B1G bowl projections following Week 8: Rutgers stamps first 6-win season since 2014
Week 8 was one of the most important weeks of the 2023 college football season, in the B1G or otherwise.
Let’s start in-conference. The major final of the week came in Columbus, where Ohio State won a rock fight over Penn State, 20-12. Drew Allar and Co. looked uncomfortable all game and though the Nittany Lions had plenty of chances to get over the hump, they simply couldn’t once again. Ohio State didn’t look too convincing, either.
Iowa finally got hit in the face with reality: A college football team can’t accumulate 2 yards of total offense in the 2nd half and continue winning silly games with a point total under 30. Serious football teams just do not operate in this way. Minnesota handed the Hawkeyes their first B1G West loss of the season, 12-10.
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It’s hard to change much from that as far as bowl projections are concerned, though. The biggest takeaway is that Minnesota is firmly in position to win 6 games. Iowa is still the 4th-best team in the conference and should still cruise to 10 wins. That is, assuming they take the lesson from PJ Fleck.
Rutgers officially joined the 6-win club Saturday after downing Indiana. It’s possible the Scarlet Knights don’t win again this season, but they’re officially going bowling after Greg Schiano’s best start in Piscataway since his first stint with the program in the 2000s.
Illinois fumbled away a good opportunity against Wisconsin, and Michigan once again torched an inferior opponent. At this point, it almost feels like the Wolverines enter the game already up 5 touchdowns.
The tough part of their schedule is coming, but the Wolverines have only allowed 1 opponent to reach 10 points this season.
Nebraska is the only team I could see sneaking into 6 wins behind Minnesota. The Huskers need 2 more and have capable matchups against Purdue and Michigan State, but finding a win outside of that is tough. I’ll place them there for now, but don’t be surprised if the Huskers fumble this opportunity.
Outside the conference, Florida State is back in the Playoff projection.
It’s tough to see the Seminoles losing in the regular season, and I’m not quite sure there’s a team that can down them in the ACC Championship, either.
I like the potential resume of wins over LSU, at Clemson, vs. Duke, vs. Miami and vs. the ACC runners-up over an Oklahoma/Texas Big 12 champion, even if the Sooners finish undefeated. Obviously, a lot has to happen before then. If you’re not good enough a loss will find you, Seminoles.
Until next week, college football.
Big Ten bowl projections following Week 8
Rose Bowl (CFP semifinal): Michigan vs. Florida State
Fiesta Bowl: Penn State vs. Air Force
Peach Bowl: Ohio State vs. Alabama
Cheez-It Citrus Bowl: Iowa vs. LSU
Music City Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Florida
Las Vegas Bowl: Maryland vs. UCLA
Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers vs. NC State
Guaranteed Rate Bowl: Minnesota vs. Baylor
Cure Bowl: Nebraska vs. Marshall