The Minnesota Golden Gophers finished the season on a positive note by beating the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday, 27-7. The season is indeed over for Minnesota, though as they join the Indiana Hoosiers as the only two Big Ten teams to not win six games and qualify for bowl game consideration.
The Big Ten conference regular season ended on Saturday with ten teams winning at least six game to be bowl eligible. According to the latest bowl projections from College Football News, there will be enough bowl games to go around for all ten teams, despite four teams (Ohio State, Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois) finishing with a 6-6 record.
Illinois finished 2-6 in the Big Ten (same as Minnesota) losing their last six games. The Fighting Illini may play in a bowl game but coach Ron Zook won't be coaching after being fired on Sunday. Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning will take over on an interim basis.
At the top of the conference, Wisconsin and Michigan State will play for a berth in the Rose Bowl at next Saturday's Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis. CFN has the loser missing out on the BCS and project Wisconsin to win and meet Oregon in the Rose Bowl. That leaves the Spartans in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando to play against Arkansas.
Michigan is sitting sweet in third place with a 10-2 record which keeps them projected to land a BCS at-large bid in the Sugar Bowl against the Houston Courgars.
Here is how College Football News projects bowl games for the Big Ten:
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl - Dec. 27 in Detroit, MI, 4:30PM
Northern Illinois vs. Northwestern
Insight Bowl - Dec. 30 in Tempe, AZ, 10:00PM
Ohio State vs. Baylor
Meineke Car Care Bowl - Dec. 31 in Houston, TX, 12:00PM
Iowa vs. Texas
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl - Dec. 31 in San Francisco, CA, 3:30PM
UCLA vs. Illinois
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
Capital One Bowl - Jan. 2 in Orlando, FL, 1:00PM
Michigan State vs. Arkansas
Rose Bowl presented by VIZIO - Jan. 2 in Pasadena, CA, 5:00PM
Oregon vs. Wisconsin
Allstate Sugar Bowl - Jan. 3 in New Orleans, LA, 8:30PM
Houston vs. Michigan