We’re only 10 days from the kickoff of Purdue football in 2022, and expectations are the highest they have been in quite some time. After a 9-4 year last year it is not so much “if” Purdue will make a bowl game, but “which bowl”. There are so many bowls these days that just making it to six wins in a major conference pretty much guarantees eligibility. Even five is enough if there are empty slots and your APR is high enough, as Rutgers showed us last year.
There are plenty of destinations too. According to DraftKings Sports book the over/under for wins this year for Purdue is 7.5, so that opens things up to a wide variety of destinations. The Big Ten officially has a tie-in the the following bowl games. They are listed in the order that the bowls get to select (as the bowls get to select from any conference eligible team, so it is not necessarily based on standings):
Rose Bowl - January 2 - The Big Ten champ goes here unless they are in the CFP semifinals (Peach and Fiesta this year). If the Big Ten champ goes there it is HIGHLY likely the next best Big Ten team will go to Pasadena. The Pac-12 has the same arrangement. It is possible that as many as three Big Ten teams can go to New Year’s Six bowl games, as happened this past year with Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State.
Citrus Bowl - January 2 - This is against an SEC team and the highest non-playoff bowl for a Big Ten team.
Reliaquest Bowl - January 2 - A moment of silence, as Outback Steakhouse is no longer the sponsor of this Tampa bowl game at the home of the Bucs. This would also come against an SEC team.
Duke’s Mayo Bowl - December 30 - This one is played in Charlotte at the home of the Carolina Panthers against an ACC opponent.
TransPerfect Music City Bowl - December 31 - We’re quite familiar with this game, but it is extremely unlikely we would face an SEC team in Nashville for the third time in five years, as they like to mix things up.
Pinstripe Bowl - December 29 - Who doesn’t want to play in another baseball stadium, this time in late December? This would be against an ACC opponent in Yankee Stadium.
Guaranteed Rate Bowl - December 27 - Another baseball stadium! This time it is in a desert at the home of the Diamondbacks against a Big 12 team
QuickLane Bowl - December 26 - Finally, Purdue can realize the dream of beating three Directionals Michigan in the Detroit Bowl under three different names (applies only if we face Eastern Michigan as the MAC rep).
Last season the Big Ten had nine teams reach bowl eligibility, so the QuickLane spot we left open since three went to the New Year’s Six bowls. Rutgers was a last minute tag-in for the Gator Bowl due to COVID and APR, giving the conference a 10th bowl team. Indiana, Northwestern, Nebraska, and Illinois stayed home.
It is pretty safe to say Purdue will go to any of the above bowls except the Music City Bowl again. If it wins the West and reaches the Big Ten title game a New Years Six bowl is a real possibility, especially if Purdue is something like 10-2.
I think more likely we’re anywhere between the Citrus and Guaranteed Rate Bowls. Let’s see where the experts have us.
ESPN.com - Guaranteed Rate Bowl - Mark Schlabach has Purdue playing TCU, while Kyle Bonagura believes it will be Kansas State. Both agree Purdue is headed to Phoenix.
Brent McMurphy, The Action Network - Duke’s Mayo Bowl - Brent is picking us to play Florida State, which would be a first time opponent for the program. It would be mere weeks after yet another ACC/Big Ten challenge basketball game against the Seminoles.
CBS Sports - Guaranteed Rate Bowl - Another basketball opponent. This time it would be West Virginia, a team Purdue has not played since 1996.
CFB News - First Responder Bowl - CFB News is weird in that they think the Big Ten will have so many eligible teams that we get bumped to the DFW area in a virtual home game against TCU.
Athlon Sports - Pinstripe Bowl - I really wanted to play North Carolina in 2022, but we had to go and lose to St. Peter’s in a frigid baseball stadium in New York doesn’t sound as cool.