- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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Teams that finish in the Top 14 of the BCS standings are eligible to be selected for an at-large spot in a BCS bowl.
We're a few weeks away from being finished, but if the season ended today, Nebraska would be eligible for an at-large spot. The Huskers are No. 14 in the latest BCS standings, the highest any Big Ten team has placed so far this season. Nebraska is also No. 14 in both polls (Harris and USA Today coaches) and is 13th in the computer average. One of the six computers, Colley Matrix, has the Huskers at No. 11.
Of course, Nebraska is also in position to win the Legends Division and then, potentially, the Big Ten championship game. It would only need to rely on an at-large bid if it lost between now and then, and any defeat would likely knock Bo Pelini's team out of the Top 14. However, there remains a chance that the Huskers could stay in the Top 14 if they won their last two regular season games and then lost a close one to Wisconsin in Indianapolis. It's a faint chance, but a chance nonetheless.
Joining Nebraska in the BCS standings from the Big Ten is Michigan, which has been in and out of the Top 25 the past few weeks. The Wolverines are back in this week, having eked by Northwestern in overtime and now replacing the Wildcats as the No. 2 team from the league.
Michigan is No. 21 in the BCS standings despite being ranked just 24th in the Harris poll and No. 23 in the USA Today coaches' poll. But the computers love the Wolverines, who are No. 16 in the computer average, thanks likely to playing (and losing to) Alabama, Notre Dame and Nebraska. That shows you the potential this season held for the Wolverines if they could have won a couple of those games.
As things stand, it's hard to imagine Michigan moving up seven more spots if it beats Iowa and Ohio State in the final two games unless there's chaos elsewhere in the land. A Nebraska loss could send Michigan to the Big Ten title game, but a defeat to Wisconsin would almost certainly dash any BCS hopes for the Wolverines.
2dDan Murphy and Mitch Sherman
2dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
3dMitch Sherman and Dan Murphy