The Bowl Page


'Cats Have Uphill Climb
to Postseason in 2014;
B1G Debuts New Bowl Lineup

The 'Cats will attempt to return to the postseason in '14.  When they do, it will be with a new bowl lineup.

The Big Ten unveiled last summer its new bowl arrangements, including 11 different bowl games that will rotate to fill nine spots per year.  Nine landing places for the conference is a record for the B1G.

More importantly, the selection process has changed.  Rather than each bowl having a spot in a one-by-one pecking order, the bowls are tiered, and each bowl within a tier will work together and with the Big Ten Conference to determine which eligible team is the best "fit" within the tier.  The criteria are a labyrinth of financial and media-driven rules.  However, they are influenced by how many times a team has recently played in the bowl in question.

Because of the new system, has stopped predicting NU's chances for each individual bowl.  Instead, we now forecast in which tier NU will land (see below).

Camp Kenosha Bowl Projections

As we do every year, has projected NU's bowl chances coming out of the Kenosha scrimmage-- the final preseason bowl prediction.  Below are the projected chances for each tier of bowl spots.

The Wildcats have an uphill battle. After a 1-7 B1G campaign in 2013, the 'Cats endured a spring filled with media distractions, potential team-dividing issues, and a spate of underclassman injuries. The team recently lost its two most important offensive players (Venric Mark to a controversial transfer, Christian Jones to injury).

As of the end of Camp Kenosha, HTP projects NU as having a 45% chance of making it back to the postseason.  This is actually up slightly from the spring projection.

The next update to the projections will be after the Cal game.

Schedule of Possible Bowls, 2014-15

AND Schedule for the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game
(and Date)
(may change)
NU's Chances*
(as of Aug. 17)
West #1
vs. East #1
Big Ten Championship
Lucas Oil Stadium
Dec. 6, 2014
Tier One
Big Ten #1

Playoff semifinal game:
Rose Bowl - Jan. 1, 2015
Sugar Bowl - Jan. 1, 2015
ESPN <1%
Orange Bowl (alternate to Rose/
Capital One)
Dec. 31
Tier Two
Big Ten #2-4

Capital One (vs. SEC)
Jan. 1
ABC 5%
Holiday Bowl (vs. Pac-12)
Dec. 27
Outback Bowl (vs. SEC)
Jan. 1
Tier Three**
Big Ten #5-7

TaxSlayer (aka Gator) (vs. SEC)
Jan. 2
ESPN 16%
San Francisco Bowl (vs. Pac-12)
Dec. 30
Music City Bowl (vs. SEC)
Dec. 30
Pinstripe Bowl (vs. ACC)
Dec. 27
Tier Four**
Big Ten #8-9

Armed Forces (Army vs. American)
Jan. 2
ESPN 24%
Detroit Lions Bowl (vs. ACC)
Dec. 26
Heart of Dallas (vs. C-USA)
Dec. 26

*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 in 2014.  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.
 ** There are more bowl games in these tiers than there are Big Ten team slots.  It is likely that a Big Ten team will not be chosen for both the Music City and Gator Bowls in a given year.  This is also the case with the Heart of Dallas Bowl and the Armed Forces Bowl. Of these last two bowls, a B1G team will likely be chosen for the Dallas Bowl in 2014.


Northwestern Bowl History

Select a link to view details about NU's 11 bowl appearances, bowl records, and other special games.