How Michigan State Will Make It To Indy

EDIT: Wow, so bullet points don't translate to the webpage.  Sorry about that.

After Saturday's huge win over Wisconsin, it does not seem too far fetched to start thinking about Michigan State winning the Legends Division and making it to the first ever B1G Championship Game.  With that will also come a BCS Bowl invitation.

Forewarning: get ready for your head to hurt.

Here is how the division looks right now with who each team has to play still:

  • 1. MSU: 3-0

    • --@ Nebraska
    • --Minnesota
    • --@ Iowa
    • --Indiana
    • --@ Northwestern

  • 2. Michigan: 2-1

    • --Purdue
    • --@ Iowa
    • --@ Illinois
    • --Nebraska
    • --Ohio State

  • 3. Nebraska: 2-1

    • --MSU
    • --Northwestern
    • --@ Penn State
    • --@ Michigan
    • --Iowa

  • 4. Iowa: 2-1

    • --@ Minnesota
    • --Michigan
    • --MSU
    • --@ Purdue
    • --@ Nebraska

  • 5. Minnesota: 0-3

    • --Iowa
    • --@ MSU
    • --Wisconsin
    • --@ Northwestern
    • --Illinois

  • 6. Northwestern: 0-4

    • --@ Indiana
    • --@ Nebraska
    • --Rice
    • --Minnesota
    • --MSU

I'm going to go with the assumption that none of the top 4 teams will lose to either Minnesota, Northwestern, or Purdue.  I won't get ahead of myself too much.  There are still a lot of games left with the top teams still needing to play each other (MSU-Mich) is the only game played between any of the top 4 Legends teams.  With the win over Wisconsin, MSU put themselves in the driver seat.  Winning tomorrow would all but seal up the division.  Easier said than done.  Iowa has a favorable schedule with their home games, but I don't think they have a good enough team this year to take advantage of it.

If MSU loses tomorrow: root your ass off for Michigan to beat Nebraska.  All three teams will be tied but NEB and MICH will still have to play each other.  If Nebraska wins, then it becomes a two-team tie between NEB and MSU.  Nebraska would win the division due to winning head to head against MSU.  If Michigan wins, the two-team tie is between MSU and MICH.  MSU would win the division because of their head to head win.

IF MSU wins tomorrow: root for Nebraska to beat Michigan.  If there is a three way tie with all three having 2 losses in the league (Nebraska beating Michigan and MSU losing two games), MSU would win the three-way tie breaker because their record against the other two teams is 2-0.  Nebraska would be 1-1 and Michigan would be 0-2.

You can find the tie-breaker rules here.

Here it is in my terms:

Two team tie goes to the winner of the head to head game.  That's simple.

Three way tie gets trickier.  If any of the steps provides two teams tied, resort back to the first rule.  First it is divided by the three team's record against the other two teams.  If all three are still tied, the records against division opponents is compared.  Then it goes to record against the next highest ranked team in the division (presumably Iowa).  If for some god forsaken reason the three teams are still tied go to record against all common Big Ten opponents, which would be Ohio State.  That wouldn't help since this scenario I'm assuming Michigan will beat OSU.  Then we go to BCS ranking.  The top team in the rankings takes the bid...unless the second team is within one spot of the top team.  If that happens, the head to head winner goes.  There are still more steps.  I guess if the whole league blows and nobody is ranked in the BCS you need more tie breakers.  I would just not send anybody from the division if it gets to be that bad.  Next, yes next, it comes down to overall winning percentage against all FBS opponents.  This is where the loss to ND hurts MSU.  It doesn't come into play until the 7th step in the process.

Finally if there is still a 3+ way tie, the division representative is decided by a RANDOM DRAW.

That's it.  My head hurts.  Let's just hope MSU wins tomorrow so we don't have to refer to the rest of the junk.  Have faith in Kirk Cousins.  He has looked good the last two games.  Running up the middle will be important.  I don't respect Taylor Martinez's arm and I doubt the MSU defense does either.  The thing about the defense that worries me is a power run game.  With ends that like to get up field to the QB, one LB who is forced to cover TEs and slot receivers in Chris Norman, and the other outside LB being sent on blitzes, it leaves only Max Bullough to defend against the run at point of attack.  One blocker gets second level and it equals an 8 yard run.

Defend the option, be smart with the ball, say an extra prayer.  If it comes down to another hail mary, always trust the QB who is best bros with the big man upstairs to complete it.  In Kirk Cousins' name, Amen.

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