The Leaders Division held a de facto faceoff for a berth in the Big Ten title game, and the Wisconsin Badgers left no doubt that they belonged in a 62-14 shellacking of the Indiana Hoosiers. On the other side of the conference, Nebraska will represent the Legends Division in Indianapolis if they can win out after holding off their toughest remaining opponent in Penn State.
Ohio State and Penn State's eligibility left only four teams available for the Big Ten Championship game in the Leaders Division. Of those, Illinois and Purdue entered Week 11 play without having won a single conference game. So although they were only 4-5 entering the game, the Hoosiers had a shot to make it to Indianapolis to play the conference championship near their home turf. It didn't work out, as Wisconsin clinched a spot in the game with an explosion that featured double-digit points in every quarter. They'll play Ohio State - which is still undefeated with a chance to win the division title - next Saturday in Madison.
Both contenders to face the Badgers won in improbable fashion Saturday as well: the Cornhuskers ran off 12 straight points in the fourth quarter for their NCAA-leading fourth double-digit second half comeback of the season, besting Penn State 32-23 thanks in part to a botched call when a Penn State touchdown was ruled a fumble recovered in the end zone by Nebraska. Michigan kept pace by winning an overtime thriller, 37-31 against Northwestern, on the strength of a Roy Roundtree catch on a tipped Hail Mary. But since they don't hold the tiebreaker, the Wolverines need Nebraska to lose against either Minnesota or Iowa to win the division title.
Here's a look at the full conference standings:
Big 10 Conference Standings
(updated 11.11.2012 at 1:26 AM CST)
|Ohio St. Buckeyes||6||0||10||0|
|Penn St. Nittany Lions||4||2||6||4|
|Illinois Fighting Illini||0||6||2||8|
|Minnesota Golden Gophers||2||4||6||4|
|Michigan St. Spartans||2||4||5||5|