestern
  • at No. 18 Wisconsin
  • vs. Indiana

Bowl or no bowl: No bowl

Yikes. Injuries absolutely changed the course of Year 3 under Jeff Brohm, but man. I didn’t think it’d be this bad. The Boilermakers obviously miss Rondale Moore a ton, and not having a stable quarterback situation hasn’t helped matters. It’s impossible to see this team suddenly figuring it out and running the table. The more likely scenario is the Boilers are eliminated from bowl eligibility on Saturday against Nebraska. What a strange, frustrating year it’s been in West Lafayette.

Rutgers (2-6)

Remaining schedule:

  • at Illinois
  • vs. No. 3 Ohio State
  • vs. Michigan State
  • at No. 5 Penn State

Bowl or no bowl: No bowl

I don’t actually have to explain why this isn’t happening, do I?