ESPN experts update bowl projections, include Ohio State in national championship game
With the first full weekend of games now officially in the past, it’s time for an update on bowl predictions.
ESPN.com‘s Mark Schlabach and Brett McMurphy shared their new projections on Tuesday for every bowl game.
The obvious highlight is not only do both have the same four teams in the College Football Playoff (Alabama, Florida State, Houston and Ohio State), but they also think Ohio State will play defending national champion Alabama for the title.
Here are the rest of their Big Ten predictions:
Illinois: NONE (Schlabach)/Quick Lane Bowl vs. North Carolina State (McMurphy)
Indiana: Quick Lane Bowl vs. Syracuse/Foster Farms Bowl vs. Utah
Iowa: Citrus Bowl vs. Tennessee/Music City Bowl vs. Ole Miss
Michigan: Rose Bowl vs. Stanford/Rose Bowl vs. Stanford
Michigan State: Outback Bowl vs. Ole Miss/Holiday Bowl vs. UCLA
Minnesota: Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Western Kentucky/Pinstripe Bowl vs. Pittsburgh
Nebraska: TaxSlayer Bowl vs. Florida/Outback Bowl vs. Florida
Northwestern: Pinstripe Bowl vs. Pittsburgh/NONE
Ohio State: CFP National Championship vs. Alabama/CFP National Championship vs. Alabama
Penn State: Foster Farms Bowl vs. Utah/Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Western Kentucky
Wisconsin: Holiday Bowl vs. Oregon/Citrus Bowl vs. Tennessee
Going by these projections, Northwestern now finds itself in big trouble. The Wildcats were a popular dark-horse pick to win the division, but now it’s going to be more of a climb just to make a bowl game.
Illinois gets a boost, however, as Schlabach thinks the Illini will make it to a bowl game in Lovie Smith’s first season. That would be a major accomplishment.
Finally, and not surprisingly, when it comes to the big bowls, both Ohio State and Michigan dominate Big Ten representation.