Big Ten viewer's guide: East Division winner to finally be determined


The final week of the college football regular season has arrived, and still nothing has been officially decided in the top-heavy Big Ten East. Michigan State has the inside track to the league championship game against Iowa, but the Spartans must first take care of business at Penn State. Otherwise, the Ohio State-Michigan winner would advance to the title game.

Those aren't the only games with serious postseason implications. Iowa will try to remain unbeaten and angle its way toward a College Football Playoff spot with a win against Nebraska. Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois and Nebraska all are sitting on five wins and need one more victory to assure a bowl bid.

Here's a full rundown on all the Big Ten games:


3:30 p.m. ET

Iowa (11-0, 7-0 Big Ten) at Nebraska (5-6, 3-4): The Hawkeyes can move one step closer to reaching the promised land in this dream season, but you'd better believe the Cornhuskers will be as fired up as they have been all season. Nebraska has won two straight games, is coming off a bye week and can officially become bowl-eligible with a victory. Iowa is already guaranteed a spot in the Big Ten title game as the West Division champion, but the Hawkeyes have their eyes on a bigger prize.


Noon ET

Indiana (5-6, 1-6) at Purdue (2-9, 1-6): The Hoosiers will try to capture the Old Oaken Bucket for a third consecutive season, and a bowl bid is on the line. Indiana struggled to put away the Big Ten's big boys, but its victory against Maryland last week has the Hoosiers one game from reaching their first bowl since 2007. Purdue has played well the past two weeks in losses to Northwestern and Iowa. School officials plan to retain head coach Darrell Hazell next season, but the Boilermakers would feel a lot better about that decision if they can enter the offseason with a victory.

Maryland (2-9, 0-7) at Rutgers (4-7, 1-6): Two of the most disappointing teams in the Big Ten collide in the regular-season finale, and it remains to be seen whether both head coaches will still be around next season. Maryland interim coach Mike Locksley hasn't won a game since taking over for Randy Edsall. Rutgers coach Kyle Flood, meanwhile, will miss out on a bowl for the first time in his four seasons there (barring a bunch of potential 5-7 teams sneaking in). The Big Ten East is brutal, and both teams have seen why this season.

Ohio State (10-1, 6-1) at Michigan (9-2, 6-1): These teams have suffered excruciating losses to Michigan State, but hope of winning the Big Ten East remains. Penn State must beat Michigan State after this game is completed. If that happens, the Ohio State-Michigan winner would advance to the league title game against Iowa. Right now, the Buckeyes look to be in some disarray, particularly after tailback Ezekiel Elliott blasted the offensive play calling last Saturday. Michigan has won four straight and will be feeling good in the Big House as we begin the Jim Harbaugh-Urban Meyer portion of this long-standing rivalry.

3:30 p.m. ET

Wisconsin (8-3, 5-2) at Minnesota (5-6, 2-5): Former Gophers coach Jerry Kill began talking about winning back Paul Bunyan's Axe before the season even started. It's the one game that means more than any other in Minnesota, and Wisconsin has won 11 straight in the series. Could this be the year the streak ends? Wisconsin's offense turned the ball over five times Saturday in a loss to Northwestern and has been anemic. Minnesota has put up 67 points the past two weeks and is fighting to become bowl-eligible.

Northwestern (9-2, 5-2) vs. Illinois (5-6, 2-5) at Soldier Field: After a rough two-week stretch against Michigan and Iowa, Northwestern has rallied to win four straight games and could be in the midst of its first 11-win season in program history. Illinois can still become bowl-eligible, but the Illini will have to play better than they did during Saturday's 32-23 loss to Minnesota. A win, and it seems difficult to believe interim coach Bill Cubit wouldn't be retained.

Penn State (7-4, 4-3) at Michigan State (10-1, 6-1): The path to the Big Ten title game for the Spartans is simple: win and they're in. What Michigan State accomplished without injured quarterback Connor Cook against Ohio State was simply amazing. Penn State has lost two straight to Northwestern and Michigan but can play the role of spoiler.