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Big Ten bowl projections, Week 11

How did week 11 impact the outlook of Wisconsin and the rest of the Big Ten?

NCAA Football: Michigan at Iowa Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

[Editor’s note: Week-by-week projections are determined as if the season needed each week.]

1. Ohio State Buckeyes (9-1)

The Buckeyes ripped through the Maryland Terrapins by an impressive 62-3 margin, and combined with the fact that Iowa upset the former conference leader in Michigan, Urban Meyer’s Bucks currently sit atop the Big Ten throne. Coming off back to back blow out victories, Ohio State is rolling into the final two weeks of the season as one of the leagues most balanced teams. Look for quarterback J.T. Barrett and Co. to put the hurt on the Spartans in a tune up game before their season finale showdown against Michigan.

Up Next: at Michigan State

Previous Ranking: No. 2

Bowl Projection: College Football Playoff

2. Michigan Wolverines (9-1)

In what was undoubtedly one of the biggest shocks of the 2016 season, head coach Jim Harbaugh and his Wolverines were exposed in Iowa City, falling in dramatic fashion to Iowa, as a last second field goal downed Michigan, 14-13. There are conflicting reports about an injury to starting quartebrack, Wilton Speight, which could be a huge threat to Michigan’s progress this season. The Wolverines need to win out to make their first appearance in the Big Ten Championship game, which looks like an uphill battle with two weeks to go, and two solid opponents (Indiana, Ohio State) to finish the season.

Next Week: vs. Indiana

Previous Ranking: No. 1

Bowl Projection: College Football Playoff

3. Wisconsin Badgers (8-2)

The Badgers pummeled a struggling Illinois program on Saturday, coasting to a 48-3 home victory. The Wisconsin defense continues to make plays all over the field, while each defensive unit consistently excels each week. On offense, the running back group appears to be gaining momentum; the Badgers running attack has three legitimate threats out of the backfield — lead by senior Corey Clement, who is turning out to be the type of player we all knew he could be. It’s not clear whether the quarterback play will let Wisconsin down when things get close, but either way, this is a dang good football team.

Up Next: at Purdue

Previous Ranking: No. 3

Bowl Projection: Rose Bowl

4. Penn State Nittany Lions (8-2)

Quarterback Trace McSorley made enough big plays to help lead Penn State to a 45-31 win over Indiana, a game that the Nittany Lions struggled to win. James Franklin & Co. have momentum on their side, and Michigan’s loss to Iowa benefited them more than anyone. Penn State now needs to win out (at Rutgers, vs. Michigan State) and they will be headed to the Big Ten Championship game, thanks to their massive upset victory over Ohio State earlier this season.

Up Next: at Rutgers

Previous Ranking: No. 4

Bowl Projection: Cotton Bowl

5. Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-2)

After back to back losses in previous weeks, Nebraska saved their season, out lasting Minnesota 24-17 at home. The Huskers continue to rely on quarterback Tommy Armstrong a bit too much — as he accounted for all three touchdowns against the Gophers. They now need Wisconsin to lose and to win out themselves to have a shot at the Big Ten Championship game.

Up Next: vs. Maryland

Previous Rank: No. 5

Bowl Projection: Outback Bowl

6. Iowa Hawkeyes (6-4)

A massive upset over Michigan shoots the Hawkeyes up the list, as they stunned the No. 3 Wolverines 14-13. The best case scenario for Iowa is win their final two games, and keep their momentum rolling after the program’s biggest win in years.

Up Next: at Illinois

Previous Rank: No. 6

Bowl Projection: Holiday Bowl

7. Northwestern Wildcats (5-5)

Pat Fitzgerald and his Wildcats shrugged off Purdue, cruising to a 45-17 victory. Northwestern is playing good football after a rough start to the season, an important game at Minnesota awaits the Wildcats in week 12.

Up Next: at Minnesota

Previous Rank: No. 8

Bowl Projection: New Era Pinstripe Bowl

8. Minnesota Gophers (7-3)

Minnesota dropped a tight matchup with Nebraska in week 11, falling 24-17 to the Huskers. Going 1-1 in their final two games (Northwestern, Wisconsin) would be a win for Gophers.

Up Next: vs. Northwestern

Previous Rank: No. 6

Bowl Projection: Music City Bowl

9. Indiana Hoosiers (5-5)

Indiana played Penn State darn close all game, often looking like the better team, but couldn’t close as the Nittany Lions pulled away and downed the Hoosiers 45-31.

Up Next: at No. 3 Michigan

Previous Rank: No. 9

Bowl Projection: Foster Farms Bowl

10. Maryland Terrapins (5-5)

The Terrapins were overwhelmed in all facets of the game against Ohio State, losing 62-3.

Up Next: vs No. 18 Nebraska

Previous Rank: No. 10

Bowl Projection: None

11. Michigan State (3-7)

Mark Dantonio and his Spartans jump up to the 11th spot because of their rout of Rutgers, 49-0, and due to the rest of the Big Ten playing very poor football in November.

Up Next: vs. No. 2 Ohio State

Previous Rank: No. 14

Bowl Projection: None

12. Purdue Boilermakers (3-7)

Purdue came out hot against Northwestern, but ran out gas hard in the second half, losing 45-17.

Up Next: vs. No. 7 Wisconsin

Previous Rank: No. 11

Bowl Projection: None

13. Illinois Fighting Illini (3-7)

Lovie Smith and his Illini didn’t put up much of a fight at Wisconsin, losing 48-3 in a loss they will want to forget.

Up Next: vs. Iowa

Previous Rank: No. 12

Bowl Projection: None

14. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-7)

The Scarlet Knights were blown out at Michigan State, 49-0, which leaves no doubt that they are the worst team in the Big Ten.

Up Next: vs. No. 8 Penn State

Previous Rank: No. 13

Bowl Projection: None