With two of its bowl spots in jeopardy, and the only two eligible teams playing as underdogs, the Big Ten got the best it could realistically hope for. One of the bids was saved, and only the Motor City berth, at the bottom of the pecking order will fall by the wayside.
Minnesota rescued one of the bids with a 34-24 win over Iowa that they had command of throughout. The Gophers are probably headed for the Insight Bowl, where they will play a midlevel Big 12 team. The game capped a complete collapse by Iowa. The Hawkeyes lost whatever minimal chance they had of a New Year's Day game, ended the season at .500 and had to end it by getting thumped by their archrival. Pat Harty, writing on Hawk Central, says this team has a lot of work to do before they get a last shot at redemption in late December.
The last bowl slot slipped away when Indiana lost at Purdue. It was a missed opportunity for the Hoosiers, who lost their last three games. But Bob Kravitz at The Indianapolis Star rightly lauds the program for the progress they made, and for the coach who inspired them through his medical struggles.