By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Nov 18, 2007 at 5:25 AM

This much, we know: the University of Wisconsin football team will play in a bowl game for the sixth consecutive year and the 13th time in 15 seasons. What we don't know, however, is where Bucky will be headed in January.

Thanks to the murky nature of college football this season, it could be a while until we know for sure which post season game will invite Bret Bielema's squad.

The Rose Bowl, obviously, can be eliminated from consideration, and it's highly unlikely that the Capital One Bowl will come calling for a third consecutive year. That still leaves fans with five other possible scenarios.

Wisconsin finished the season fourth in the Big Ten with a 5-3 league record (9-3 overall). The Badgers trail Ohio State -- which is bound for the Bowl Championship Series -- Illinois (6-2, 9-3) and Michigan (6-2, 8-4).

If it were as simple as the standings, it would be easy to assume that Wisconsin would be headed to San Antonio to play in the Alamo Bowl, which has the fourth pick of eligible Big Ten teams.

But the key word is "pick". It's commonly assumed that bowl invitations are issued in order of conference finish. In truth, bowls get to pick whichever team they want.

For example, say Wisconsin finished second in the Big Ten and wasn't eligible for a BCS bowl. It's doubtful the folks at the CapitalOne Bowl -- which hold the second pick in the Big Ten -- would bring the Badgers to Orlando for a third straight year. They could skip past Wisconsin and take Illinois or any other Big Ten team with at least seven victories.

Bowl organizers care very little about where a team finished in the standings. They are simply trying to make as much money as possible. They care about which teams will provide a good television match up and they care about which schools have bigger traveling parties.

The Illini last went to a bowl game -- the Bowl -- in 1999. Head coach Ron Zook has fired up the Illinois fans in a way that would make the team an attractive pick to selection committees.

Michigan has rebounded well from a very tough start and a bowl game could be a big draw for organizers if head coach Lloyd Carr makes it his last game.

Wisconsin traditionally draws well. Ask anybody who saw the 1994, 1998 or 1999 Rose Bowls turn Pasadena into a western suburb of Madison.

Most invitations will probably be handed out in the next few days, and will probably become official once the BCS standings are released. Though it's an unlikely long shot, Michigan could move up into the top 14 in the final BCS rankings. Ohio State, currently seventh, still has an outside chance of jumping into one of the top-two spots.

The smart money looks like Michigan will probably end up at the CapitalOne or Outback Bowl, with Illinois falling into the other slot. Wisconsin, in all likelihood, is looking at a trip to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29.

Penn State, Indiana, Michigan State and Purdue are the other bowl-eligible teams in the league, but none of them -- with the possible exception of Indiana -- would appear to have the same appeal that Wisconsin has in San Antonio.