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Big Ten Bowl Projections: Michigan and Michigan State on the Outside Looking in of the College Football Playoffs Entering the Final Two Weeks

A complete overview of the bowl projections from a number of experts for every Big Ten team.

As things currently stand the Ohio State Buckeyes are set to appear in yet another College Football Playoffs, which would be their fifth appearance since they began. However, they are not guaranteed to make either the Big Ten championship game or the CFP, as they have their two biggest games of the season in the last two weeks against Michigan State and Michigan. 

For both Michigan and Michigan State, the situation is the exact same. Win out, hope the other loses again, and see yourself in the Big Ten championship game with an outside shot at making the CFP. 

To finish their season the Wolverines have Maryland and Ohio State while Michigan State has Ohio State and then Penn State to finish their season. If the Spartans are able to knock off the Buckeyes this Saturday and go on to beat Penn State en route to claiming a Big Ten title, they would have a very strong case for the CFP. 

Meanwhile, if Michigan takes care of business against Maryland and Michigan State loses to Ohio State, their game to end the season will become the game with the biggest CFP implications all season long for the Big Ten. A one loss Ohio State or Michigan Big Ten champion, much like Michigan State, would have an extremely strong case for the CFP. 

That being said the most likely outcome is Ohio State finishing Big Ten play undefeated while Michigan earns a Rose Bowl bid and Michigan State gets an at-large bid for a New Year's Six bowl. As for the rest of the Big Ten, the experts vary on who they think will play where. 

For this round of projections Rutgers earned their way back in as they are 5-5, sitting one win shy of the six needed for bowl eligibility. Also making an appearance yet again in these projections is 4-6 Illinois, as a couple experts see them going 5-7 and earning a bowl bid with not enough teams hitting six wins. Only three teams did not receive any bowl projections, as Indiana, Nebraska and Northwestern will not go bowling this season. 

Action Network (Brett McMurphy)

Cotton Bowl- #2 Ohio State vs. #3 Alabama

Rose Bowl- Michigan vs. Oregon

Peach Bowl- Michigan State vs. Wake Forest

Citrus Bowl- Wisconsin vs. Texas A&M

Outback Bowl- Penn State vs. Kentucky 

Music City Bowl- Minnesota vs. Tennessee

Las Vegas Bowl- Iowa vs. Arizona State

Pinstripe Bowl- Purdue vs. Virginia

Guaranteed Rate Bowl- Rutgers vs. West Virginia

Quick Lane Bowl- Maryland vs. Northern Illinois

Athlon Sports (Steve Lassan)

Cotton Bowl- #2 Ohio State vs. #3 Alabama

Rose Bowl- Michigan vs. Oregon

Peach Bowl- Michigan State vs. Wake Forest

Citrus Bowl- Iowa vs. Texas A&M 

Outback Bowl- Wisconsin vs. Kentucky

Music City Bowl- Minnesota vs. Mississippi State

Las Vegas Bowl- Penn State vs. Arizona State

Pinstripe Bowl- Purdue vs. Virginia 

Quick Lane Bowl- Maryland vs. Northern Illinois

Bleacher Report (Kerry Miller)

Cotton Bowl- #2 Ohio State vs #3 Oregon

Rose Bowl- Michigan vs. Utah

Peach Bowl- Michigan State vs. Wake Forest

Citrus Bowl- Wisconsin vs. Texas A&M 

Outback Bowl- Iowa vs. Kentucky

Music City Bowl- Purdue vs. Mississippi State

Las Vegas Bowl- Penn State vs. UCLA

Pinstripe Bowl- Minnesota vs. Miami

Guaranteed Rate Bowl- Rutgers vs. Texas Tech

CBS Sports (Jerry Palm)

Cotton Bowl- #2 Ohio State vs. #3 Cincinnati

Rose Bowl- Michigan vs. Oregon

Fiesta Bowl- Michigan State vs. Oklahoma State

Citrus Bowl- Iowa vs. Texas A&M

Outback Bowl- Wisconsin vs. Kentucky

Music City Bowl- Penn State vs. Arkansas

Las Vegas Bowl- Purdue vs. Arizona

Pinstripe Bowl- Minnesota vs. Virginia Tech

Guaranteed Rate Bowl- Maryland vs. Texas Tech

Quick Lane Bowl- Illinois vs. Toledo

College Football News

Cotton Bowl- #2 Ohio State vs. #3 Oklahoma State

Rose Bowl- Michigan vs. Oregon 

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Fiesta Bowl- Michigan State vs. Notre Dame

Citrus Bowl- Wisconsin vs. Texas A&M

Outback Bowl- Iowa vs. Mississippi State

Music City Bowl- Minnesota vs. Tennessee

Las Vegas Bowl- Purdue vs. Arizona State

Pinstripe Bowl- Penn State vs. Virginia

Guaranteed Rate Bowl- Maryland vs. Texas Tech

Quick Lane Bowl- Illinois vs. Western Michigan

247 Sports (Brad Crawford)

Orange Bowl- #2 Ohio State vs. #3 Oregon

Rose Bowl- Michigan vs. Utah

Citrus Bowl- Michigan State vs. Kentucky

Outback Bowl- Iowa vs. Texas A&M

Music City Bowl- Wisconsin vs. Arkansas

Las Vegas Bowl- Purdue vs. UCLA

Pinstripe Bowl- Penn State vs. Virginia

Guaranteed Rate Bowl- Minnesota vs. Texas Tech

Quick Lane Bowl- Maryland vs. Northern Illinois

USA Today (Erick Smith)

Cotton Bowl- #2 Ohio State vs #3 Cincinnati 

Rose Bowl- Michigan vs. Oregon

Citrus Bowl- Michigan State vs. Texas A&M 

Outback Bowl- Iowa vs. Kentucky 

Music City Bowl- Wisconsin vs. Arkansas

Las Vegas Bowl- Penn State vs. Washington State

Pinstripe Bowl- Purdue vs. Syracuse 

Guaranteed Rate Bowl- Minnesota vs. Fresno State

Quick Lane Bowl- Maryland vs. Northern Illinois

Now that you have seen all the projections from the seven experts, it might be confusing to determine the pecking order of each bowl game and how they compare to each other. Not to worry, we will break down the order of prominence for each bowl game the Big Ten competes in, as well as their conference tie-ins.

College Football Playoffs

If a Big Ten Team is a top four team at the end of the season, they will participate in the College Football Playoffs. The CFP games rotate annually, this year the semi-final games will be the Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl.

Watch: The Orange Bowl will take place in Miami Gardens, Fla. at Hard Rock Stadium, on Dec. 31 at either 2:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. Central time on ESPN

Watch: The Cotton Bowl will take place in Arlington, Texas at AT&T Stadium, on Dec. 31 at either 2:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. Central time on ESPN

The other bowl games:

1. Rose Bowl (vs. Pac 12)

Jan. 1 in Pasadena, Calif. at 4 p.m. Central time on ESPN

2. Citrus Bowl (vs. SEC):

Jan. 1 in Orlando, Fla. at 12 p.m. Central time on ABC

3. Outback Bowl (vs. SEC)

Jan. 1 in Tampa, Fla. at 11 a.m. Central time on ESPN2

4. Las Vegas Bowl (vs. Pac 12)

Dec. 30 at 9:30 p.m. Central time on ESPN

5. Music City Bowl (vs. SEC)

Dec. 30 at 2 p.m. Central time on ESPN

6. Pinstripe Bowl (vs. ACC)

Dec. 29 at 1:15 p.m Central time on ESPN

7. Guaranteed Rate Bowl (vs. Big 12)

Dec. 28 at 9:15 p.m. Central time on ESPN

8. Quick Lane Bowl (vs. MAC)

Dec. 27 at 10 a.m. Central time on ESPN

Note: The Redbox Bowl, located in San Francisco, Calif., would have been eighth in the order. However it has been cancelled for the second year in a row. It would have featured a Big Ten team taking on a team from the Pac-12.

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