- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Big Ten has three teams in the latest BCS standings, a vast improvement from the initial standings when the league had zero.
But, really, only one Big Ten team's BCS ranking really matters.
Michigan lost any realistic shot at earning a BCS at-large bid with its 26-21 loss at Ohio State. Though the Wolverines are still No. 19 in the standings, thanks to a great schedule that has them 15th in the computer average, they are not climbing five more spots next week since their season is over. And no BCS bowl would be able to justify taking an 8-4 team, anyway.
Northwestern is 22nd in the BCS standings, a great testament to the job Pat Fitzgerald did this season in leading the Wildcats to a 9-3 regular season. But Northwestern isn't going to get anywhere near the Top 14 to be eligible for an at-large bid.
So that leaves Nebraska. The Huskers are up to No. 12 this week, thanks in part to losses by Florida State and Clemson. Nebraska is also 12th in the computer rankings. Bo Pelini and Big Red fans everywhere hope they won't have to worry about BCS numbers Saturday night. As long as they beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game, they're going to the Rose Bowl.
But let's say that the Badgers pull off the upset in Indianapolis. Then Nebraska will be watching the BCS numbers closely, hoping not to fall more than two spots. Even with three losses, the Cornhuskers' large and devoted fan base would be very attractive to any BCS bowl seeking an at-large team. But the odds are that Nebraska will tumble in the human rankings and fall more than two spots in the BCS standings if it loses to a Wisconsin team that comes into this week's game at just 7-5.
But if Nebraska takes care of business at Lucas Oil Stadium, none of the Big Ten's BCS numbers will matter one bit.