Are the Cats and Corey WOOT!ton going to Disney World?
It looks like it. But first, let's recap last week:
- Northwestern beat Illinois, clinching a bowl (7-win teams have to be selected before 6 win teams by NCAA rule, although there may be some convoluted Big Ten rule that says that a 7 win team can get passed up for a 6 win team so long as the 7 win team will still have a Big Ten affiliated bowl to go to....can someone, ANYONE clarify what exactly the Big Ten bowl selection rules are?) and eliminating the Illini.
- Wisconsin beat Michigan and PSU beat Indiana, eliminating Indiana and almost guaranteeing Michigan is out, too (unless they can pull a huge upset against OSU).
- Unfortunately, Minnesota and MSU won, giving them each 6 wins. Now, I DOUBT that either team will win this week....but still, they are within one game of us.
- North Carolina beat Miami, Pitt beat "that school in South Bend", and "that team in Palo Alto" beat USC, all of which helped the Cats' chances for a better bowl, since they increased the odds that Iowa/PSU/Wisconsin gets selected for a BCS at-large.
Following Week 11, Iowa and PSU are 13 and 14, respectively, in the BCS, meaning they are in the top-15 cutoff for at-large selection. Since Pitt and Cincy play each other, one of them will fall. The SEC can only get 2 teams in by rule, so LSU's high ranking right now is irrelevant -- the SEC is sending Florida and Alabama to BCS bowls unless something insane happens. TCU and, increasingly, Boise State both look like safe bets for at-large spots, although a greedy bowl could deny Boise State.
No, the biggest challenge to the Big Ten (and the best/most prestigious bowl slot for NU) is Oklahoma State. We'll have more on this in Week 12's "WOOT!ing Interests" column, but needless to say, we need Oklahoma to beat the Cowboys in Norman to help guarantee 2 Big Ten BCS teams.
Now, as for Northwestern....I'm thinking we're heading one of 2 places. The odds on favorite is the Champs Bowl -- which would be perfect for me, since I'll be home in Florida just 2 hours from Orlando on December 29th. The second likely option is the Insight Bowl. For whatever reason, I don't see the Alamo Bowl taking Northwestern again, just because they want to mix it up a bit.
Tune in later this week for more "WOOT!ing Interests", as the Cats march on to bowl season!