After Saturday's action, the Big Ten has plenty of bowl game intrigue building with the bowl picture improving for the conference.
While the Big Ten hasn't factored in the BCS for a few weeks, the big losses this week by Oregon, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have jumbled the picture which could end up benefiting the Big Ten. According to the latest projections from College Football News, the Michigan Wolverines may be able to slip into a BCS game if they finish the season 10-2 by beating Ohio State.
In this scenario, the Michigan State Spartans are punished for making the Big Ten championship game and, according to the projection, losing to Wisconsin which would leave the Spartans with three losses and out of the BCS at-large discussion. Subjectivity kicks in from there since Michigan is a great draw for big bowl games thanks to their fan base and would be the BCS choice for the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
At the other end of the Big Ten bowl spectrum, the Northwestern Wildcats' win over the Minnesota Gophers added Northwestern to the group of bowl-eligible teams from the Big Ten which now stands at nine teams. If the Purdue Boilermakers can beat the Indiana Hoosiers next week for their sixth win, that number will grow to ten.
Nothing is guaranteed for a six-win team if there isn't a slot in a bowl game available, but projections point toward the Pac 12 and Conference USA not being able to fill all of their bowl games which should open up room for all of the bowl-eligible Big Ten teams.
Here is how College Football News projects the Big Ten bowl games:
Gildan New Mexico Bowl - Dec. 17 in Albuquerque, NM, 2:00PM ET
San Diego State vs. Northwestern
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl - Dec. 27 in Detroit, MI, 4:30PM
Northern Illinois vs. Illinois
Insight Bowl - Dec. 30 in Tempe, AZ, 10:00PM
Ohio State vs. Oklahoma
Meineke Car Care Bowl - Dec. 31 in Houston, TX, 12:00PM
Iowa vs. Texas A&M
Ticket City Bowl - Jan. 2 in Dallas,TX, 12:00PM
Purdue vs. Iowa State
Gator Bowl - Jan. 2 in Jacksonville, FL, 1:00PM
Nebraska vs. Florida
Outback Bowl - Jan. 2 in Tampa, FL, 1:00PM
Penn State vs. Georgia
Capital One Bowl - Jan. 2 in Orlando, FL, 1:00PM
Michigan State vs. Arkansas
Rose Bowl presented by VIZIO - Jan. 2 in Pasadena, CA, 5:00PM
Oregon vs. Wisconsin
Allstate Sugar Bowl - Jan. 3 in New Orleans, LA, 8:30PM
Houston vs. Michigan