Big Ten Rooting Interests: Week 14

Rooting Interests is here for the final time in the 2012 season, and we'll keep it short and sweet.

Had Michigan beaten Ohio State on Saturday, the Wolverines would have a fairly decent chance at earning a BCS at-large berth. But a 26-21 loss puts Brady Hoke's crew at No. 19 in the latest BCS standings. Teams have to be in the top 14 of the final BCS standings to be eligible for at-large berths, and Michigan isn't going to climb five spots without playing a game this week.

Nebraska becomes the Big Ten's only chance -- and a slim one at that -- for a BCS at-large berth. The Huskers are No. 12 in the latest BCS standings. If they beat Wisconsin in Saturday's Big Ten title game, they earn the automatic berth to the Rose Bowl. Their only chance for an at-large berth would be to lose to Wisconsin and to remain in the top 14. That'll be tough.

The SEC and Pac-12 are assured of two teams in BCS bowls. The Big 12 remains in good shape, while the ACC took a big step back in Week 13 after losses by both Clemson and Florida State. Suddenly, a MAC team (yes, Kent State) is poised to bust the BCS.

Here's what Nebraska (10-2) should be rooting for this week ...

  • Northern Illinois to beat Kent State in the MAC title game. Most bowl projections have No. 17 Kent State going to the Orange Bowl if it can beat NIU and move into the top 16, which would automatically qualify the Golden Flashes for a BCS bowl spot. Northern Illinois sits at No. 21 but most likely wouldn't move into the top 16 if it wins, therefore eliminating both teams from BCS bowl consideration.

  • TCU to beat Oklahoma and Kansas State to beat Texas. An Oklahoma loss likely would knock the 11th-ranked Sooners out of the top 14 of the BCS standings, eliminating them from at-large contention. Texas sits at No. 18 and has no business being in a BCS bowl, but a loss to Kansas State would prevent any chance for the Longhorns to climb into the top 14.

  • Georgia Tech to beat Florida State in the ACC title game. This one doesn't matter too much either way, but a Georgia Tech win would further devalue the ACC and possibly drop Clemson, currently at No. 14, at least one spot, which would eliminate the Tigers from at-large consideration. Florida State obviously would drop out of the top 14 with a loss.

  • Nevada to beat Boise State. Like Texas, Boise State has no business being ranked so high, and at No. 20, Chris Petersen's crew would need a lot of help to qualify for BCS at-large consideration. It's unlikely the Broncos jump ahead of the MAC champion, but just to be safe, root for Nevada to beat Boise in Reno for the second straight time.