This week’s bowl projections have a new look with the Big Ten schools planning to start play next month. While much remains uncertain until the conference kicks off Oct. 24, teams are now included in the forecast starting this week.
Ohio State is the clear beneficiary from the Big Ten decision. The Buckeyes are poised to have one of the top teams in the country. It didn’t hurt their cause that their crossover games match them with Nebraska at home and at Illinois on the road. That leaves a road trip to Penn State and the conference championship as the two biggest roadblocks on Ohio State’s College Football Playoff path.
That addition of the Buckeyes into the playoff means subtraction for the SEC, which was poised to have two teams selected given their 10-game league schedule. The dynamic changes. With Georgia and Alabama playing each other in the regular season and potentially the conference title game, the winner of the first Oct. 17 game might have to do it again two months later to make the field.
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The Big Ten reversal also changes some of the New Year’s Six matchups as Penn State and Wisconsin move into that group and also allows for some of the other prominent games to be projected. More games will be added when there is more certainty to the bowl schedule.