The Bowl Page



Upset Win Over Minny
Causes Big Changes to Bowl Odds

Last week, we wrote on The Bowl Page that "while there are no expectations this fall that NU will achieve enough wins to eke out a bowl berth, the 'Cats still have a (long) shot, and their chances might just rest on this Saturday's night game against Minnesota at Ryan field. The Gophers looked vulnerable in their last game-- like NU, Minnesota played a superior opponent on the road in North Carolina."

The 'Cats shocked Minnesota in the fourth quarter, coming back from a 21-point deficit to win in overtime. The win gives NU a .500 record at the one-third marker for the season, with several winnable games still to come. As a result, the HTP bowl projections have shifted significantly.

HTP Bowl Projections

While HTP still predicts no bowl for NU this year, the current odds of NU making a bowl game are 27%, a huge jump from last week's 9%.

Our models predict a decent chance that a five-win NU would make it into a bowl. However, as the season continues this factor could change if it becomes clear that the FBS will be able to field an adequate supply of six-win teams to fill all bowl slots.

The next update to the projections will post after the Penn State game.

Schedule of Possible Bowls, 2023-24
AND Schedule for the 2023 Big Ten Championship Game
(and Date)
(may change)
NU's Chances1
(as of 9/24/23)

Big Ten Title Game:

West #1
vs. East #1
Big Ten Championship
Lucas Oil Stadium
Dec. 2, 2023
Fox 8%


Tier Two
Big Ten #2-3

Citrus (vs. SEC/ACC)
Jan 1

ABC 1%
ReliaQuest2 (vs. SEC)
Jan. 1

Tier Three
Big Ten #4-7
Gator (B1G or ACC vs. SEC)
(Not likely to select B1G in 2023)
Dec. 29

Las Vegas (vs. Pac-12)
Dec. 23
Music City (vs. SEC)
Dec. 30

Pinstripe (vs. ACC)
Dec. 28
Tier Four
Big Ten #8-9

Guaranteed Rate (vs. Big 12)
Dec. 26

ESPN 13%
Quick Lane (vs. MAC)
Dec. 26

At Large
Non-Aligned Bowl
n/a 4%
No Go
No bowl for NU: most / all bowls canceled
n/a <1%
No Go
No bowl for NU: NU does not qualify / is not invited
n/a 73%

1. The likelihood of each bowl is a simple projection by  The likelihood numbers are additive.  So, if for instance the chance for a tier three bowl is given as 10%, that should NOT be read as saying that NU has only a 10% chance of making any bowl at that level or higher.  To calculate that likelihood, simply add all the chances above tier three to it.  The sum of all the listed chances equals the projected likelihood that NU will make any bowl game.  When adding, remember not to include the likelihood for the Big Ten championship game, since its chances overlap with the other postseason games.  During the season, this list will change after each game.

2. The ReliaQuest Bowl is the former Hall of Fame Bowl, later re-named the Outback Bowl. It has been re-named again with the change of sponsor.

Recap of HTP Weekly Bowl Odds,
2016 - 2023

Ever since the summer of 2000, HTP has posted the likelihood of NU playing in a bowl game, typically updated in April, during the August preseason, and weekly during the season until NU's postseason is determined. Here are the weekly odds during the most recent six seasons, including 2023:

Obviously, 2020 is an outlier: we did not have any idea if the season would even be played, let alone if there would be bowl games. Even at the end of the truncated season, when NU claimed the Big Ten West title, there was only a 74% chance that the 'Cats would bowl, because total cancellation was still a real possibility.