Big Ten will need strong final month from struggling teams to fill 8 reserved bowl slots

Published November 05, 2013

| Associated Press

No. 4 Ohio State is chasing perfection and a chance play for a national championship. No. 18 Michigan State has the inside track to the Big Ten championship game.

Four other conference teams are bowl-eligible and Iowa could join that list with a win this weekend.

But with only four weeks left in the regular season, the Big Ten is looking at the possibility of coming up short in postseason play again — even before the bowl lineups are announced. With eight bowl tie-ins, six qualifiers and Iowa on the cusp, the last available spot will have to be filled by one of three teams that are a combined 1-12 in league play this season: Illinois, Indiana or Northwestern.