At this point, Northwestern is unlikely to get an at-large NY6 Bowl. Why? Because even at 10-2, NU would likely need to rise to #10 in the rankings to get that bid (#12 will be jumped by a Group of Five champion and #11 will be jumped by an automatic SEC bid in the Sugar Bowl). Yes, the SEC is likely to only have 1 team in the top 12 and that will be Alabama playing in the Final Four. Unfortunately, the Sugar Bowl still has to take an SEC team.
I don’t see a path for us to get as high as #10. But, all hope is not lost here.
It’s actually looking more plausible (albeit still incredibly unlikely) that the ‘Cats could make their way to a NY6 Bowl through the automatic bid provision.
What’s that, you ask? Isn’t the Rose Bowl the B1G’s automatic bid? Well….. it sure as shit is.
Here’s what needs to happen for this to play out:
1. NU beats Illinois
2. The B1G gets 2 teams in the Final Four
- a) Sparty wins out
- b) OSU beats Michigan handily
- c) Carnage occurs all around allowing OSU to back door their way to #4 and a spot int he playoff
3. Iowa loses soundly at Nebraska and (as part of 2a) then to Sparty
4. Michigan (by virtue of having 3 losses) and Iowa (by virtue of losing their final 2 games soundly) fall behind NU in the rankings
If 1, 2, 3 and 4 above were to all occur in the final 2 weeks of the season, NU would be guaranteed a Rose Bowl bid (likely against USC or UCLA… see more on that below).
For 2c to occur, a lot of craziness would have to go down. But, I lived through the final 2 weeks of the 2007 season and so did you. So, we know it’s possible. Here are some things that would help (note: not all of them are necessary, but the part in bold is and the first 2 are almost crucial):
- ND loses to Stanford
- Stanford loses to USC or UCLA in the Pac12 title game
- Iowa loses to Nebraska and Sparty (requirement #3 above anyways)
- Oklahoma loses to Oklahoma State (#Bedlam)
- Baylor loses to TCU (or Texas)
- Florida loses to Florida State
- Alabama loses to Florida (only if Florida loses to Florida State)
- Clemson loses to anyone
So, there are your rooting interests for the next 2 weeks.
Things have seemed to go right for the ‘Cats this year, so who knows what the final stretch may bring.