clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Big Ten bowl projections, Week 10

If they keep this up, where will the Badgers play come bowl season?

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Northwestern Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

1. Michigan Wolverines (9-0)

There is no denying that the Wolverines belong atop the Week 10 Big Ten power rankings, as Michigan once again obliterated a mediocre but talented Maryland team. This was Wilson Speight’s most complete game leading the Wolverines at quarterback (19-of-24, 362 passing yards, three total touchdowns) by a wide margin and that should send shivers down the spines of all Big Ten contenders. We knew Michigan has an elite defense and a plethora of future NFL skill players—adding top-tier QB play will solidify its spot in the College Football Playoff.

Up Next: at Iowa

Previous Ranking: No. 1

Bowl Projection: College Football Playoff

2. Ohio State Buckeyes (8-1)

It wasn’t a surprise that the wildly talented Buckeyes beat Nebraska in Week 10. The shock came when they downright dominated the Huskers en route to a massive 62-3 victory. This beatdown was so lopsided it was over at halftime, and after struggling for the past four games on offense, Ohio State put the hurt on Nebraska by racking up 590 yards on offense and holding Nebraska to just over 200, including only 78 rushing. Importantly, J.T. Barrett looked to have corrected his downfield passing demons, at least for one week, as he tossed four touchdowns and 290 yards. Urban Meyer and his Buckeyes appear to back on track with just two tune-up games before they host Michigan in what is sure to be the most hyped game of 2016.

Next Week: at Maryland

Previous Ranking: No. 2

Bowl Projection: Rose Bowl

3. Wisconsin Badgers (7-2)

Paul Chryst accomplished a feat in Week 10 that neither Bret Bielema nor Gary Andersen could: a victory over Northwestern in Evanston. It’s almost cliché to say the Badgers’ defense played darn well, but they did just that in what can only be considered a triumph over a Northwestern offense that was playing well coming into the game. Outside of a drive right before halftime, where the Wildcats appeared to catch Wisconsin off guard en route to a touchdown, Northwestern did next to nothing on offense all day. On the flip side, Wisconsin played steady football, using Corey Clement (106 yards, 32 carries, one touch) as a battering ram to grind out the victory and more than double the time of possession. The Badgers now control their destiny due to a Nebraska loss, and will make the Big Ten Championship Game if they win their next three games against lesser competition.

Up Next: vs. Illinois

Previous Ranking: No. 3

Bowl Projection: Capital One Orange Bowl

4. Penn State Nittany Lions (7-2)

The ascension of the 2016 Penn State Nittany Lions has surprised many, mostly due to the fact that it has happened midseason, and boy did they look good on Saturday. Penn State may be the hottest team in the country, as they completely overwhelmed the Iowa Hawkeyes at home, cruising to a 41-14 win. Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley continue to play at a very high level, as they combined to account for 491 total yards. That’s a whole lot for a QB-RB duo against a solid Iowa defense, and they lead Penn State way up in this list, breathing down the Badgers’ necks for the third spot.

Up Next: at Indiana

Previous Ranking: No. 5

Bowl Projection: Holiday Bowl

5. Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-2)

Week 10 was one of disappointment for Nebraska, as the Huskers barely put up a fight against Ohio State, losing 62-3 in a game that was finished at halftime. In the loss, Nebraska gave up its lead in the race for the Big Ten West and, even worse, lost star quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. to a scary concussion. The Huskers will want to look past this game quickly as they host Minnesota in Week 11, an absolute must-win for both teams.

Up Next: vs. Minnesota

Previous Rank: No. 4

Bowl Projection: Outback Bowl

6. Northwestern Wildcats (4-5)

The Wildcats of Northwestern had some serious momentum going into halftime only down three to a very good Wisconsin team, but they couldn’t muster any offense in the second half. Clayton Thorson looked solid again at quarterback, but the loss knocks Northwestern out of Big Ten West contention.

Up Next: at Purdue

Previous Rank: No. 6

Bowl Projection: Quick Lane Bowl (I still am confident Northwestern wins at least two of its last three games.)

7. Minnesota Golden Gophers (7-2)

Minnesota moves up a spot in this week’s list due to unimpressive play elsewhere, yet the Gophers were able to squeeze by Purdue, narrowly beating the Boilermakers 44-31. Minnesota’s struggles against poor competition are concerning, and its final three games certainly feature an uptick in competition. Keep an eye on the Gophers’ Week 11 matchup in Nebraska at night.

Up Next: at No. 19 Nebraska

Previous Rank: No. 8

Bowl Projection: New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Purdue v Minnesota Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

8. Iowa Hawkeyes (5-4)

The Hawkeyes dropped quite possibly their most disappointing game of the season, simply because they were dominated from start to finish on both sides of the ball for the first time, losing 41-14.

Up Next: vs. No. 3 Michigan

Previous Rank: No. 7

Bowl Projection: Music City Bowl

9. Indiana Hoosiers (5-4)

The Hoosiers stay put this week as they needed all they could muster to defeat lowly Rutgers 33-27.

Up Next: vs. No. 10 Penn State

Previous Rank: No. 9

Bowl Projection: Foster Farms Bowl

10. Maryland Terrapins (5-4)

D.J. Durkin and the Terrapins were no match for Michigan.

Up Next: vs No. 5 Ohio State

Previous Rank: No. 10

Bowl Projection: None

11. Purdue Boilermakers (3-6)

The Boilermakers played strong in Minneapolis against a decent Gopher squad, yet they didn’t have quite enough at the end of the fourth quarter.

Up Next: vs. Northwestern

Previous Rank: No. 11

Bowl Projection: None

Bowl Projection: None

12. Illinois Fighting Illini (3-6)

Lovie Smith and his Fighting Illini pulled off their biggest win of the season, claiming victory over a Michigan State team in absolute turmoil.

Up Next: at No. 7 Wisconsin

Previous Rank: No. 13

Bowl Projection: None

13. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2-7)

Despite playing improved football recently, Rutgers was unable to pull out its first Big Ten win of the season, dropping its sixth straight game, this time to Indiana.

Up Next: at Michigan State

Previous Rank: No. 14

Bowl Projection: None

14. Michigan State Spartans (2-7)

Things got even worse for Michigan State, as it lost in embarrassing fashion at Illinois, 31-27. The demise of Michigan State is real—Spartan Nation can only hope this is a one-season affair.

Up Next: vs. Rutgers

Previous Rank: No. 12

Bowl Projection: None