After sending two teams to the College Football Playoff in the 2022 season, could the Big Ten be preparing to send a pair of teams back to the playoff next season? Ohio State and Michigan each received a spot in the playoff field last season, and the Buckeyes and Wolverines could be set to make another playoff run in 2023 after being tossed in the semifinals last season. But will Penn State have what it takes to make another New Years Six berth after winning the Rose Bowl last season? Will Luke Fickell have tremendous success in his first year at Wisconsin? And can Matt Rhule finally get Nebraska back into the postseason?
We may be months away from the start of the 2023 season, but it is never too early to start making bowl projections, right? That is what 247Sports has done with a spring edition of its way-too-early bowl projections for the 2023 season. And if these projections prove to be accurate, there will be a good number of Big Ten teams taking part in a bowl game next season, and it could be another year with two playoff bids.
Here is a look at the spring way-too-early bowl projections for Big Ten teams from 247Sports. You can view the entire list of bowl projections here.
Music City Bowl: Iowa vs. Florida
Guaranteed Rate Bowl: Michigan State vs. Texas Tech
Michigan State had a rough 2022 season but the odds are probably pretty good that the Spartans will at least make a return to the postseason next bowl season. The Spartans and Texas Tech may not be the sexiest matchup, but it does feel like one Michigan State could benefit from in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Arizona.
Las Vegas Bowl: Illinois vs. Pittsburgh
The Illinois Fighting Illini look poised for another positive season that could lead to a spot in a bowl game. And why not take Bret Bielema out to Las Vegas for a bowl game matchup with the Pitt Panthers. Bielema vs. Pat Narduzzi? Well, that could be entertaining.
Pinstripe Bowl: Purdue vs. Wake Forest
It looks like there could be plenty of black and gold in the Bronx in this season’s Pinstripe Bowl with a matchup of Purdue and Wake Forest in a Big Ten-ACC clash. Purdue played for the Big Ten championship this past season but the Boilermakers will have to settle for a bowl game in a baseball stadium according to 247Sports’ spring bowl projections.
ReliaQuest Bowl: Minnesota vs. South Carolina
Starting off the New Years Day bowl lineup could be the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who are expected to have a solid season once again in the Big Ten West. The Gophers could take on an interesting South Carolina team in the ReliaQuest Bowl, the new namesake of the old Outback Bowl. The name may have changed, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to order a bloomin’ onion for the game.
Citrus Bowl: Penn State vs. Tennessee
Penn State may not be making the New Years Six cut on these bowl projections, but getting a chance to end the year in a matchup with Tennessee could make for an entertaining end to the year. The Vols are coming off a strong season in 2022 and could be in for another good season. And Penn State has some good bowl history against the Vols.
Orange Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Florida State
The hiring of Luke Fickell by Wisconsin is expected by many to lead the Badgers quickly back to the top of the Big Ten West. And while the Rose Bowl is hosting a College Football Playoff matchup next bowl season (more on that in a bit), the Badgers could be landing in the Orange Bowl for a New Years Six matchup with potential ACC champion Florida State. According to the 247Sports bowl projections, Wisconsin just barely gets into the Orange Bowl ahead of Penn State.
Sugar Bowl, College Football Playoff: Ohio State vs. Georgia
Are you ready for a playoff rematch? Ohio State was as close to beating Georgia as anyone came last season but a missed field goal haunted the Buckeyes all offseason. But Ohio State could be right back in the playoff mix and paired up with the two-time defending national champions in the Sugar Bowl. Will Ohio State be able to finish the job this time around (possible spoiler alert below)?
Rose Bowl (College Football Playoff): Michigan vs. USC
Well this would be a dream scenario for the Big Ten. Michigan is the pick from 247Sports to win the Big Ten and claim a spot in the Rose Bowl in the College Football Playoff. And their opponent being USC, who is set to join the Big Ten in 2024, is icing on the cake. In what could be USC’s final game as a Pac-12 member, will the Trojans carry some bragging rights into the conference in year one?
College Football Playoff National Championship: Michigan vs. Georgia
If the third time’s the charm, then Michigan could be celebrating a national championship. The Wolverines are the spring way-too-early pick to take on Georgia in the national championship on the 247Sports bowl projections. Michigan’s third consecutive playoff appearance and Big Ten title could finally be capped with a national title for Jim Harbaugh, although a matchup with Georgia going for the first national title three-peat in nearly 90 years is no easy hurdle to clear (Minnesota’s run from 1934-1936 is the last three-peat national title run in the FBS).