Want to make sense of the wacky Big Ten and the favorites and spoilers? I've worked it all out for you. Here's where we stand right now:
There is a 4 team log-jam with one loss each. Penn State is mathematically still in the hunt for the conference championship with two losses, but needs a lot of things to break their way. Ohio State and Penn State can create the most chaos since each plays two of the contenders in the next 3 weeks. Wisconsin has smooth sailing with no contenders remaining. Michigan State only faces a tricky road trip to Happy Valley. Iowa desperately needs Wisconsin to stumble.
For now, we'll assume that no one stumbles on a game they should win against a non-contender. That would simply eliminate them from contention.
If there is a tie for the championship, the Rose Bowl representative will be determined as follows:
Two teams tie:
1. Head to head winner
2. If the tied teams tied or did not play each other, better overall record
3. The highest-ranked team in the final BCS standings.
Three Teams Tie:
1. Head to head over other two teams
2. If two of the three teams defeated the third team, the third team is eliminated. Follow 2-team rules.
3. If the tied teams tied or did not play each other, better overall record
4. If two of the three teams tie for better overall record, eliminate the third team. Follow 2-team rules.
5. The highest-ranked team in the final BCS standings.
If only 2 Teams Tie:
- Michigan State and Wisconsin: Ohio State and Iowa lose 1 each, Michigan State goes via head to head over Wisconsin
- Michigan State and Ohio State: Iowa and Wisconsin lose 1 each, Ohio State goes via BCS ranking tie-breaker.
- Michigan State and Iowa: Ohio State and Wisconsin lose 1 each, Iowa goes via Head-to-Head tie-breaker.
- Wisconsin and Ohio State: Michigan State and Iowa lose 1 each, Wisconsin goes via Head to Head over Ohio State
- Wisconsin and Iowa: Michigan State and Ohio State lose 1 each, Wisconsin goes via head to head over Iowa.
- Iowa and Ohio State: If they tie head to head and Michigan State and Wisconsin lose 1 each, Ohio State goes via better overall record.
If 3 teams tie:
- Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State: Iowa loses against Ohio State, then Wisconsin goes via BCS ranking tie-breaker (unless tOSU jumps them).
- Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa: Ohio State loses to Iowa, then Iowa is eliminated based on overall record (2 losses). Michigan State goes via head-to-head over Wisconsin.
- Wisconsin, Iowa, and Ohio State: That requires all three teams to tie and Michigan State to lose. It's just silly - but Wisconsin goes via head-to-head over the other two.
If all hell breaks loose in the Spoiler Scenario with a 5-team tie
Assume Penn State beats Michigan State AND Ohio State, Ohio State beats Iowa, and Wisconsin loses one.
Iowa and Penn State are eliminated based upon overall record, the highest ranked team from Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Ohio State (who knows?) would go.
Illinois over Minnesota
The goood news for the Gophers is that it's ALMOST over.
Michigan State gets to sit at home and calculate the possibilities. It will probably take them the rest of the weekend.
Wisconsin over Indiana
Who's your Daddy? Hoosier Daddy? You's my daddy? Noooo, Double-You is your Hoosier Daddy!
I know Wiscy got caught sleeping a little bit in the first half against Purdue. Can you really blame them after HUGE wins vs Ohio State and Iowa? But they had a strong second half and I expect that to continue against Indian's porous defense.
It's a little surprising that this late in the year, the Badgers need help from MSU to make the Rose Bowl. Wisconsin fans will probably be huge PSU fans in a couple weeks. But they have the easiest road for the rest of the season assuming they don't trip up on little old Indiana.
Iowa over Northwestern
Penn State showed that a little bit of patience and some physical play can wear down the Wildcats. Northwestern is the little engine that "thinks it can" with inspired, but over-achieving play at times. But Iowa should prove physically superior in this one. But the upset bug is just nibbling on my toes, inside my socks.
It may convince me to change my mind. I need to think about it but I'm out of time.
Michigan over Purdue
Watch Michigan's D make Purdue look like Boise State. But watch Purdue's D make Michigan look like Oregon. That's right, faithful reader - I'm billing this as a BCS sneak peek.
Ohio State over Penn State
Oh, Joe. It seemed like just last week that you were carried off on the teams shoulders and doused with Gator(chomp)ade. Now that 400 is out of the way, it's time to buckle down and focus on that next milestone - 401. Next week.
I'd love to say that the newly-discovered Penn State offense, under the surprisingly capable leadership of former walk-on McGloin, will be able to match the Buckeye's power offense blow for blow. I wish I could say that Robert Bolden could come in off the bench and show Pryor how a phenom should really play. But I cannot.
What I can do is show the troops the film of last season's Purdue game. Oh, I love a happy ending to a good comedy. Two thumbs up and the "Feel-good game of last year".
I'd also show the troops "Rudy". Look, kids - Sam Gangee! Or is that Chunk from the Goonies? No Chunk was the guy that ended up starring in the Blind Side. Or was he Flounder? Oh, it doesn't matter which movie you show on the plane flight or bus ride. Have Belushi fire them up with the Pearl Harbor speech. Or dub in "Saturday" every time they say "sunday" in the "Any Given" flick. Maybe they can even show "Dodgeball" as proof that the Underdog does triumph.
Remember how Independence Day was started - when the Japanese bombed the Alamo.
With such insipration, how can PSU lose?
How can it get any better than PSU-Ohio State?