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The Road to Indy – Week 6

November 8, 2012

Michigan 35 Minnesota 13 

Michigan’s win against Minnesota kept them on track to control their own destiny should Nebraska lose again.  The Wolverines are one of two bowl eligible Big Ten teams with only 1 loss, the other being Nebraska who holds the tiebreaker over Michigan due to their head to head win.  For Minnesota, they fell to 1-4 in conference and 5-4 overall.  With games remaining against Illinois, Nebraska and MSU, they would be wise to win this weekend against Illinois if they want to be bowl eligible.  

Indiana 24 Iowa 21

Indiana’s somewhat surprising win against Iowa has the Hoosiers at 2-3 and 4-5 overall.  Not all that impressive until you realize that an Indiana victory this weekend at home against Wisconsin may setup the Hoosier to go to the Big Ten Championship Game (!).  The Hoosiers trail the 3-2 Badgers by just one game and would pull even with them with a win this weekend – and would hold the tiebreaker.  Wisconsin finishes with PSU and OSU, so there is no guaranteed wins left on the schedule for them.  Indiana finishes with Penn State and Purdue after Wisconsin.  I’m not quite ready to the Hoosiers in Indy, but their chances of being bowl eligible are just as good as their chances to play in Indy.  If they beat Wisconsin this weekend – Wisconsin has to hope Indiana loses both and the Badgers can beat either of OSU or PSU.  Otherwise, the Hoosiers will be a shocking representative of the Legends Division.  As for Iowa, they fall to 2-3 and 4-5 overall, with Purdue, Michigan and Nebraska remaining on the schedule.  Like Indiana, they need to win 2 of 3 to be bowl eligible as well.  

Ohio State 52 Illinois 22

Ohio State continues the most unimportant unbeaten season in history as they best they can do is win 12 games and stay at home.  Illinois on the other hand is now 0-5 and 2-7, which officially eliminates them from bowl eligibility – raising the Big Ten’s official tally of bowl ineligible teams to 3 (OSU, PSU, Illinois) 

Penn State 34 Purdue 9 

Penn State continues to be one of the big surprises this year, with a 6-3 record and 4-1 in the Big Ten.  In any other year they’d be right in the thick of the division championship.  Instead they are left to play spoiler – potentially this weekend in Lincoln when they play Nebraska.  As for Purdue, a promising start and talk of a Big Ten Title game birth have gone out the window.  The Boilermakers are 3-6 overall and an awful 0-5 in conference.  They need to win their last three to go bowling – which is unlikely but possible.  They finish @Iowa, @Illinois and home to Iowa.  

Nebraska 28 Michigan State 24

MSU missed a golden chance to throw some turmoil into the Legends Division and even keep their very slim hopes of a division championship alive.  With the loss, those hopes are now gone as Nebraska escaped again on the road in order to maintain their position atop the Legends Division.  Nebraska is now 4-1 in the conference and needs to either win 2 of their last 3 and hope Michigan loses one more as well, or they can leave nothing to chance and win the next 3 (PSU, Minnesota, @Iowa) to wrap up the division.  For MSU, this drops them to 5-5 overall and 2-4 in the conference.  They get a bye week before finishing with Northwestern at home and Minnesota on the road.  The Spartans victory over Wisconsin two weeks ago probably guaranteed their bowl eligibility, but barely.  The best they can hope for at this point is 7-5. 

SUMMARY: It will either be Michigan or Nebraska representing the Legends Division in Indianapolis, and either Wisconsin or Indiana representing the Leaders Division.  It’s still technically possible that Northwestern could represent the Legends, but it would require for the Wildcats to win the last three and two more losses from Nebraska. If you’re a Michigan fan, it’s time to be a Penn State fan this week and an Iowa fan the last weekend as those are the most likely games for Nebraska to lose.  If they only lose one, Michigan still has to win the last 3.  

BIG TEN TITLE GAME PREDICTION: Nebraska vs. Wisconsin

BIG TEN BOWL GAME PREDICTIONS

Rose Bowl – Nebraska

Capitol One Bowl – Michigan 

Outback Bowl – Wisconsin

Gator Bowl – Northwestern

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl – Michigan State

Due to ineligibility of OSU and PSU, as well as general ineptitude of the Big Ten, I think the last three slots of the Big Ten’s Bowl order will go unfilled as the Big Ten will only have 5 bowl eligible teams.  

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