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2011 Bowl Projections: Big Ten In Mix For Two BCS Bowl Bids?

After Saturday's action, the Big Ten has plenty of bowl game intrigue building. The Northwestern Wildcats' win over the Minnesota Gophers added Northwestern to the group of bowl-eligible teams from the Big Ten which now stands at nine teams. If the Purdue Boilermakers can beat the Indiana Hoosiers next week for their sixth win, that number will grow to ten. 

Nothing is guaranteed for a six-win team if there isn't a slot in a bowl game available, but projections point toward the Pac 12 and Conference USA not being able to fill all of their bowl games which should open up room for all of the bowl-eligible Big Ten teams.

At the top of the bowl tier, things are also looking better for the Big Ten. While the conference hasn't factored in the BCS for a few weeks, the big losses this week by Oregon, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have jumbled the picture which could end up benefiting the Big Ten. According to the latest projections from College Football News, Michigan may be able to slip into a BCS game if they finish the season 10-2 by beating Ohio State.

In this scenario, Michigan State is punished for making the Big Ten championship game and, according to the projection, losing to Wisconsin which would leave the Spartans with three losses. Subjectivity kicks in from there since Michigan is a great draw for big bowl games thanks to their fan base.

Here is how College Football News projects the Big Ten bowl games:

Gildan New Mexico Bowl - Dec. 17 in Albuquerque, NM, 2:00PM ET

San Diego State vs. Northwestern

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl - Dec. 27 in Detroit, MI, 4:30PM

Northern Illinois vs. Illinois

Insight Bowl - Dec. 30 in Tempe, AZ, 10:00PM

Ohio State vs. Oklahoma

Meineke Car Care Bowl - Dec. 31 in Houston, TX, 12:00PM

Iowa vs. Texas A&M

Ticket City Bowl - Jan. 2 in Dallas,TX, 12:00PM

Purdue vs. Iowa State

Gator Bowl - Jan. 2 in Jacksonville, FL, 1:00PM

Nebraska vs. Florida

Outback Bowl - Jan. 2 in Tampa, FL, 1:00PM

Penn State vs. Georgia

Capitol One Bowl - Jan. 2 in Orlando, FL, 1:00PM

Michigan State vs. Arkansas

Rose Bowl - Jan. 2 in Pasadena, CA, 5:00PM

Oregon vs. Wisconsin

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Jan. 3 in New Orleans, LA, 8:30PM

Houston vs. Michigan

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.