By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) It was pretty surprising to see Michigan fall a spot to No. 16 in the BCS standings despite beating Ohio State Saturday. The fall puts the Wolverines’ BCS bowl chances in a little bit of jeopardy as they need to finish in the Top 14 of the BCS to be eligible for an at-large berth.
With Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan State all ranked ahead of Michigan, it still seems likely Michigan will jump up to the 14th spot, but you never know with these computers. The Wolverines also need to worry about Baylor, which is right behind them and plays Texas this weekend.
If Michigan does not make a BCS bowl, it will slide every Big Ten team down a bowl, but my projections this week still have the Wolverines in the Sugar Bowl:
Rose Bowl – Michigan State vs Oregon
The Spartans aren’t my official pick for Saturday’s Big Ten Championship Game, but at this point, I’m leaning toward a Michigan State victory. I think the Spartans are even better than they were when they beat Wisconsin earlier in the year, and while this game won’t be played in East Lansing, the Badgers are still having problems not giving up big plays in their secondary and special teams — the two areas that cost them against Michigan State before.
Sugar Bowl – Michigan vs Houston
Same as last week. Michigan’s improved defense faces a huge test against Case Keenum’s arm.
Capital One Bowl – Nebraska vs Arkansas
The Cornhuskers’ fan base is just too attractive to pass up. If Michigan doesn’t reach the BCS, it probably falls here, but even then, I wouldn’t rule out the Capital One sticking with Nebraska.
Outback Bowl – Wisconsin vs South Carolina
The Big Ten Championship Game loser likely goes to Tampa. This would be a fun matchup between South Carolina’s talented defense and Wisconsin’s prolific offense.
Insight Bowl – Ohio State vs Baylor
I’m changing this from last week not because Penn State suffered another loss, but rather because I was in Madison Saturday and there were hardly any Nittany Lions fans in attendance. It seems pretty obvious that fans are ready to turn the page from the awful sex abuse scandal that has rocked the program and the school. I can’t imagine many of them would travel to Arizona for another game. Plus, with Urban Meyer going to Ohio State, the Buckeyes are an attractive pick even though he won’t coach the game. Iowa played in this game last year, so they get passed.
Gator Bowl – Iowa vs Florida
Unfortunately this spoils the Urban Meyer vs. Florida angle (which really wouldn’t matter anyway because he’s not coaching the game), but the Gator Bowl will have to move on. The Hawkeyes always travel well whether the team is good or not. They’ll sell more tickets than Penn State at this point.
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas – Penn State
For a bowl like the Meineke Car Care Bowl, any publicity is good publicity. They wouldn’t pass on Penn State in favor of Purdue, Northwestern or Illinois.
TicketCity Bowl – Purdue
As I’ve been saying for weeks, the Boilermakers fan base is hungry for their first bowl appearance since 2007, even if it’s just the TicketCity Bowl. Purdue gets the nod over Northwestern.
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl – Northwestern vs Toledo
It would be fun to see the Wildcats play NIU in this game, but the MAC Champion goes to the GoDaddy.com Bowl and I think the Huskies will beat Ohio Friday night in the MAC Championship.
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl – Illinois vs UCLA
We’ll call this the battle between teams without head coaches. Assuming UCLA loses to Oregon, the Bruins — with a 6-7 record — will need to apply for a waiver to get into a bowl game.
Adam is the Sports Content Producer for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the Bears, White Sox and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.