Big Ten Championship Game Scenarios
The final week of the Big Ten college football regular season is upon us, yet we have no clear indication as to who will be playing in Indianapolis on Dec. 3.
The possibilities seem endless with a potential four-way tie looming in the Big Ten West and a potential three-way tie waiting in the Big Ten East. Five different teams, two from the West and three from the East, all have realistic shots at booking trips to Indy this weekend.
Here are the scenarios needed to guarantee Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State spots in the Big Ten Championship Game:
1. Penn State: The Nittany Lions need two games to swing their direction to book flights to Indy. First, Penn State has to take care of business at home against Michigan State. Beyond that game in Happy Valley, Penn State wants Ohio State to continue its recent dominance over Michigan at the Horseshoe.
2. Michigan: For the Wolverines, it's quite simple: win and you're in. If Michigan can snag a road win in Columbus on Saturday, it can pack its bags for Indianapolis. Michigan holds the tiebreaker over Penn State with the head-to-head victory, so a Wolverine victory over the Buckeyes is all it would take to place Michigan in the Big Ten Championship Game.
3. Ohio State: The Buckeyes, like Penn State, need two things to happen. First, Ohio State has to beat Michigan at the Horseshoe. If Ohio State can do that, it then needs Michigan State to pull off the upset over Penn State in Happy Valley, a location where the Buckeyes fell to the Nittany Lions earlier this season.
4. Wisconsin: The Badgers sit in a fairly comfortable position heading into the final week of the regular season. With a win over Minnesota at Camp Randall this Saturday, the Badgers can clinch the Big Ten West crown. But if the Badgers lose, it's still possible to win the West, so long as Iowa beats Nebraska in Iowa City.
Wisconsin and Nebraska losses would create a four-way tie atop the Big Ten West, but Wisconsin would advance on the tiebreaker. The deciding tiebreaker would be record against the other teams involved in the tie, meaning Wisconsin and Iowa are 2-1 against the cluster of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska. The Golden Gophers and Cornhuskers are 1-2 against that same cluster. Wisconsin would then advance with the head-to-head victory over Iowa.
5. Nebraska: Nebraska is looking at a specific scenario, similar to Ohio State's, that could place it in Indy. The Cornhuskers need to first dispatch of Iowa at Kinnick Stadium on Black Friday. If Nebraska can do that, then all it would take is a Wisconsin loss against Minnesota to put Nebraska in the Big Ten title showdown.
It's difficult to say which scenario will occur, but odds are leaning towards some sort of combination involving Wisconsin vs. Michigan/Penn State.