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Monday, November 5, 2012
Big Ten rooting interests: Week 11

By Adam Rittenberg

It's time to look at rooting interests around the Big Ten entering Week 11. I've decided to expand the rooting interests a little bit to include what would need to happen for a Big Ten team to earn an at-large bid to a BCS bowl (don't hold your breath).

There are only three semi-realistic candidates for at-large berths: No. 16 Nebraska, No. 24 Northwestern and Michigan. While unranked, Michigan actually might have the best chance if it wins out, as its only losses would be to No. 1 Alabama, No. 4 Notre Dame and to Nebraska in a game where Denard Robinson got hurt. Northwestern already is in the BCS standings and would keep rising if it wins out to go 10-2, possibly finishing in the top 14, which is necessary for at-large consideration. Nebraska is the highest-ranked team, but it actually has the worst chance for an at-large bid because it would need to lose once more and likely won't face a ranked opponent the rest of the way. Michigan is the only Big Ten team with a realistic chance of finishing in the top 14 with three losses.

I'm also including rooting interests for Ohio State and Penn State as far as the Leaders Division championship. Michigan State and Minnesota both fall out of the rooting interest after suffering their fourth league losses (third in the division).

Here's the Week 11 schedule in the Big Ten.

Let's get started ...

BCS AT-LARGE POSSIBILITIES

For BCS at-large purposes, Nebraska/Northwestern/Michigan should root for ... LEGENDS DIVISION

Nebraska (7-2, 4-1) should root for ...
Michigan (6-3, 4-1) should root for ...
Northwestern (7-2, 3-2) should root for ...
Iowa (4-5, 2-3) should root for ... LEADERS DIVISION (championship)


Ohio State (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) should root for ...
Penn State (6-3, 4-1) should root for ...
Wisconsin (6-3, 3-2) should root for ... LEADERS DIVISION (representation at Big Ten title game)

Wisconsin (6-3, 3-2) should root for ...
Indiana (4-5, 2-3) should root for ...