NOW A THREE TEAM RACE FOR ROSE BOWL BID

Bill Marklevits

 

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Off this week Michigan State was jumped by Alabama (8-2) in the BCS rankings, and dropped one spot to #11 in both the AP Media and Coaches polls.  Iowa is now pretty much removed from the Big Ten title race after losing to Northwestern 21-17 at Ryan Field.   Northwestern behind an impressive 318 passing yard effort from QB Dan Persa, who ruptured his Achilles’ tendon after throwing a game winning 20-yard TD pass with 1:22 to play, defeated the Hawkeyes for the fifth time in their last six games.Â

With Penn State rolling and up 14-3 with the ball at the Ohio State 20 with 1:43 to play before half-time it really looked like MSU was in good position to jump over the Buckeyes in jockeying for the Big Ten Rose Bowl bid. Rather than kick a field goal which would have put Penn State up by 14 at half-time, Paterno ran freshman RB Silas Redd off tackle who was stopped by OSU LB Jermalle Hines for no gain. From that play, momentum completely shifted to the Buckeyes who scored 35 second half-points and produced the largest second half comeback home victory in Jim Tressel’s tenure in Columbus keeping the Buckeyes in play for the Big Ten championship.

Wisconsin as expected rolled bottom feeder Indiana, but the 83-20 score raised eyebrows. UW Coach Brett Bielema said he wants to show people (poll voters) that Wisconsin is about winning games and he kept the pedal to the medal forcing Bucky Badger to have to do 573 push-ups over the day.Â

Now heading into the last two weeks of the season it is a three team race for the title, Rose Bowl, and possible at-large BCS bid.  Spartan fans, as much as it hurts, will need to become Michigan fans as the Wolverines can greatly help MSU’s position if they can upset Wisconsin this week and Ohio State the following week.   An Iowa

victory over Ohio State this week would also help MSU as the Spartans have the advantage in a two team tie with Wisconsin.  The most important thing MSU can do though is win the final two games as that will assure them of at least a tie for the Big Ten football championship.

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            BIG TEN CONFERENCE STANDINGS WITH BCS RANK

                                            W-L       OVERALL           BCS RANKING Â

MICHIGAN STATE               5-1            9-1                   12   .6066

OHIO STATE                        5-1            9-1                    9   .6674

WISCONSIN                         5-1            9-1                    7   .7258

IOWA                                   4-2            7-3                   20   .2190       Â

 

Of the remaining games for the Big Ten title contenders Ohio State has the toughest road facing two teams with a combined 58.3% winning percentage in Big Ten play.  Wisconsin is next with two teams at a 50.0% rate, and MSU has two teams with a 41.6% winning percentage.  Each title contender has one home and one away game.

 

MICHIGAN STATE (5-1)   11/20 home with Purdue (2-4)

                                        11/27 at Penn State (3-3)Â

OHIO STATE (5-1)        **11/20 at Iowa (4-2)**Â

                                      11/27 home with Michigan (3-3)                                

WISCONSIN (5-1)          **11/20 at Michigan (3-3)**Â

                                       11/27 home with Northwestern (3-3)   Â

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