As I wrote the other day, MSU still has a chance at repeating as Big Ten Legends Division champions and getting to Indianapolis to play for a shot at reaching the Rose Bowl.
But it’s an uphill battle that will require them winning the remainder of their games and getting plenty of help.
That process starts Saturday with MSU taking care of its own business at home against No. 21-ranked Nebraska, which is currently in the driver’s seat for the Legends Division title.
“This game is very important to us. It feels good to be back on track,” MSU junior receiver Bennie Fowler said. “We just gotta continue to take one week at a time and prepare for Nebraska like we would any other team.”
Here’s a look at the chief contenders with their record in both Big Ten and Legends Division play.
NEBRASKA (3-1 Big Ten, 2-0 Legends)
Saturday – at MSU
Nov. 10 – Penn State
Nov. 17 – Minnesota
Nov. 24 – at Iowa
Owns head-to-head tiebreaker with Michigan, Northwestern
MICHIGAN (3-1 Big Ten, 1-1 Legends)
Saturday – at Minnesota
Nov. 10 – Northwestern
Nov. 17 – Iowa
Nov. 24 – at Ohio State
Owns head-to-head tiebreaker with MSU
NORTHWESTERN (3-2 Big Ten, 2-1 Legends)
Saturday – Bye
Nov. 10 – at Michigan
Nov. 17 – at MSU
Nov. 24 – Illinois
Owns head-to-head tiebreaker with Iowa
IOWA (2-2 Big Ten, 2-1 Legends)
Saturday – At Indiana
Nov. 10 – Purdue
Nov. 17 – at Michigan
Nov. 24 – Nebraska
Owns head-to-head tiebreaker with MSU
MSU (2-3 Big Ten, 0-2 Legends)
Saturday – Nebraska
Nov. 10 – Bye
Nov. 17 – Northwestern
Nov. 24 – at Minnesota
So it’s a pretty complicated process from here that requires a lot of different things to go right for the Spartans.
With the second tiebreaker being Legends Division record, the Spartans need Nebraska to lose to Minnesota or Iowa to have a chance. If the Cornhuskers lose to MSU and Minnesota./Iowa, that would put them both at 5-3 and 3-2 in the division. MSU would hold the tiebreaker with the head to head in that area.
MSU would also need Iowa to lose to Nebraska or Michigan and one of their other games to get them out of the 5-3 equation and eliminate them from the tiebreaker. The Spartans would also want Michigan to lose three of their final four games.
Here is a look at all the Big Ten tiebreakers
- If two teams are tied, the winner of the game between the two tied teams shall be the representative
- If three or more teams are tied, steps 1 through 7 will be followed until a determination is made. If only two teams remain tied after any step, the winner of the game between the two tied teams shall be the representative.
- The records of the three tied teams will be compared against each other
- The records of the three tied teams will be compared within their division
- The records of the three teams will be compared against the next highest placed teams in their division in order of finish (4, 5, and 6)
- The records of the three teams will be compared against all common conference opponents;
- The highest ranked team in the first Bowl Championship Series Poll following the completion of Big Ten regular season conference play shall be the representative in the Big Ten Championship Game, unless the two highest ranked tied teams are ranked within one spot of each other in the BCS poll. In this case, the head-to-head results of the top two ranked tied teams shall determine the representative in the Big Ten Championship
- The team with the best overall winning percentage [excluding exempted games] shall be the representative
- The representative will be chosen by random draw
In a few football stories, the late heroics against Wisconsin gave Andrew Maxwell a boost, while Aaron Burbridge looks to rebound from his 0 catch outing Saturday. In other links, the MSU’s men basketball team opened exhibition play with a victory over Northwood (Fla.) and Branden Dawson looked strong. For the Spartan hockey team, there is a battle for playing time between the goaltenders.