After winning yesterday in Bloomington Purdue clinched the 19th bowl game in school history. I have been a Purdue fan a long time and I remember going to games in the 90s when we had been to only five postseason games. Then Joe Tiller game and we went to 10 in 12 years. Danny Hope added two more and now Jeff Brohm has a pair as he rebuilds the program. It is nice to be a regular in the postseason and our bowl streak is now even longer than both Florida State and USC.
But where are we going?
Well, that is the tricky part. The Big Ten officially has 9 bowl tie-ins. Also, nine teams are officially bowl eligible as Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Purdue, Minnesota, and Iowa all reached at least six wins. That means we’re going somewhere for sure.
The playoff and the other four New Year’s Six bowls factor in pretty largely on where we go. Ohio State has the only realistic shot of making the playoff and they have to beat Northwestern to get there. If not, they will still go to a New Year’s Six bowl. Michigan seems likely to take a New Year’s Six bowl as well even after getting trashed by Ohio State. Northwestern can crash the party, as if they upset the Buckeyes in Indianapolis they will go to the Rose Bowl. Penn State could also get picked even at 9-3 because they are currently in the top 12.
If the Big Ten gets three teams into the big money bowls that moves Purdue up a bit, and they seem very likely to get two. If Ohio State wins they go to the Rose Bowl unless they jump into the top 4 and the playoff.
So let’s assume for a moment that Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan all end up in the big money bowls. Northwestern would jump Penn State if they beat the Buckeyes in Indy. That leaves six teams: Northwestern (or Penn State), Purdue, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and Michigan State. The Citrus Bowl would have the next selection and their agreement is for five different teams in six years. They have already had Michigan and Minnesota of late, so they would probably take Northwestern. If Penn State doesn’t go to a big money bowl they likely go here.
After that we have the Outback Bowl, which also has an agreement for five different teams in six years. Iowa, Wisconsin, Northwestern, and Michigan have already played there over the course of the agreement, so assuming Northwestern goes to Orlando the Outback would likely choose between Purdue, Michigan State, and Minnesota. I think they would take Michigan State here.
Following the Outback is the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. They also have a five different teams in six years clause and Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan State have already been during the agreement. If Northwestern and Michigan State are already off the board that leaves them choosing between Purdue and Iowa, most likely. I know we beat Iowa, but they would probably pick the Hawkeyes because they had a better overall record.
We then have the Taxslayer Bowl, which has already had Penn State and Iowa. This seems like a very possible destination for Purdue against an SEC team. Wisconsin is still on the board, however, and they did beat us. Let’s put the Badgers here.
So we have Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State in the New Year’s six, Northwestern in the Citrus, Michigan State in the Outback, Iowa in the Holiday, and Wisconsin in the Taxslayer. That leaves Purdue and Minnesota. From there, it would be pretty easy. The Pinstripe Bowl and Red Box (Formerly Foster Farms) Bowls are next and we already went to the Bay Area last season. We would almost certainly be headed to New York to play an ACC team and the Gophers would be headed out west.
Now, who would we play from the ACC? The Pinstripe has a similar agreement with the ACC to have a bunch of different teams over six years. They have had Boston College twice, Duke, and Pittsburgh. Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Virginia, and Miami seem like plausible opponents, with Virginia Tech as a wild card because they will host Marshall this coming week to gain bowl eligibility. There is no guarantee they beat an 8-3 Marshall, either.
In the event only two Big Ten teams get into the New Year’s Six bowls the last slot in the pecking order is the Quicklane Bowl in Detroit. We’ve already done this twice, but that was under the old agreement. It, too, would be against an ACC team and SB Nation projects us going there to face Wake Forest.
So, in short, it seems like we have three strong possibilities: The Taxslayer in Jacksonville on New Year’s Day vs. the SEC, the Pinstripe at Yankee Stadium on December 27th vs. the ACC, or the QuickLane Bowl in Detroit on December 26th vs. the ACC. It also would be unlikely we would face Boston College as an ACC opponent or Missouri as an SEC opponent since the bowls would try to avoid a regular season rematch if possible.