Granted, it’s pretty silly to talk about Big Ten championship scenarios sitting three games in at 1-2 in the conference, but this was a topic during the Monday press conference at the Junge Center.  Stevie Brown (and others IIRC) discussed the possibility on winning the rest of their games and claiming the Big Ten Championship, maybe even earning a trip to the Rose Bowl.  Brown:

"I have a feeling,” Brown said. “I don’t know if anybody else has a feeling, but I have this feeling. If we can win out, I think we have a chance that we might be able to make it to the Rose Bowl."

Brown acknowledged they’d need some help.

Taking a look at that help, the Rose Bowl is effectively out of reach purely via the automatic Big Ten bid.  To even get to a tie-breaker, these things must happen:

  • Michigan wins out.  Of course.
  • Iowa loses twice.  Those will likely have to be Saturday in East Lansing and in November in Columbus.  Certainly possible.  The rest of the slate is at home against IU, Minnesota and Northwestern and you have to assume they’ll handle those teams.
  • Michigan State loses at least one more game after beating Iowa, perhaps to Penn State or at Purdue.  State doesn’t face the Buckeyes.
  • Penn State and Ohio State play each other, so with the assumptions above one of these teams will end up with at least three losses and be out.  

    Here are the likely tie-break scenarios for the potential two-loss Big Ten teams:

    1. Tie with only Iowa: Michigan is eliminated due to head-to-head.  
    2. Tie with only Michigan State.  If somehow the Hawkeyes completely collapse and lose three games, Michigan is out based on head-to-head with Spartans.
    3. Three-way tie with Iowa and Michigan State.  Michigan is eliminated because the other teams defeated Michigan.  And Michigan State earns the bid due to the theoretical win Saturday night.
    4. Three-way tie with Iowa and Penn State.   Tough to comprehend this one, as strange things would have to happen to Iowa and MSU after Saturday, but in this case the tie-breaker would go to Iowa, who defeated both Michigan and Penn State.
    5. Three-way tie with Iowa and Ohio State.  Brutal.  So assuming Iowa loses in Columbus for hopefully their second loss, you’ll have no single team that has defeated the other two.  This year the tie-break reverted back to overall winning percentage (after head-to-head) which would eliminate the Buckeyes (who lost to USC non-conference) and then leave Iowa and Michigan in a two team tie-break, with the Hawkeyes eliminating Michigan based on head-to-head. 

    In each case the Wolverines are eliminated. 
    The only scenario that gets Michigan the automatic BCS bid requires Iowa to lose three games.  Bollocks.  Once Iowa is out of the picture, our chances are wonderful!  ;)
    In a Michigan-Michigan State-Penn State three way tie, assuming the Lions beat the Spartans and the rest of their schedule, Michigan State would actually be eliminated due to overall winning percentage, then the tie-break would go to Michigan who beat Penn State head-to-head.  In a Michigan-MSU-Ohio State three way tie, OSU and Michigan State are eliminated based on overall % and Michigan gets through.  And obviously the Wolverines would win two-way ties with just Penn State or Ohio State.
    A more likely path to Pasadena would be for Iowa to run the table and get the bid to the BCS Championship (also in Pasadena) and open the door for an at-large bid.  Dave Birkett:

If Iowa stays undefeated, however, and Michigan wins out – the Wolverines host No. 13 Penn State this week and have games remaining against Illinois, Purdue, Wisconsin and Ohio State – the Wolverines could go as an at-large selection.

The Rose Bowl hosts the national championship game. If a Big Ten or Pac-10 team plays for the BCS title, the game gets first or second pick from the pool of at-large replacements.

That still might be a stretch, as the Rose Bowl would probably feel satisfied that they’ve honored the Big Ten/Pac 10 tradition with Iowa playing in the big one.


  1. That gave me a headache. Worst part is………..I understood it. Go Blue!

  2. Complete pipe dream to anyone who thinks Michigan will win the Big Ten, be happy if you can end up 4-4 in the Big Ten this year. You have 3 games left in which you will/are underdogs (Penn St, Wisconsin Ohio State) and 2 games that you will be a favorite (Illinois, Purdue), if you can pull of one “upset” and win the other two games your favored in you should take it and accept 4-4.

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