- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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Michigan finally got over the hump in its rivalry with Ohio State on Saturday, but it didn't benefit in the latest BCS standings.
The 10-2 Wolverines actually fell a spot in the standings, dropping to No. 16 after sitting 15th last week. They must finish in the top 14 to qualify for an at-large BCS bid, which would seem likely if they get there.
Ironically, the 6-6 Buckeyes might have hurt their rival even by losing. Michigan got no bump from Saturday's 40-34 win in the computer rankings, as it continues to average out at No. 15. A down season by Ohio State undoubtedly hurt the strength of schedule numbers. Brady Hoke's team also didn't move up much in the polls, staying at No. 16 in the Harris/USA Today coaches' polls average.
Wisconsin actually flip-flopped with Michigan after beating Penn State. The Badgers were 16th last week but now are 15th. Michigan State remains the league's highest-rated team at No. 13, but the Spartans will have to beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game to go to a BCS game. The loser of that matchup almost certainly won't finish in the top 14.
Nebraska (19th) and Penn State (21) are ranked, but those are just cosmetic numbers at this point.
The Wolverines could move up in next week's final standings since they don't play and other teams ahead of them will lose. A loss by Georgia (14th) in the SEC title game would help, and the Big Ten title game should eliminate a competitor. Houston (6th) losing in the Conference USA championship would probably send the Cougars tumbling down the polls, while Oklahoma (10th) would also fall with a loss to Oklahoma State.
But it's out of Michigan's hands right now, and that must be frustrating for a team that probably feels like it did all it needed to do.