BOWL THOUGHTS FOR THE FINAL BIG TEN WEEKEND

     For the final week end of Big Ten football, some thoughts to remember:  And remember first that next year the schedules will be pushed back to end the season after Thanksgiving-- dumb, but that's how it will be.

     Let's start at the bottom.  Illinois must win at Northwestern to become bowl eligible at 6-6.  If the Illini win they likely return to Ford Field to play another MAC team, possibly Ball State, CMU or Western Michigan-- and they already lost at Ford Field to Western 23-14 a coule of weeks ago.

     If Penn State beats Michigan State, Penn State goes to the Rose Bowl.  If Ohio State beats Michigan and Penn State loses to Michigan State, then Ohio State goes to the Rose Bowl.  If Michigan and Michigan State both win, then the Spartans go to the Rose Bowl for the first time since New Year's Day, 1988.  If the favorites all win, then Penn State goes to the Rose Bowl and a 10-2 Ohio State possibly gets a BCS bowl bid.  But if Oregon State wins at Arizona tomorrow night and again at home over rival Oregon, then Oregon State goes to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1965 and an 11-1 USC team gets an at large bid.  That likely would downgrade Ohio State to Orlando and the Capital One Bowl and move Michigan State from Orlando to Tampa for a New Year's 11am game against either South Carolina, Vanderbilt or possibly LSU.

     Michigan State should play New Year's Day in Florida win or lose against Penn State.  Iowa needs to win at Minnesota to finish 8-4 and the Hawkeyes then likely would go to the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.  I have Wisconsin, at 7-5, at the Champ's Bowl, unless Northwestern beats Illinois, finishes 9-3 and then the Wildcats would either be in San Antonio or in Orlando for the Champ's.

     The national title game already is in sight-- the Big 12 and Southeastern Conference championship game winners from December 6th likely will meet in Miami on January 8th to determine the national champ.

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