Only one team will emerge as Big Ten champion -- and thus a lock for the College Football Playoff -- on Saturday night in Indianapolis. But for everyone else, the consolation prizes still could be very good.
So you lost the Big Ten championship game? Well, the Rose Bowl is a very good landing spot for the runner-up, provided it stays ranked ahead of Ohio State in the final selection committee rankings. That may be harder for Iowa to do than Michigan State, but either one would still be virtually guaranteed a New Year's Six bowl.
Ohio State probably won't get a chance to defend its title, unless some wacky stuff happens in other championship games this weekend (root hard for North Carolina, Florida and USC, Buckeyes fans). That's a bummer, but Ohio State would still end up in either the Rose Bowl or a New Year's Six game, possibly in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame. Think you might want to watch that matchup?
All is not lost, even for teams who finished with losing records. Thanks to Monday's NCAA ruling that APR will be the determining measure for teams with 5-7 records to go bowling, we know that Nebraska is, incredibly, making the postseason. Minnesota is also in good shape as the third team in line as a replacement. Even Illinois has a chance to sneak in, though we're leaving the Illini out this week because some five-win teams could win Saturday. Better safe than sorry at this point.
So who are we projecting to the playoff? I haven't decided yet on my Michigan State-Iowa pick, but the Spartans go into the game as the favorites. That gives them the nod in the projections. But thankfully, it will be decided on the field.
College Football Playoff: Michigan State
Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual: Iowa
Fiesta Bowl: Ohio State
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: Michigan
Outback Bowl: Northwestern
National University Holiday Bowl: Wisconsin
TaxSlayer Bowl: Penn State
New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Indiana
Foster Farms Bowl: Nebraska
Quick Lane Bowl: Minnesota
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: Not filled