Monday, November 21, 2011
Big Ten race update: Week 13
By Adam Rittenberg
While Week 12 shook up the BCS national championship picture, it provided plenty of clarity in the race for the Big Ten championship. One half of the league title matchup in Indianapolis is set, and we'll find out the other participant this week in Madison.
Here's a quick look at the division races:
Winner: Michigan State (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten)
It's all over as the Spartans became legen ... wait for it ... dary on Saturday after thrashing Indiana 55-3 on Senior Day. Michigan State's win combined with Nebraska's loss to Michigan gives the Spartans the division championship. Although Michigan can still tie Michigan State at 6-2 if the Wolverines win this week against Ohio State and the Spartans lose at Northwestern, Michigan State would win the tiebreaker because of its 28-14 victory against the Maize and Blue on Oct. 15. Nebraska and Iowa both are out because they have three conference losses.
Mark Dantonio's squad is headed to Lucas Oil Stadium with a chance to win back-to-back Big Ten titles for the first time since 1965-66.
Still alive: Penn State (9-2, 6-1), Wisconsin (9-2, 5-2)
It all comes down to this for the Nittany Lions and Badgers. Wisconsin's win Saturday at Illinois ensured that the Leaders Division title would be decided this week when Penn State visits Camp Randall Stadium. The Badgers' victory eliminated Ohio State from the division race because the Buckeyes already had three conference losses heading into their contest with Penn State. So while the Lions' victory in Columbus meant a lot to them after two nightmarish weeks, the win meant nothing in the division race.
The other four Leaders Division teams have four or more conference losses, so the title comes down to Penn State and Wisconsin Saturday afternoon in Madison. Buckle up.