B1G bowl projections, Week 13: Big House, big step
First it was Ohio State. Then it was Iowa and Penn State. Then it was Michigan State. Then it was Ohio State again.
It seemed that every week this season, there was a new favorite to win the Big Ten, a new team that the league had ranked in the top 5 of either the Associated Press poll or College Football Playoff rankings or both.
The entire time, Michigan just waited, just bided its time, just kept winning.
Now, suddenly, the Wolverines are the team to beat in the B1G and our new pick among conference teams to land in the CFP semifinals.
After their monumental win on Saturday over Ohio State at the Big House, the Wolverines will vault to at least No. 4 and perhaps as high as No. 2 when the final regular-season CFP rankings are released on Tuesday.
Michigan still has a huge task on its hands, facing Iowa in this week’s B1G Championship Game in Indianapolis. But if Jim Harbaugh, who finally beat the Buckeyes for the first time as coach in Ann Arbor, can also bring home his first conference title, UM will land in the Playoff too.
We are projecting that to happen. We think Michigan will earn its way into the Playoff for the first time and be the B1G’s representative.
As for Ohio State, it’s hard for old-time fans to envision a trip to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl as a consolation prize, but that’s exactly what it would be if the Buckeyes are sent there, and we project that as OSU’s destination. Both OSU and Michigan State wrapped up their regular seasons at 10-2, but Ohio State’s comprehensive victory over the Spartans on Nov. 20 will be the deciding factor in making the Buckeyes the B1G’s Rose Bowl representative.
In the meantime, Minnesota’s upset win over Wisconsin scrambled the league’s bowl order somewhat, and Maryland clinched bowl eligibility with its win over Rutgers on Saturday. The Terrapins are the 9th and final conference team to become bowl eligible.
These projections reflect where we think the B1G teams will be after Championship Saturday. Here are our Week 13 B1G bowl projections: