Rivalry Week.

We’ve reached the final weekend of the season and — in my opinion — it went by way too fast. Didn’t the season just kick off like yesterday? Time flies when you’re having fun I guess.

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As the season dwindles down the bowl picture starts to become clearer. The B1G will have at least eight teams earn a bowl bid this season. That total could be nine with a Minnesota win over Wisconsin or if a bid goes to a 5-7 team somewhere down the road. But, for now, we’ll assume the conference will have eight teams in the postseason.

Before we get to the bowl projections, here are a few takeaways from Week 12 in the B1G:

  • Is there a chance — however slim — that the winner of the B1G Championship Game gets into the College Football Playoff? That seems to be the talk of the town heading into the final weekend of the regular season. Wisconsin seems like a lock if it wins out. Ohio State would need a lot of help, but nobody is counting out the Buckeyes quite yet.
  • With Purdue and Indiana both winning on Saturday, it sets up a winner-take-all battle for the Old Oaken Bucket. Both teams are 5-6, needing one more victory to clinch a bowl berth. It’s one of the most significant games in the rivalry, for both sides, in quite some time.
  • A win over Illinois and Northwestern will finish the season with a quiet 9-3 record. The Wildcats have posted wins over Iowa and Michigan State, but still haven’t earned much attention this season. It’s been a phenomenal coaching job by Pat Fitzgerald after the Wildcats started the year 2-3. A high bowl bid should be in the future for Chicago’s B1G team.
  • Michigan still hasn’t won a game against an opponent with a winning record this season. The Wolverines will have one last shot as they host Ohio State in Ann Arbor. If the Maize and Blue fall short, is it fair to say Jim Harbaugh is on the hot seat headed into 2018?
  • What in the world has happened to Iowa? Two weeks ago, the Hawkeyes thumped the Buckeyes and climbed into the College Football Playoff rankings. Since then, they’ve gone 0-2, losing to Wisconsin and Purdue. Iowa might’ve had the opportunity to reach a solid bowl game after beating Ohio State, but now, the Hawkeyes are almost guaranteed a less appealing postseason trip.
  • While the match-ups may not look all that appealing on paper, Rivalry Week in the B1G is going to have a lot of implications. Minnesota, Purdue and Indiana are all fighting for bowl eligibility; Wisconsin and Ohio State are hoping to keep those CFP hopes alive and Penn State is hoping to reach 10 wins for a second-straight season. It should be a fun week to close out the 2017 season.

There isn’t much else to say right now. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the final full week of the 2017 football season. It’ll be far too long before the 2018 season begins.

Here are the B1G bowl projections as we enter the final week of the year.

Bowl Conferences Teams
Pinstripe Bowl    B1G vs. ACC       Purdue vs. Wake Forest
Foster Farms Bowl    B1G vs. Pac-12       Iowa vs. Oregon
Holiday Bowl    B1G vs. Pac-12       Michigan vs. Arizona
Outback Bowl    B1G vs. SEC       Michigan State vs. LSU
Citrus Bowl    B1G vs. SEC       Northwestern vs. South Carolina
Cotton Bowl    B1G vs. SEC       Penn State vs. Notre Dame
Peach Bowl    AL vs. AL*       Ohio State vs. Auburn
CFP Semis: Rose Bowl    AL vs. AL*      (4) Wisconsin vs. (1) Miami

*Denotes at-large bid