Wisconsin's loss to Michigan State likely removes the Big Ten from the national championship chase, so the league will be viewing the BCS standings a bit differently the rest of the way.
The Big Ten's primary objective is to send two teams to BCS bowls for the seventh consecutive season. Although the massive Big Ten fan bases will have a lot to do with at-large selections, a strong showing in the final BCS standings should also help.
Sunday's latest standings aren't a promising sign.
There are no Big Ten teams in the top 10 of the BCS standings. Michigan State is the league's first entry at No. 11, followed by Nebraska at No. 14 and Wisconsin, which falls nine spots to No. 15. Michigan comes in at No. 18, and Penn State rounds out the Big Ten contingent at No. 19. Illinois, as expected, fell out of the BCS standings following its second consecutive loss.
The BCS computer rankings continue to plague Michigan State, Wisconsin and Nebraska. The Spartans are ranked 16th or lower in five of the six BCS computers and have an average rating of 15. Wisconsin is ranked 21st or lower in four of the six computers and isn't even ranked at all by the Massey ratings. That's absurd, as the Badgers, while losing in their first true road game on a Hail Mary, are still one of the nation's top 15 teams. Anyone who has watched Wisconsin play would agree.
Wisconsin has an average computer ranking of 24, while Nebraska isn't much better at 21. The Huskers are ranked 18th or lower by five of the six computers.
The human voters are much kinder to Michigan State, Wisconsin and Nebraska. The Big Ten teams will need the trend to continue to have a chance at an at-large selection.
Michigan and Penn State have more balanced ratings between the human voters and the computers. Penn State is the only Big Ten team doing well in the computer ratings (average rank of 17), mainly because its only loss came against No. 2 Alabama.
How high can Michigan State rise? The Spartans can help themselves by beating Nebraska on the road this week, but they also need some top 10 teams to fall.
Big Ten in the BCS standings
No. 11: Michigan State
No. 14: Nebraska
No. 15: Wisconsin
No. 18: Michigan
No. 19: Penn State