Though both the Legends and Leaders division races are far from sewn up, we're beginning to get a clearer picture of who will represent both divisions in the Big Ten's inaugural championship game in Indianapolis. In the Legends Division, Michigan State (8-2, 5-1) still controls its own path to the title game, and they cleared a big hurdle this past Saturday with a 37-21 victory over Iowa. The Spartans are a game ahead of both Michigan and Nebraska, and though they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Michigan, the Spartans did fall to Nebraska, which still leaves the door open for the Cornhuskers. Michigan State has a likely victory at home this Saturday vs. Indiana, but they finish the season on the road against a surging Northwestern team, and that game should put some fear into Spartans fans.
In the Leaders Division, though Penn State currently sits atop the standings, most prognosticators expect that Wisconsin will emerge to grab the spot in Indianapolis. The Nittany Lions are currently a game ahead of the Badgers, but the teams will meet in the season's final week in what will be a de facto elimination game, provided that Wisconsin takes care of business this Saturday against Illinois. Penn State will travel to Ohio State this weekend in a game in which they will likely be the underdogs, but even if the Nittany Lions dropped that game, a victory over the Badgers would give them the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, were also sitting pretty in the division up until this past Saturday, when a 26-23 overtime loss to Purdue effectively eliminated them from the Leaders race.
Here are the Big Ten standings heading into Week 12:
- Michigan State Spartans: 5-1 (8-2)
- Michigan Wolverines: 4-2 (8-2)
- Nebraska Cornhuskers: 4-2 (8-2)
- Iowa Hawkeyes: 3-3 (6-4)
- Northwestern Wildcats: 2-4 (5-5)
- Minnesota Golden Gophers: 1-5 (2-8)
- Penn State Nittany Lions: 5-1 (8-2)
- Wisconsin Badgers: 4-2 (8-2)
- Purdue Boilermakers: 3-3 (5-5)
- Ohio State Buckeyes: 3-3 (6-4)
- Illinois Fighting Illini: 2-4 (6-4)
- Indiana Hoosiers: 0-6 (1-9)
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