On Sunday the entire bowl game lineup for the 2022 season will be locked in once and for all. And as the bowl games are being filled, the Big Ten could be leaving one of its bowl tie-ins without a Big Ten team. With the Big Ten sending two teams to the College Football Playoff, the Big Ten will not be able to fill all of its bowl slots.
Michigan and Ohio State are both expected to be in the College Football Playoff. Michigan is the lock at 13-0 with the Big Ten championship. Ohio State, at 11-1, needed just a little bit of help over the weekend and may have gotten it from Utah, who knocked USC into the two-loss category in the Pac-12 championship game. With two teams in the playoff, that bumps everyone else in the Big Ten’s bowl lineup up one spot, including Penn State going to the Rose Bowl despite finishing in third place in the Big Ten East this season.
The bowl spots expected to be filled by the Big Ten after the Rose Bowl include the Citrus Bowl (vs. SEC), ReliaQuest Bowl (vs. SEC), Music City Bowl (vs. SEC), Duke’s Mayo Bowl (vs. ACC), Pinstripe Bowl (vs. ACC), and Guaranteed Rate Bowl (vs. Big 12). Those spots could be filled by the rest of the Big Ten’s bowl-eligible teams; Purdue, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Maryland. The lone remaining bowl game would be the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit, which pairs a Big Ten team up with a team from the MAC.
While the Big Ten will certainly not be hurting by not being able to fill all of its contracted bowls, it will be more than making up for it with two teams dipping into the College Football Playoff revenue pool, so it’s a win for the Big Ten anyway.
This is also a win for a team like New Mexico State, an FBS independent that finished the year at 6-6, although two of those wins came against FCS opponents. New Mexico State has already received approval from the NCAA to be bowl eligible, which was needed as only one win against an FCS team can count toward a team’s win total for bowl eligibility without NCAA approval.
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