B1G Bowl Projections, Week 9: The West is a jumble
Does anybody want to win the Big Ten West Division?
It looks like Northwestern does.
The Wildcats suddenly find themselves in first place by a game and a half after knocking off Wisconsin on Saturday. Northwestern is 5-1 in B1G play, with Wisconsin, Iowa and Purdue in a logjam at 3-2. And NU has already defeated the Badgers and Boilermakers.
The Wildcats have moved up the pecking order in the league’s bowl projections. However, there is a big issue for Northwestern in terms of bowl order: Yes, winning the division for the first time would be impressive, but the overall resume still includes nonconference losses to Akron and Duke. Oh yeah, and Notre Dame is up next.
So if the Fighting Irish knock off the Wildcats, NU will own an 0-3 record outside the conference and then face consecutive road games — at Iowa and at Minnesota — before closing at home against Illinois.
The B1G is slated to have 10 bowl slots but the nonconference losses have piled up around the league this season and there’s a pretty big cluster in the middle of the pack. Thus, the league is likely to leave a couple of bowl slots unoccupied, or perhaps several. For now we have 10 teams projected into bowls but, honestly, a handful of them are on pretty shaky ground.
Now, on to this week’s projections:
|Rose Bowl||Michigan vs. Washington State|
|Fiesta Bowl||Ohio State vs. Georgia|
|Citrus Bowl||Penn State vs. Kentucky|
|Outback Bowl||Wisconsin vs. Auburn|
|Holiday Bowl||Northwestern vs. Washington|
|TaxSlayer Bowl||Michigan State vs. Mississippi State|
|Pinstripe Bowl||Iowa vs. Boston College|
|Heart of Dallas Bowl||Maryland vs. UAB|
|Quick Lane Bowl||Purdue vs. Duke|
|San Francisco Bowl||Minnesota vs. Stanford|