Sunday, November 18, 2012
B1G faces uphill climb for BCS at-large
By Brian Bennett
» BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Notre Dame
With two weeks left before the final BCS standings are announced, the Big Ten still needs an awful lot to go right to get in position for a possible BCS at-large bid.
Nebraska failed to make up any ground after its 38-14 win over Minnesota, staying at No. 14. Michigan moved up four spots but is still at only No. 19. One of the two would have to finish in the Top 14 to be eligible for an at-large spot, and for Nebraska that means the Huskers would have to lose yet still maintain their current position.
Nebraska, whose only two losses are to an 11-0 Ohio State team and No. 17 UCLA, is No. 12 in the computer rankings average. But the Harris and USA Today coaches' polls have the Huskers at No. 14. Beating Iowa this week probably won't do much to impress any voters, and a Big Ten title loss to a potential 7-5 Wisconsin would do damage. Nebraska still is in great shape for a Rose Bowl bid and needs to focus on that.
Michigan needs a Nebraska loss just to get into the Big Ten title game. The Wolverines also have to beat Ohio State on the road this week. Do that, and the Maize and Blue could get a big bump in the polls, where they are No. 20 in both rankings. They're No. 19 in the computer rankings, but their three losses -- to No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 2 Alabama and Nebraska -- are as good as any teams' in the country, if you're into the concept of a "good" loss. Climbing five spots between now and Dec. 2 -- especially if the Wolverines are home for the final weekend -- will require that several teams ahead of Michigan to lose.
Stanford's upset of Oregon did the Big Ten no favors, as that likely means the Pac-12 will now snag an at-large bid. Louisiana Tech losing did rule out the possibility of a non-AQ team grabbing an automatic bid. But with the SEC, Big 12, Pac-12 and ACC all in better position for at-large bids right now, the Big Ten still looks like it will be sending only one team, its champion, to the BCS.