Around the Big Ten | Matchups and power rankings for bowl season

Assistant Sports Editor Chris Werner previews the nine bowl matchups involving Big Ten teams and unfurls the season’s final conference power rankings.


Grace Smith

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy throws a pass during a football game between Iowa and No. 4 Michigan at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. McCarthy completed 18 out of 24 passes. The Wolverines defeated the Hawkeyes, 27-14.

Chris Werner, Assistant Sports Editor

Power rankings

  1. Michigan — I was the only on the line picker to correctly predict the outcome of this year’s Ohio State-Michigan game.
  2. Ohio State — Ohio State-Michigan for a national title? That’d be cool.
  3. Penn State — I think Penn State has been No. 3 in the power rankings all year.
  4. Purdue — Congrats on back-to-back blowout losses in the Big Ten title game, Charlie and Tyrone!
  5. Illinois — It’s going to be hard to rank all these teams because only two of them played last week. But Illinois looks right here.
  6. Iowa — The bowl game won’t be fun, but the 2023 season could.
  7. Minnesota — I still feel bad for Mohamed Ibrahim.
  8. Maryland — I don’t really know what to say about the Terrapins. They’re playing in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.
  9. Wisconsin — 2022 was the Badgers’ first non-winning regular season in quite a while.
  10. Nebraska — The Cornhuskers would be higher on this list if they were bowl eligible.
  11. Michigan State — An overtime loss to Indiana ended the Spartans’ bowl chances.
  12. Indiana — If you only have two conference wins, you go here.
  13. Rutgers — Congrats, you made it to basketball season.
  14. Northwestern — I would say it’s basketball season, but I’m not sure that will be much better.


Guaranteed Rate Bowl

Chase Field: Wisconsin (6-6, 4-5) @ Oklahoma State (7-5, 4-5)

Where/when to watch: Dec. 27 at 9:15 p.m. on ESPN | Line: WISC -3 | O/U: 43.5

With Graham Mertz in the transfer portal, Braelon Allen might have to catch the snap and hand the ball off to himself. If you aren’t a fan of these teams, you could use this broadcast as white noise to fall asleep to.

Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl 

Yankee Stadium: Syracuse (7-5, 4-4) @ Minnesota (8-4, 5-4)

Where/when to watch: Dec. 29 at 1 p.m. on ESPN | Line: MINN-7.5 | O/U: 42

Is this really Tanner Morgan’s final game for the Gophers? I swear he was there when I was born. Strange.

Duke’s Mayo Bowl 

Bank of America Stadium: Maryland (7-5, 4-5) @ NC State  (8-4, 4-4)

Where/when to watch: Dec. 30 at 11 a.m. on ESPN | Line: MARY -1 | O/U: 48

I’m here for the postgame mayo bath. Iowa needs to make this game before Kirk Ferentz retires. I need to see him doused in mayonnaise.

TransPerfect Music City Bowl

Nissan Stadium: Iowa (7-5, 5-4) @ Kentucky (7-5, 3-5)

Where/when to watch: Dec. 31 at 11 a.m. on ABC | Line: KENT  -2.5 | O/U: 31.5

This one will be tough for Iowa fans to watch. The Hawkeyes won’t have their top two quarterbacks. Their receiving room is also more like a closet at this point.

CFP Semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl

State Farm Stadium: TCU (12-1, 9-0) @ Michigan (13-0, 9-0)

Where/when to watch: Dec. 31 at 3 p.m. on ESPN | Line: MICH -7.5 | O/U: 59

I talked to Max Duggan’s dad for a story on former Iowa Kicker Caleb Shudak once. Jim Duggan coached Shudak at Lewis Central in Council Bluffs, Iowa. With all that said, this one won’t be very close. 

CFP Semifinal at the Peach Bowl

Mercedes-Benz Stadium: Ohio State (11-1, 8-1) @ Georgia (13-0 8-0)

Where/when to watch: Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. on ESPN | Line: GEO -6.5 | O/U: 61.5

I think Ohio State could beat Georgia. Maybe we won’t have to wait until November 2023 to watch the Buckeyes and Wolverines play again.

ReliaQuest Bowl

Raymond James Stadium: Mississippi State (8-4, 4-4) @ Illinois (8-4, 5-4)

Where/when to watch: Jan. 2 at 11 a.m. on ESPN2 | Line: MISS ST -1.0 | O/U: 46.5

I have few thoughts about this game. I think Illinois will win, and Bret Bielema will be happy. When Bret Bielema smiles, I feel comfy. 

Citrus Bowl

Camping World Stadium: LSU (9-4, 6-2) @ Purdue (8-5, 6-3)

Where/when to watch: Jan. 2 at 12 p.m. on ABC | Line: LSU -8 | O/U: 58

I really wanted LSU to face Notre Dame in a bowl this year. Brian Kelly and his fake accent wouldn’t know what to do. 

Rose Bowl Game

Rose Bowl: Penn State (10-2, 7-2) @

Where/when to watch: Jan. 2 at 4 p.m. on ESPN | Line: UTAH -2.5 | O/U: 52

I feel pretty safe in saying that Sean Clifford won’t pull a Caleb Williams and paint his nails for this one. I like the Nittany Lions in this one. Clifford has that cat in him.