It was such a good season for the Big Ten that we’ve made it halfway through the bowl season before a B1G team has even hit the field. Big Ten teams landed a CFP spot plus a pair of New Year’s 6 bowl invites, essentially giving everyone else a higher spot in the pecking order.

And perhaps more importantly given the current climate, no Big Ten team has been forced to cancel its bowl plans thanks to the latest COVID surge. In fact, the B1G even added an extra bowl team — Rutgers, which is replacing Texas A&M in the Gator Bowl despite going 5-7 this year.

Here are the now-10 Big Ten bowl games along with our prediction for each.

Guaranteed Rate Bowl — Minnesota vs. West Virginia

  • When: Tuesday, Dec. 28
  • Where: Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Network: 10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
  • Prediction: Minnesota 26, West Virginia 17

This game has precious little curbside appeal unless you’re a fan of either program. Which probably makes it an appropriate matchup for going head-to-head against Jimmy Fallon. Granted, I’m still going to watch, as I’m a sucker for sports aimed at insomniacs and bowl games played in baseball stadiums, which fits the Guaranteed Rate Bowl on both counts. The Mountaineers are 78th nationally in total offense and the Gophers are 98th, so I may be overstating how many points will be scored even though I still think the under will hit.

Pinstripe Bowl — Maryland vs. Virginia Tech

  • When: Wednesday, Dec. 29
  • Where: Bronx, N.Y.
  • Network: 2:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
  • Prediction: Maryland 34, Virginia Tech 28

It seems like the advantage in any bowl game should go to the team that didn’t just fire its coach, which in this case is the Terrapins. These teams also shared a common opponent in West Virginia, which Maryland defeated and Virginia Tech did not. In terms of an all-time series, this has been a pretty good one — the Terps hold a 16-15 lead over the Hokies dating back to 1919. Maybe this one will adhere to those standards even though the teams haven’t met since 2013.

Music City Bowl — Purdue vs. Tennessee

  • When: Thursday, Dec. 30
  • Where: Nashville, Tenn.
  • Network: 3 p.m. ET, ESPN
  • Prediction: Tennessee 41, Purdue 23

This is setting up as a perfect storm of pain for Purdue. If you’ve ever seen the stands at a Tennessee-Vanderbilt game in Nashville, expect the same ratio of orange to black-and-gold in this one. On top of that, the Boilermakers are without their 2 best players. Wide receiver David Bell and defensive end George Karlaftis opted out of the game for the NFL Draft. This will look better than Purdue’s last Music City Bowl appearance — a 63-14 loss to Auburn in 2018 — but perhaps not by much.

Peach Bowl — Michigan State vs. Pitt

  • When: Thursday, Dec. 30
  • Where: Atlanta
  • Network: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
  • Prediction: Michigan State 30, Pitt 28

This New Year’s 6 bowl game will be played 2 days before New Year’s because what the heck, why not? This really did look like the most exciting non-Playoff matchup when it was announced, with Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III poised to go against Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett. Instead, we’re stuck with no Kens at all as both players opted out. But it should still be a shootout.

Las Vegas Bowl — Wisconsin vs. Arizona State

  • When: Thursday, Dec. 30
  • Where: Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Network: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
  • Prediction: Wisconsin 21, Arizona State 16

A pair of party schools meet in the ultimate party city, which may net some interesting results. This figures to be another low-scoring game meant to cure the ailments of those who cannot fall asleep. Wisconsin is the nation’s best rushing defense, and Arizona State is a respectable 33rd. That means the best way to beat either defense is through the air — except the Sun Devils are 97th nationally in passing and the Badgers are 119th. Yet again, I may be overstating how much scoring will be done here.

Orange Bowl (CFP semifinal) — Michigan vs. Georgia

  • When: Friday, Dec. 31
  • Where: Miami, Fla.
  • Network: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
  • Prediction: Georgia 24, Michigan 17

It’s a battle of strength-on-strength — Georgia’s No. 2-ranked run defense against Michigan’s 10th-ranked rushing offense. Which means this game will probably be decided by other factors. Unless Cade McNamara can move the Wolverines downfield with his arm, Georgia will have the edge in those areas. Michigan’s defensive ends overwhelm most opponents, but the Bulldogs have allowed just 11 sacks this year. This will be a tough task for the Wolverines.

Gator Bowl — Rutgers vs. Wake Forest

  • When: Saturday, Jan. 1
  • Where: Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Network: 11 a.m. ET, ESPN
  • Prediction: Wake Forest 42, Rutgers 24

The Scarlet Knights are here as cannon fodder, but they’ll take it. Rutgers figured its season was done after a 40-16 loss to Maryland dropped the Knights to 5-7. Thanks to a good Academic Progress Rate, Rutgers got the call to replace Texas A&M when the Aggies had to drop out of the game due to COVID cases. We’ll see if the early start does anything to slow down a Demon Deacons offense that’s in the top-10 nationally in scoring and total offense.

Outback Bowl — Penn State vs. Arkansas

  • When: Saturday, Jan. 1
  • Where: Tampa, Fla.
  • Network: Noon ET, ESPN2
  • Prediction: Arkansas 28, Penn State 23

The Nittany Lions took a hit Monday when safety Jaquan Brisker declared for the NFL Draft and opted out of the Outback Bowl, but fortunately the Razorbacks are an opponent against whom you can afford to lose a player in your defensive backfield. Arkansas is 115th nationally with 24.5 pass attempts per game. Unfortunately, Penn State won’t get it done without wide receiver Jahan Dotson, who announced his opt-out a few hours after Brisker. Dotson accounted for 33% of Penn State’s receptions and 35% of its receiving yardage this season.

Citrus Bowl — Iowa vs. Kentucky

  • When: Saturday, Jan. 1
  • Where: Orlando, Fla.
  • Network: 1 p.m. ET, ABC
  • Prediction: Iowa 23, Kentucky 17

Only in the arcane and bizarre world of college football would we get the Citrus Bowl on over-the-air TV with its wider audience viewership while the actual Playoff games are placed on cable. But that’s an arcane thing to focus on. As for this matchup, former Iowa player Mark Stoops will face his alma mater for the first time in what should be a low-scoring game. Stoops’ Wildcats are one of the most turnover-prone teams in the country, which should tilt the advantage to the Hawkeyes.

Rose Bowl — Ohio State vs. Utah

  • When: Saturday, Jan. 1
  • Where: Pasadena, Calif.
  • Network: 5 p.m. ET, ESPN
  • Prediction: Utah 38, Ohio State 31

Utah looked as good as anybody in the country in the season’s closing month, twice clobbering the same Oregon team that beat the Buckeyes in Columbus. Despite that fact, the Utes are a touchdown underdog here, and I suspect that will be quite a motivator. Meanwhile, you don’t necessarily get the impression Ohio State is excited to be here. Receiver Garrett Wilson has already opted out of the game, and the Buckeyes have never missed the CFP under Ryan Day. This game gives off the same vibe as Utah’s 2009 Sugar Bowl win over Alabama.