When was the last time bowl projections were relevant around here? I know we haven’t bothered much with them in recent seasons because early in the year Purdue wasn’t expected to contend anyway and late in the year we were already eliminated. Even in 2012, Purdue last bowl season, Purdue was considered out of it until winning its last three games to go 6-6 and earn an unmerciful beating by Oklahoma State in Dallas.
After beating Missouri, however, a path to a bowl is there. The easiest way is to beat Rutgers and Illinois, two teams that are widely considered to be the two worst in the conference, then get 2 out of 4 from Northwestern, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Indiana. Seeing that happen is not impossible.
Now, where would Purdue go? Things have changed greatly the last five years since we could consider such things. Bowl tie-ins have changed. It has also gotten a lot more complicated with multiple bowls sharing years in which they can get a Big Ten team and such. Here is how it breaks down this year:
1. College Football Playoff – This season the semifinals are the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl.
2. Capitol One Orange Bowl vs. ACC or Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl vs. SEC – If the Big Ten champion is not in the playoff they will head to Miami for the Orange Bowl. If they are in the playoff and the Orange Bowl does not select a Big Ten team, the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl will pick a Big Ten team. Also, the Citrus Bowl agreement has a contract for five different teams in six years, so Minnesota or Michigan cannot go here.
3. Outback Bowl vs. SEC – From what I can read they will get the No. 2 selection, but in reality it is the No.3 selection as most likely the Big Ten champion will be in the playoff. They have the same “five different teams in six years” agreement here, so Wisconsin and Northwestern are out.
4. Holiday Bowl vs. Pac-12 – The Holiday bowl also has a “five different teams in six years”agreement, so Nebraska and Wisconsin are out of consideration here.
5. Tax Slayer Bowl or Music City Bowl vs. SEC - ACC and Big Ten combine with each getting three appearances in six years. The Big Ten played in TaxSlayer in 2015 and the Music City in 2016. There can be no Penn State or Iowa in TaxSlayer because of repeat rules.
6. New Era Pinstripe Bowl vs. ACC – The game at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx would prefer to avoid the same teams over an 8 year period, so it is unlikely they would pick Penn State, Indiana, or Northwestern.
7. Foster Farms Bowl vs. Pac-12 – They have a “five different teams in six years”agreement, so Indiana, Maryland, and Nebraska are out.
8. QuickLane Bowl vs. ACC – Back to Detroit, where we can win the same bowl under three different sponsors! At least it would be vs. an ACC team.
9. Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Big 12 – Last year the Big Ten was unable to fill this slot.
So it really is as simple as getting to six wins. Even if the Big Ten gets to 11 bowl teams there would likely be a spot somewhere open up in the ocean of 40 bowl games. The good news is that after beating Missouri Purdue is actually showing up in some bowl projections:
ESPN.com – QuickLane Bowl vs. Pitt – We have won in Detroit before twice over a directional Michigan school. Too bad the ACC spot couldn’t be filled by Eastern Michigan for the Directional Michigan Detroit Bowl Win Trifecta.
College Football News – Foster Farms Bowl vs. Stanford – This would be a virtual Stanford home game, but Stanford has yet to win this season in this hemisphere.
Sporting News – QuickLane Bowl vs. Georgia Tech – It is a battle of engineering schools and a test to see where Mike Bobinski’s true loyalties lie!
Off Tackle Empire – Multiple Bowls – this is mostly a collection of various writers, but three of their four have Purdue in a Bowl with the highest being Jerry Palm at CBS putting Purdue in the Outback vs. Mississippi State.
That’s just a few out there, so let’s make it happen!