Entering Week 10 of the college football season, every Power 5 program was still alive in their aims for a bowl bid — although in some cases, that was only mathematically.
Two teams from the Big Ten and one from the SEC saw their bowl hopes dashed on Saturday. In the Big Ten, Illinois resigned Rutgers to only watching bowl games on TV with a 38-10 win. The Scarlet Knights haven’t been bowling since 2014. Perhaps the Big 10’s biggest disappointment is Northwestern. After winning the West division last season, the Wildcats are 1-7 overall and winless in conference. Northwestern was blasted by Indiana on Saturday in Bloomington, 34-3. The Wildcats won’t be playing in a bowl game for the first time since 2014.
Mississippi State roasted Arkansas’ bowl hopes on Saturday with a 54-24 win. In two years under head coach Chad Morris, the Razorbacks are 4-17. This will be the third straight season that Arkansas misses a bowl.
While three Power 5 teams saw their bowl hopes die, five more became bowl-eligible. Virginia, Pittsburgh, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M all collected their sixth wins this past week.
- Bowl-Eligible Teams: Clemson (9-0), Wake Forest (7-1), Pittsburgh (6-3), Virginia (6-3)
- Bowl-Eligible Hopefuls: Virginia Tech (5-3), Louisville (5-3), NC State (4-4), Boston College (5-4), Miami (5-4), Duke (4-4)
- On the Brink: Florida State (4-5), North Carolina (4-5), Syracuse (3-6), Georgia Tech (2-6)
- Eliminated: None
- Overview: At least one more ACC team will become bowl-eligible this week as Miami and Louisville square off. Georgia Tech will have to win at Virginia to avoid becoming the first team in the conference to be eliminated.
Big 12 (4)
- Bowl-Eligible Teams: Baylor (8-0), Oklahoma (7-1), Kansas State (6-2), Oklahoma State (6-3)
- Bowl-Eligible Hopefuls: Iowa State (5-3), Texas (5-3), TCU (4-4)
- On the Brink: West Virginia (3-5), Kansas (3-6), Texas Tech (3-5)
- Eliminated: None
- Overview: Kansas is the only team in the Big 12 with six losses. Texas and Iowa State would have to beat ranked teams to become bowl-eligible this week.
Big Ten (7)
- Bowl-Eligible Teams: Minnesota (8-0), Ohio State (8-0), Penn State (8-0), Indiana (7-2), Michigan (7-2), Iowa (6-2), Wisconsin (6-2)
- Bowl-Eligible Hopefuls: Illinois (5-4), Michigan State (4-4)
- On the Brink: Nebraska (4-5), Maryland (3-6), Purdue (3-6)
- Eliminated: Rutgers (2-7), Northwestern (1-7)
- Overview: This week’s slate of Big Ten teams features two matchups of ranked teams, headlined by Penn State’s visit to Minnesota. The conference is the only Power 5 league with two teams out of bowl contention. That number could double, as Maryland visits Ohio State and Northwestern hosts Purdue.
- Bowl-Eligible Teams: Oregon (8-1), Utah (8-1)
- Bowl-Eligible Hopefuls: Arizona State (5-3), Washington (5-4), USC (5-4), California (4-4), Oregon State (4-4), Stanford (4-4), Washington State (4-4)
- On the Brink: Arizona (4-5), UCLA (4-5), Colorado (3-6)
- Eliminated: None
- Overview: The Pac-12 has the fewest bowl-eligible teams of any Power 5 conference. Either Arizona State or USC will add to that number this week. In total, 9 of the conference’s 12 teams have either four or five wins.
- Bowl-Eligible Teams: Alabama (8-0), LSU (8-0), Georgia (7-1), Auburn (7-2), Florida (7-1), Texas A&M (6-3)
- Bowl-Eligible Hopefuls: Missouri (5-3), Kentucky (4-4)
- On the Brink: Mississippi State (4-5), Ole Miss (3-6), South Carolina (4-5), Tennessee (4-5), Vanderbilt (2-6)
- Eliminated: Arkansas (2-7)
- Overview: Missouri has to win at Georgia for another SEC school to earn a bowl this week. Among the Power 5, the SEC has the most schools with a losing record with six.
Photo courtesy of Northwestern athletics