The 2010 Big Ten Conference Championship could now be decided by the final 2010 BCS standings. Under Big Ten Conference tie-breakers, if there are three teams left tied at the top and one team hasn’t beaten the other two, it falls upon the final BCS standings to determine a champion. Currently three schools are tied at the top of the 2010 Big Ten Conference standings, and if they both win their final two games, they will remain stuck in the BCS tie-breaker system. It’s a terrible way to lose a tie-breaker if you are one of the two schools that get eliminated.
Right now Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Michigan State are tied atop the Big Ten standings at 9-1. Michigan State beat Wisconsin and Wisconsin beat Ohio State, but Ohio State and Michigan State didn’t play this year, convoluting things even further. Without a conference championship game, things fall to the tie-breaker format in the Big Ten, and that will make things a complete mess to decide which team gets an automatic spot in the BCS bowl games. All three schools have two Big Ten Conference games remaining on their 2010 schedule, and barring upsets, the Big Ten champion will be decided by voters outside of the conference.
The week 12 BCS standings have Wisconsin at No. 7, Ohio State at No. 9, and Michigan State at No. 12. If the season ended today, Wisconsin would then win the final tie-breaker, and take the Big Ten spot in the Rose Bowl. The other two schools aren’t necessarily eliminated from BCS bowl contention though, as they could be given one of both of the at-large invites. It’s not exactly the fairest way for Wisconsin to win the Big Ten Championship, but there are still several weeks for voters around the country to sort this thing out. The possibility also exists that one of two of the schools could be upset.
On paper, Ohio State has the toughest schedule remaining, with games against Iowa this weekend and Michigan on Nov. 27. Iowa is currently ranked No. 20 in the BCS standings, and the Michigan game is their big rivalry during the year. Wisconsin just has to get past Michigan (on the road) and Northwestern, while Michigan State just needs to bear Purdue and Penn State. The Michigan Wolverines could now create a huge mess if they were able to win out their 2010 regular season, creating a scenario where Michigan State would cruise into the Rose Bowl.