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Big Ten race update: Week 13

11/22/2010

The Big Ten title race is officially down to three teams.

Ohio State's win against Iowa ensures that only the Buckeyes, Wisconsin and Michigan State can win the Big Ten championship. The interesting twist this year is that all three teams can stake their claim to the title if they win their final regular-season games this week.

The Big Ten hasn't had three teams tied atop the conference since 2000, when Purdue, Northwestern and Michigan shared the title at 6-2.

The bigger issue heading into Week 13 is figuring out which team will earn the Big Ten's automatic BCS bowl berth. Most of you can call yourselves experts on the Big Ten tiebreakers, but I'm still getting questions about how it works, so here's ... how it works.

First off, the schedule for Week 13:

  • Michigan at Ohio State (ABC, noon ET)

  • Michigan State at Penn State (ESPN or ESPN2, noon ET)

  • Northwestern at Wisconsin (ABC/ESPN, 3:30 p.m. ET)

If all three teams win: The team ranked highest in the final BCS standings, released Dec. 5, will earn the automatic berth. The BCS standings are used because two of the tied teams, Ohio State and Michigan State, don't play this season.

If Wisconsin and Michigan State win but Ohio State loses: Michigan State would earn the automatic berth based on its Oct. 2 win against Wisconsin.

If Wisconsin and Ohio State win but Michigan State loses: Wisconsin would earn the automatic berth based on its Oct. 16 win against Ohio State.

If Ohio State and Michigan State win but Wisconsin loses: The team rated higher in the final BCS standings would earn the automatic berth because the teams don't play.

If all three teams lose: The highest-ranked team in the final BCS standings would earn the automatic berth.

That should settle it. Should be a very exciting day around the league.