Big Ten title will be decided today (and probably by some computers tomorrow)

IOWA CITY, IA - NOVEMBER 20: Quarterback Terrelle Pryor  of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates with fans after beating the University of Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium on November 20, 2010 in Iowa City, Iowa. Ohio State won 20-17 over Iowa. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images).

After Friday’s games, today might be a little anti-climactic, but there’s still plenty to be determined on college football’s more traditional day.

The Big Ten title is still up for grabs, with three teams — Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State — all tied at the top with one loss. If all three win, the BCS standings will decide who goes to the Rose Bowl. That will likely be Wisconsin, which has that edge going into today. If Wisconsin loses and the other two win, the BCS will again decide who goes to the Rose Bowl, as Ohio State and Michigan State did not play each other. It’s a problem the Big Ten will have solved next year when there’s a title game (two title contenders not playing each other, that is. As the Big 12 showed us two years ago, the BCS can still decide a divisional race if all hell breaks loose).

If Wisconsin wins, however, and either Ohio State or Michigan State lose, it will be a lot more clear cut. The Spartans get the bid with an Ohio State loss as they have the head-to-head edge over Wisconsin. The Badgers get it if Michigan State loses, because they hold that same edge over Ohio State.

So those are your scenarios (sure, there’s the “all three lose” scenario, as well, where Iowa is back in the mix, but I don’t want to force that upon you before noon). Here’s how it will play out. Read the rest of this entry »

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Ohio State squeaks by Iowa, makes final week of Big Ten season very interesting

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 13: Cameron Heyward  of the Ohio State Buckeyes chases after quarterback Matt McGloin  of the Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Ohio State has yet to be overly impressive in any of its wins this season. But the Buckeyes are simply getting things done when they need to. Their 20-17 win today over Iowa keeps it a three-team jumble atop the Big Ten standings, as they’re tied with Michigan State and Wisconsin.

The Buckeyes play host to rival Michigan in a game they should win. Michigan State goes on the road against Penn State in a game that all of the sudden looks very dangerous for the Spartans. Wisconsin, meanwhile, plays at home against a Northwestern team that has proven to be dangerous at times.

Against Iowa, it was the Ohio State defense that stepped up when it needed to, especially on the last drive of the game. The Buckeyes may have committed a pass interference penalty on the first play of the drive — OK, they did and it was missed — but the next three plays they were able to get good pressure on Ricky Stanzi from their defensive line, and maintain great coverage downfield. The big play was Cameron Heyward’s sack of Stanzi on third down, which forced a fourth-and-21, which Iowa came two yards short on.

Some praise needs to be heaped on the Buckeyes quarterback, as well. Terrelle Pryor may still throw an interception at a bad time. He may still miss an open receiver. But right now, he’s making the plays Ohio State needs him to to win football games.

Pryor had a huge fourth-down scramble late in the fourth quarter to keep Ohio State’s go-ahead drive alive today against Iowa. Perhaps more impressive, he did it one play after Devier Posey dropped a sure touchdown pass — he also evaded the officials when he took his helmet off on the field after the play, which should have made it fourth and 25 instead of fourth and 10, but I digress.

The bottom line is that three teams still have a shot at the Big Ten’s Rose Bowl berth, meaning three games will be very important next week.

Michigan State survives scare, remains in contention for Big Ten title

EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 23: Mark Dell  of the Michigan State Spartans scores a touchdown in front of Justan Vaughn  of the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field on October 23, 2010 in Evanston, Illinois. Michigan State defeated Northwestern 35-27. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

It took a fat-guy fumble recovery in the endzone to do it (yes, technically the touchdown was given to Kirk Cousins, but my way is more fun), but Michigan State survived a surprising scare from Purdue today to remain alongside Wisconsin and (for the moment) Ohio State as the only one-loss teams in the Big Ten.

The Spartans fell behind 28-13 and 31-20 in this one before making a fourth-quarter comeback. It was aided by an ugly Rob Henry interception and a blocked punt, but it still counts.

Michigan State now goes into next week’s game at Penn State looking to lock up a share of the Big Ten title for the first time since 1988. If Ohio State loses today or at Michigan, the Spartans would have the tie-breaker in the conference over Wisconsin (head-to-head) and get the Big Ten’s automatic bid to a BCS game. If all three teams win out, the team with the highest ranking in the BCS will get the bid. It’s dumb, but that’s how the conference’s rule works.

What makes it even more dumb is that unlike in 2008, when Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech were had all beaten each other and needed the BCS to sort out the Big 12 South, this year, Michigan State doesn’t have a loss to one of the other two.

The Spartans beat Wisconsin by 10 early in the season, and their one loss is to Iowa, who is not involved in this mess. Ohio State, meanwhile, lost to Wisconsin. So technically, head-to-head should go Michigan State’s way, right? Considering they don’t have a head-to-head loss like the other two.

I’m not saying the Spartans are the most deserving, necessarily, as I think it’s pretty clear that Wisconsin is playing the best football in the Big Ten right now. But those two did meet on the field, and Michigan State did win that game.

Should it shake out with all three teams winning out, it should make for a fun debate on Dec. 5 when all of this is decided.

Crazy day in the Big Ten: Wisconsin scores 83, Iowa falters on the road

IOWA CITY, IA - OCTOBER 23- Quarterback Scott Tolzien  of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrates with teammates Isaac Anderson  and Bradie Ewing  after their the University of Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Iowa City, Iowa. Wisconsin won 31-30 over Iowa. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)

I went out for the afternoon to cover a high school football game, and all hell broke loose in the Big Ten. Well, not all hell, but some, anyway.

The big news is that Iowa, one of the four teams that came into this weekend tied for the top spot in the conference, lost on the road to Northwestern. The Wildcats came back from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit for a 21-17 win over the Hawkeyes. Dan Persa hit Demetrius Fields for a 20-yard touchdown with 1:22 remaining in the game for the winning score.

The loss could be the end of Iowa’s conference title/BCS hopes. They can help themselves out quite a bit next week, however, by taking out Ohio State at Kinnick Stadium.

One team they cannot stop, however, is Wisconsin, which I think just scored on Indiana again (it doesn’t matter what time you’re reading this, that still works). The Badgers won 83-20 (!) at home today, for their fifth straight win. You’d be hard-pressed to convince me any team is playing better in the Big Ten right now than Wisconsin. The Badgers finish the season with a game at Michigan and at home against Northwestern.

After scoring 83 on Indiana, anyone want to put an over/under on what they’ll score against Michigan? I mean, the baseline has to be like 65, right? Oh, and I forgot to mention, Wisconsin did that without John Clay in the lineup. How this team looked so bad early in the season, and lost to Michigan State by 10, I’ll never know.

Related Posts