Thursday December 4th, 2014

There is a possibility that a Big Ten team that has gained bowl eligibility will not play in the postseason, according to a report from Adam Rittenberg of

Rittenberg reports the Big Ten may have more bowl-eligible teams than contracted bowl spots if Michigan State is selected to the Orange Bowl, one of the New Year's Six Bowls in the new College Football Playoff system.

The Orange Bowl will pit a non-Playoff ACC team against the highest-ranked, non-Playoff team eiher from the SEC or Big Ten that did not win a conference championship or Notre Dame, which is 7-5 and unranked.

No. 1 Alabama will face No. 16 Missouri in the SEC conference championship this weekend, while No. 5 Ohio State will take on No. 13 Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship. The second-highest-ranked SEC team is No. 10 Mississippi State, while the second-highest-ranked Big Ten team is No. 8 Michigan State.

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From the report:

Michigan State, ranked No. 8 in Tuesday's College Football Playoff Rankings, likely will head to the Orange Bowl if No. 1 Alabama wins the SEC championship game Saturday. The next highest-rated SEC team behind Alabama is No. 10 Mississippi State, but neither Michigan State nor Mississippi State plays before the final rankings and bowl pairings are set.

If a Big Ten team goes to the Orange Bowl, the league will not have a team in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. If only one other Big Ten team -- the league champion -- makes a Playoff semifinal or another New Year's Six bowl, the league would have eight eligible teams for seven contracted bowl spots.

If this scenario comes to pass, the teams that could be left out of a bowl despite gaining postseason eligibility include (6-6) Penn State (6-6), Illinois (6-6), Rutgers (7-5) and Maryland (7-5).

All of the Big Ten's postseason-eligible teams will likely play in bowl games if the Big Ten sends three teams to New Year's Six Games, which could happen if the Badgers upset the Buckeyes in the conference title game.

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From the report:

"The Conference will not interfere or influence our contract bowls' selection rights, nor does it have any control over the CFP," Mark Rudner, the Big Ten's senior associate commissioner for television administration, wrote to the athletic directors in Wednesday's memo. "Unless a contract bowl selects a team that is over-exposed because of recent trips to the same bowl or same region, we will not interfere with the bowl's selection."

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