Ohio State Buckeyes: Norwood Teague

With just one week to go before championship week, we know exactly which Big Ten teams are going bowling and which ones are staying home. And we've got some big changes in our bowl projections.

For the first time, we are now projecting the conference to get an at-large bid. Our thinking goes like this: Oregon's loss to Arizona (thanks, RichRod!) means the Pac-12 could be limited to one bid. If Clemson loses to South Carolina this week, the Tigers might not get an at-large bid coming off a loss. And Orange Bowl officials, who are desperate to fill seats after some undesirable matchups in recent years, would rather bet on a Big Ten team and its huge fan base than on Baylor, a program that has trouble filling its own stadium.

So which Big Ten team do we see heading to Miami? Right now, it's Wisconsin. We think the Badgers, who should end the year on a seven-game winning streak, get the slight nod over Michigan State, which will be an underdog to Ohio State in the Big Ten title game. But check back with us on that in a week.

That keeps Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl for now. We have a potential 9-3 Nebraska going back to Florida in the Outback Bowl, while Iowa -- which could finish two wins behind the Huskers unless it pulls off the victory in Lincoln on Friday -- heads back to familiar territory in Phoenix.

The Gator Bowl would choose between Minnesota and Michigan, two squads likely ending the season on losing streaks. Although Gator Bowl officials have been known for going with the big name (see: a 6-6 Ohio State team in 2011), there's way more enthusiasm around Minnesota than Michigan right now. Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague has some selling to do, but we think he'll get the job done and get the Gophers to Jacksonville. That puts Michigan in the Texas Bowl.

The full projections:

Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO, Jan. 1: Ohio State
Discover Orange Bowl, Jan. 3: Wisconsin
Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1: Michigan State
Outback Bowl, Jan. 1: Nebraska
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 28: Iowa
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, Jan. 1: Minnesota
Texas Bowl, Dec. 27: Michigan
Heart of Dallas Bowl, Jan. 1: Not filled
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Dec. 26: Not filled

Big Ten chat wrap: Nov. 7

November, 7, 2013
11/07/13
6:00
PM ET
My first chat of November is in the books. Did you miss it? Check out the full transcript here.

Some highlights:

DJ from Mlps: When reading bowl projections, one thing that always seems to come up is Minnesota having a bad reputation for traveling fan support. In fairness, Minnesota hasn't played on New Year's Day in over 50 years and I believe that Minnesotans would flood any warm destination to a Bowl Game of more prominence. We had the largest fan support in our run to the NCAA Final Four in 1997 (since taken off the books). Can Minnesota get past this reputation issue? Hoping for a Gator Bowl bid if we can knock off Penn St. this weekend!

Adam Rittenberg: DJ, some good points here. Ultimately, it's Norwood Teague's job to sell Minnesota to the bowl reps. I've had multiple bowl people tell me Minnesota travels worse than any fan base in the Big Ten, but part of that could be apathy about the bowls the Gophers have made. There's certainly some enthusiasm around the program right now, and a New Year's Day bowl would only enhance that. I don't think you can compare a Final Four to, say, a Gator Bowl appearance, but Minnesota will have opportunities to sell why it should go to a good bowl.




Matthew from Winston Salem: If you had to pick one coordinator from the B1G to be head coach of your team, who would you pick and why?

Adam Rittenberg: I'd go with MSU defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, and not just because I like him personally and would love to cover his teams. Narduzzi would instill the type of defense that could take a bad or middling program to the next level. Recruits would want to play for him, especially on defense. Narduzzi also has matured a little and should handle the head-coaching spotlight better than he would have a few years ago. I also think Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda is a future head coach, but Narduzzi is further along in his career.




Mike from Texas: Does Urban win coach of the year? Or is OSU just ineligible for the award?

Adam Rittenberg: Mike, I'm going to write this soon, but if Ohio State runs the table again, Urban absolutely should win the award. It shouldn't just go to a first-year coach or one who improves a middling team. We haven't seen a Big Ten team go undefeated in back-to-back years for a very long time. It's absurd that an Ohio State coach can't seem to win the award, but that should end this year if the Buckeyes win out.




Steven from Madison, Wis.: If the coaching hires were reversed for Purdue and Wisconsin, how do you see this season shaping up for each team? (i.e. is Wisconsin doing better because of better players in the system, or is Anderson a better coach?)

Adam Rittenberg: Interesting question, Steven. Gary Andersen certainly deserves credit for Wisconsin's success, and for keeping the team on track after the Arizona State debacle. But let's be honest here. Andersen inherited a great situation in Madison, one you almost never see for a new coach. Wisconsin has 25 seniors, a defensive superstar in Chris Borland, two exceptional running backs and other standouts. Hazell stepped into a much shakier situation at Purdue. Does that absolve him of blame for a team that might be the worst in recent Big Ten history? No. But the situations are very different and the coach can only do so much.




Mike from Detroit: Rich Rod struggled his first year at UM and the excuse was that Lloyd Carr left the cupboard bare. Rich Rod's teams gradually got better when "his" recruits arrived. Brady Hoke went 11-2 with seemingly all of Rich Rod's recruits. Now UM seems to be getting gradually worse on the field as more of Brady Hoke's recruits come in and Rich Rod's graduate or leave. Does that not seem like there may be a coaching issue at Schembechler Hall?

Adam Rittenberg: There could be, Mike, but let's keep in mind that Hoke is still on track to win more games this season than Rodriguez ever did at Michigan. He has opportunities still to beat some of the Big Ten's better teams, which Rodriguez never did. Is his tenure a failure so far? By his own standards, yes. But three years isn't enough time, especially when the recruiting seemingly has been so strong. Like I said before, if we're still sitting here in 2015 and Michigan isn't winning the Big Ten, a change may be in order.

Thanks again for the questions. Let's do it again next week.

Big Ten lunchtime links

October, 10, 2013
10/10/13
12:00
PM ET
There's highs, there's lows, the roller coaster is out of control.
  • Michigan State linebacker Max Bullough may have a nose for the football, but he can't actually smell anything since he was born without that sense.
  • The bye week helped Devin Gardner relax, and the Michigan quarterback had much better results to show for it last weekend to keep the Wolverines unbeaten.
  • Bill O'Brien stopped by Nittanyville, and the Penn State coach wound up showing off his basketball skills in a dunk contest.
  • Ameer Abdullah might lack some size, but the Nebraska running back more than makes up for it with power that even far bigger defenders can't match.
  • Sean Robinson is in position to offer advice to a quarterback making his first start or one transitioning to defense. He's done both himself, making the Purdue linebacker an invaluable resource for Danny Etling and Rob Henry.
  • The Wisconsin receivers measure themselves with a statistic that doesn't show up in the box score, taking pride in their blocking and counting "knockdowns."
  • Northwestern receiver Rashad Lawrence is kicking himself over the longest play of his career, disappointed he couldn't turn it into a touchdown against Ohio State.
  • Held without a reception last weekend, Illinois is looking to get receiver Ryan Lankford back in the mix and the offense back on track during the bye week.
  • Kyle Rowland digs into Ohio State's official performance reviews of the coaching staff through its first season on the job.
  • Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague has "no question" about who his football coach is despite Jerry Kill's health issues.

Big Ten lunchtime links

October, 8, 2013
10/08/13
12:00
PM ET
The Bro Code has been around for centuries. Nay, whatever's more than centuries.

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