Big Ten BCS hopefuls all in top 15 as season winds down

Big Ten BCS hopefuls all in top 15 as season winds down
November 24, 2013, 8:30 pm
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Vinnie Duber

There are three Big Ten teams in the top 15 of the latest BCS standings, and they all have their eyes on a BCS bowl game.

The only questions though are which ones and how many will actually get there.

With a week left in the regular season, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 11 Michigan State and No. 15 Wisconsin all have BCS dreams. And, it could be argued that despite season-long dissing from pollsters regarding the conference's strength, all three have a pretty good shot at reaching one of college football's biggest stages.

The undefeated Buckeyes, of course, are one of seemingly just three teams in the country with a real shot of winning the national championship. After a rivalry game at reeling Michigan in Week 14, it's a date with Michigan State in the Big Ten title game. If Ohio State wins both, it'll be no worse than the Rose Bowl for the Buckeyes. A little help would get them to the BCS title game, something that's certainly not out of the realm of possibility and in fact much more of a possibility following Baylor's loss on Saturday, removing the Bears from the ranks of undefeated teams. No. 2 Florida State, the team directly ahead of the Buckeyes, still has to win its conference championship game. No. 1 Alabama, meanwhile, faces a two-week gauntlet to get to the battle for the crystal football. A win in this week's Iron Bowl against No. 4 Auburn would send the Crimson Tide to the SEC title game, which brings a matchup with either No. 5 Missouri or No. 10 South Carolina. That's a tough two games.

[MORE BCS: Northern Illinois jumps Fresno State, up two spots in BCS]

Of course, Michigan State hopes the Buckeyes don't have to worry about getting help, instead wanting to dash the BCS dreams of the Columbus faithful with a win in the Big Ten title game. Regardless of what happens this week against Minnesota, a Michigan State win in the Big Ten title game would send the Spartans to the Rose Bowl. There's probably some sort of BCS uber-chaos that could still end with a one-loss Michigan State team in the national title game, but not even the Internet has enough room for all those scenarios.

Wisconsin's hopes at reaching a BCS bowl game with its two losses probably hinge on Ohio State. The Buckeyes are one of just two teams to down the Badgers this season, and if they were to win the Big Ten title, that would make the Badgers look all the better. A resume battle would likely ensue between Wisconsin and Michigan State, and Wisconsin has the edge there. The Badgers have lost by a combined 12 points to No. 3 Ohio State and No. 12 Arizona State. Michigan State's current lone loss came against No. 25 Notre Dame. Again, the hypotheticals can make your head spin.

The good news for the Big Ten is that, while it's still a top-heavy conference somewhat deserving of the week-to-week eye rolling that commences when one of the powers racks up an easy win, there are three teams all capable of reaching BCS bowl games, and likely, the Big Ten will get two teams into the most prestigious bowl games.