The past weekend settled almost everything in the conference. Penn State and Ohio State share the title, but Penn State gets the bid to the BCS by virtue of their victory over the Buckeyes. Michigan State, Northwestern, and Iowa comprise the conference's second tier, while Wisconsin and Minnesota round out the bowl-eligible squads.
Still, right now, we can only say for sure that Penn State will play in the Rose Bowl, unless about 35 miracles happen which would put them in the title game. After that, you'll need to call on a witch doctor with a PhD in reading chicken entrails to figure out everyone else's fate.
As I suggested last week, the Big Ten bowl picture depends heavily on a team that's not in the Big Ten. This weekend's Oregon-Oregon State Civil War is the key that unlocks the prize vault. If the Beavers win, USC gets the last BCS at-large berth; if not, it probably goes to Ohio State. Since everyone who's bet against the Beavers has looked foolish lately, let's assume Oregon State wins this weekend. Where does that leave everybody? Who gets the big check? Who gets stuck with the What's Left Of The Motor City Bowl?
Ohio State would wind up in the Capital One Bowl against Georgia, or at least some SEC team that isn't Florida or Alabama. The Buckeyes have been pretty solid since losing to Penn State, so they might actually stand a chance.
The next pick goes to the Outback Bowl, the sole remaining New Year's Day slot for the Big Ten. Thus, this one is highly coveted. By all rights it should go to Michigan State, who would get another team from the SEC, likely South Carolina. There can't be two coaches on the planet more opposite than Mark Dantonio and Steve Spurrier, so this just needs to happen.
This is the Alamo Bowl's year to pick fourth, and although Northwestern would be the next best choice, don't be shocked if they pick Iowa and throw the Hawkeyes up against Nebraska. Those two teams will resume their non-conference series around 201Never, so enjoy it while you can.
The Champs Sports people aren't dumb and wouldn't have a choice of who to pick anyway, though the thought of a 9-3 Northwestern team going up against a 7-5 ACC squad doesn't thrill me, either. This isn't the way Pat Fitzgerald wanted to get a ten-win season, but hey, take it however it comes.
The last two bowls to pick are the Insight and the vaunted Motor City Bowl, and all they have to decide is who gets Wisconsin and who gets Minnesota. Insight picks first and will take the Badgers, but it should be the other way around. Wisconsin gets a matchup against Kansas, according to absolutely everyone, while Brewster's Bruisers will get an undefeated Ball State team that is probably even less excited about being there than they are.
Meanwhile, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Purdue find themselves standing barefoot in the kitchen of despair, stepping in the melted ice cream of high expectations which has dripped from the unplugged freezer of missed opportunities onto the linoleum floor of bitterness. But at least it's basketball season, right?
Conference Call: Big 10 Is All Over Except for the Shouting in Corvallis originally appeared on NCAA Football FanHouse on Tue, 25 Nov 2008 17:00:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.