At the conclusion of Saturday’s schedule, the Big Ten had seven teams that had already clinched their bowl eligibility for the 2017 season. Though no new bowl tickets were punched on Saturday, Purdue’s upset win at Iowa and Indiana’s home rout of Rutgers assured the Big Ten of getting to eight bowl-eligible teams this season.
Purdue will host Indiana this week in one of the more important games in the rivalry in recent years as the winner will become bowl-eligible this season. That would be great news for the Big Ten, a sit would essentially guarantee the conference will manage to fill all of their partnered bowl spots for this season, although that could come up just short if one of the conference’s teams reaches the College Football Playoff. With Wisconsin still undefeated and Ohio State being discussed as a possible long shot to reach the playoff, this remains a realistic scenario. In addition to the Badgers and Buckeyes, the Big Ten also has bowl-eligible teams in Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan, Northwestern, and Iowa.
Here’s a look at the Big Ten’s bowl partners for the 2017 season, not including the Rose Bowl as it is being used as a College Football Playoff semifinal this year;
- Orange Bowl: The highest-ranked team available from the Big Ten, SEC, or Notre Dame will play a team from the ACC. Wisconsin or Penn State would appear to be in line for a possible invite.
- Outback Bowl: Vs. SEC
- Holiday Bowl: Vs. Pac-12
- TaxSlayer Bowl or Music City Bowl: The ACC and Big Ten split these bowl games, with each taking on a team from the SEC
- Pinstripe Bowl: Vs. ACC
- Foster Farms Bowl: Vs. Pac-12
- Quick Lane Bowl: Vs. ACC
- Heart of Dallas Bowl: Vs. Big 12
Because the Purdue vs. Indiana game must produce a six-win team, the Big Ten looks to be in great shape to fill out its bowl lineup. The only setback would be not being able to send any additional teams to other bowl games to fill in a spot where needed, unless five-win teams end up coming into play.
Minnesota is the only other five-win team on the Big Ten map right now with a chance to break through to a bowl game, but that may require beating Wisconsin for the first time since 2003 this week in order to hit the six-win requirement. Minnesota has reached a bowl game with five wins before, and it could still be in play under that scenario.