Bowl projections: Big Ten with 2 in BCS bowls?

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The Big Ten positioned itself nicely among the bowls many years ago, partly because of its massive fan bases and steep tradition and partly because of Commissioner Jim Delany's leadership.

But in the 1990s, there was more equality among the conferences. While Florida State and Miami were pounding the daylights out of teams in high-profile bowl games, the Big Ten and SEC were nearly equal in their bowl match-ups. It made for compelling bowl games. Current SEC schools (including Texas A&M) held a 10-9 lead in bowl match-ups from 1990 through 1999.

This year, those potential Big Ten-SEC games look really uneven, if only because the Big Ten's play matches that description. Here in mid-September, I'm not sure anyone relishes an Outback Bowl that features Michigan or Nebraska against Johnny Football and Texas A&M. Or a Capital One Bowl match-up (take your pick from the Big Ten) against Alabama, LSU or Georgia. But that's the way the scenarios fall until next year, and it's always possible for the Big Ten to improve by early January. If not, well, it's another offseason of national rebukes.

With Indiana's 2-2 non-conference start and a difficult league slate, it appears the Big Ten won't fill all of its bowl slots (unless Illinois can string together at least three league wins). So once again, we have the Little Caesar's Bowl without a Big Ten representative. Also, this is the year the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl selects ahead of the Gator Bowl. I think that potential match-up would generate interest in Middle America.

BCS CHAMPIONSHIP -- Oregon (Pac-12 champ) vs. Georgia (SEC champ)

ROSE -- Ohio State (Big Ten champ) vs. Stanford (replaces Oregon)

ORANGE -- Clemson (ACC champ) vs. Wisconsin (first at-large pick)

SUGAR -- Alabama (replaces Georgia) vs. Oklahoma (second at-large pick)

FIESTA -- Oklahoma State (Big 12 champ) vs. Louisville (Big East champ)

CAPITAL ONE -- Northwestern vs. South Carolina

OUTBACK -- Michigan vs. Texas A&M

BUFFALO WILD WINGS -- Nebraska vs. Kansas State

GATOR -- Michigan State vs. Florida

TEXAS -- Iowa vs. Texas

HEART OF DALLAS -- Minnesota vs. Rice

COTTON -- Baylor vs. LSU

CHICK-FIL-A -- Florida State vs. Ole Miss

MUSIC CITY -- Virginia Tech vs. Missouri

LIBERTY -- Tulsa vs. Tennessee

COMPASS -- Cincinnati vs. Auburn

ALAMO -- Texas Tech vs. UCLA

HOLIDAY -- TCU vs. Washington

PINSTRIPE -- Notre Dame (Big 12 replacement) vs. Rutgers

SUN -- Maryland vs. Arizona State

LAS VEGAS -- Fresno State vs. Arizona


RUSSELL -- Miami vs. Central Florida

BELK -- North Carolina vs. Houston

LITTLE CAESARS -- Ball State vs. Bowling Green (Big Ten replacement)

INDEPENDENCE -- North Carolina State vs. Arkansas State (SEC replacement)

NEW MEXICO -- Wyoming vs. Utah

MILITARY -- Georgia Tech vs. Marshall

BEEF O'BRADY -- East Carolina vs. SMU

ARMED FORCES -- Navy vs. Utah State

IDAHO POTATO -- Northern Illinois vs. Boise State

HAWAII -- San Jose State vs. Middle Tennessee State

NEW ORLEANS -- Tulane vs. Western Kentucky

GODADDY -- Ohio vs. Louisiana-Monroe

POINSETTIA -- Nevada vs. Oregon State (Army replacement)


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