Editor’s note: Ryan O’Gara and Connor O’Gara grew up following sports in suburban Chicago. The brothers, separated by 20 months, debated about their favorite teams and players so often that their father would often have to remind them, “This isn’t PTI.” Each Friday, they’re bringing that debate to you, centered around the Big Ten and college football as a whole.

This week’s debate: Which B1G team is most likely to win its bowl game? And which team is most likely to lose?

RYAN: Bowl season is upon us! And while there are a lot of moving parts with COVID and opt-outs, let’s have a little fun and throw some predictions out there for the team most likely and least likely to win, with the caveat being that you can’t pick Rutgers, which is a late addition to the Gator Bowl and has to play one-time CFP contender Wake Forest in what should be a double-digit spread.

The B1G team most likely to win, in my mind, is Ohio State against Utah in the Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes are a 6.5-point favorite as of Thursday morning, and on paper, they are the far-better team. In 247Sport’s Team Talent Composite, Ohio State is third in the country with its 16 5-star recruits. Utah, meanwhile, is 32nd and has just 17 4-star recruits. The Buckeyes have the No. 1 offense in the country and the No. 2 point differential.

The big question to many is motivation. Utah is thrilled to be playing in the Rose Bowl and its fan base could invade Pasadena. For Ohio State, not making the College Football Playoff is viewed as a failure, and some are wondering if the Buckeyes will care about this game. But this is the Rose Bowl, which is always played in near-perfect weather and in front of a massive live audience and TV audience. If it were another random bowl game, I could see Ohio State no-showing, but not this one. The juices should be flowing.

Besides, Ohio State hasn’t lost back-to-back games since the 2013 season. It would be shocking to see the Buckeyes follow up that loss to Michigan with another to a team from a conference that hasn’t been in the Playoff since 2016. Even with Utah coming into this game with 6 straight wins, including 2 blowouts of an Oregon team that beat Ohio State, I would be very surprised to see Ohio State lose.

As for the B1G team most likely to lose, I’ll say Purdue against Tennessee in the Music City Bowl. The Boilermakers are the B1G’s second-biggest underdog behind only Michigan, as they will be missing star wide receiver David Bell and star edge rusher George Karlaftis. Both have bright NFL futures, which is why they opted out. Bell has 17 100-yard receiving games in his last 26 outings. That’s insane. Karlaftis is PFF’s No. 11 FBS edge defender. Plus, this game is in Nashville and there should be a sizable homefield advantage for the Vols. And yeah, maybe I am a little worried about a repeat of last time Purdue was in the Music City Bowl back in 2018, when Auburn destroyed Purdue 63-14.

Which B1G team do you think is most likely to win/lose?

CONNOR: If it was any team besides Utah, I’d agree with that prediction. But are we at all worried that Utah can follow the same exact script that Michigan and Oregon did? Both were less talented, but far more physical than the Buckeyes in the trenches. Against both of those teams, the Buckeyes struggled to last 60 minutes and we saw their defensive line totally overmatched. I’ve still got the Buckeyes to win, but I’d say it’s not as likely.

I’ll go with Wisconsin playing against an Arizona State team that’s been disappointing. I don’t know that they’re built to last 60 minutes with Wisconsin up front. I could see the Badgers bullying a team that might just want 2021 to be over after a bizarre scandal broke about the illegal recruiting visits during COVID. Anyone should be able to close their eyes and picture Paul Chryst celebrating a win as his Walmart sweatshirt gets soaked in Gatorade.

The Badgers are essentially touchdown favorites even after the disappointing showing against Minnesota. It’s still a team that won 7 in a row and has one of the nation’s top defenses. I think Jack Sanborn and company take care of business and stymie the inconsistent Sun Devils offense.

I don’t hate the Purdue prediction at all. In fact, that’s probably what I would’ve gone with if I had first draw, but this is a debate column, not an agree column. I’ll instead go with Iowa against Kentucky. I think anybody who watched both of these teams can tell you what this game will come down to. If Kentucky’s turnover ways continue, Iowa will feast. But it’s not as if those issues are news to anyone in blue. The Wildcats have had to deal with that head on. I could see Will Levis, who was excellent down the stretch, torching his former conference with a couple of rushing scores and a momentum-building performance heading into 2022.

Besides, I’m old enough to remember when Iowa would puke on its shoes the second it got into the Sunshine State. Am I crazy to think that’ll happen again?

And while we’re at it, what would be a solid bowl season for the B1G? I’d say 6-4 with a Michigan win. So much of that B1G perception will come down to whether the conference can have its first non-Ohio State team in the national championship in the 21st century.

RYAN: I agree with the Iowa pick … talk about a team going in the wrong direction. And with Tyler Goodson sitting out, the Hawkeyes are going to have a tough time scoring points without getting a bunch of turnovers. I’ll admit, though, there is something I don’t quite trust about Wisconsin. It’s been a weird season for the Badgers, who at times look unbeatable and other times look like they are a 4-win team. Even though they have won 6 of 7 bowl games, I kind of have a weird feeling with them going out West and facing a Pac-12 team.

I think a good bowl season would be 7-3 without a Michigan win, or 6-4 with a Michigan win. That Michigan game obviously counts for double, given the stakes. The Big Ten is favored in 6 games, so anything above that would be terrific. Anything less than that is a letdown.

All that said, the Big Ten is the only non-SEC Power 5 in the CFP, so will the perception really change that much? I’m not so sure. Yeah, the gap could get wider between the B1G and SEC if it’s an All-SEC title game, but absent an all-out flop this bowl season, I don’t think anyone will look at the B1G too differently.

Is there anything that could happen the next few weeks that would change the B1G’s standing as the No. 2 conference in college football?

CONNOR: That’s a good question. I think Michigan getting blown out by Georgia would really be a tough blow. It certainly was in 2015 when Michigan State got smoked by Alabama. It confirmed the belief that many had that the league really only had 1 title contender in the 21st century. I honestly think even going 6-4 with a lopsided Michigan loss would be a setback.

You’re right, though. There’s only so much those other 3 Power 5 conferences could do in order to change that. Maybe the Big 12 winning both New Year’s 6 bowls and suffering 1 loss would make that a conversation. But again, that still takes a Michigan blowout loss and I don’t think that happens.

Michigan winning a national title by beating 2 SEC teams, though? Now that’d be a major flex, especially if either Michigan State or Ohio State could win a New Year’s 6 Bowl. I’d argue that’d be more bragging rights than it had at any point since the SEC’s run of dominance began with Florida dismantling Ohio State at the end of the 2006 season.

If I’m betting on any scenario, it’s the B1G keeping its standing as the No. 2 conference.