The bowl scenarios right now are seemingly endless. But at least one national numbers cruncher thinks that MSU retains an outside shot at – believe it or not – playing for the national championship.
ESPN’s “BCS guru” Brad Edwards of said a little bit ago on Sportscenter that the Spartans could make their way into the BCS Championship picture if a few things happen – revolving around the ongoing Missouri-Texas A&M game.
“If Ohio State were to lose to Michigan State next week, I think it depends as far as how many teams have a chance as to what happens right now with Missouri taking on Texas A&M,” Edwards said. “If Missouri were to win that game, the SEC champion is going to be in the (BCS Championship) game – Missouri or Auburn will be in the game if Ohio State loses.
“Now, if Missouri were to lose tonight and you have South Carolina in that (SEC title) game, if South Carolina were to upset Auburn, there are a number of teams – Alabama included – who would be back in the mix. Clemson possibly in the mix if they were to beat South Carolina tonight. Let’s not forget about Oklahoma State, which is still sitting out there, if they can beat Oklahoma next week.
“And maybe even Michigan State would still have a chance if they were to do that.”
“Wow,” his broadcast partner, Chris Hassel replied.
Edwards is an Alabama graduate and has spent 18 years at ESPN.
No. 19 Texas A&M and No. 5 Missouri are tied 14-14 early in the third quarter.
So much can happen right now for a bowl bid for the Spartans. They could go to the Rose Bowl with a win over Ohio State or a Buckeyes win and leap into the national title game. MSU could go to the BCS-tied Orange Bowl with a loss. There’s always the chance that a loss could bump them out of the top 14 and the Big Ten only gets one BCS representative.
And then there is this obviously best-case picture.
Mark Dantonio has his staff – specifically Director of Football Operations Tim Allen – crunching BCS numbers. He knows MSU isn’t out of national title hunt and nearly said as much this afternoon after the Spartans beat Minnesota.
Obviously, a lot needs to happen. But who could have predicted the ending of that Auburn-Alabama game? Or that MSU would get to the Big Ten title game after such a putrid start on offense?
And it requires the Spartans to defeat Ohio State next Saturday. First and foremost.
“We’ve put ourselves in position that who knows what can happen at 12-1. Why not us?” Dantonio said. “We’ve got to win 12 first in order to do those things. But you need to dream big and that’s what we’re doing.”
EDIT: As mentioned above, the situation was tenuous and fluid based upon Missouri losing. The fifth-raked Tigers defeated Texas A&M 28-21 to earn a spot against Auburn in the SEC title game. MSU’s very remote dream of playing for a title vanished, but the goal of playing in the Rose Bowl remains entirely realistic.