The Big Ten has suffered this season because of the Ohio State Buckeyes and Penn State Nittany Lions' NCAA sanctions. In fact, the Buckeyes are undefeated this season and would be in the thick of the national championship hunt if not for their postseason ban. Instead, the Leaders Division is going to send their third-place team, the Wisconsin Badgers, to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game.
However, the Legends Division is as competitive as ever. With the Michigan Wolverines and Nebraska Cornhuskers each cruising to easy victories this afternoon, both squads are locked in a heated battle for the final spot in the Big Ten title game. Each squad boasts a 6-1 conference record.
However, Nebraska beat Michigan in Lincoln back in October, so the Cornhuskers currently hold the tiebreaker.
Nebraska still has to beat the Iowa Hawkeyes to ensure a chance to play for a Rose Bowl berth, but they should be viewed as locks to take care of business next weekend. Let's take a look at why Nebraska will be playing in Indianapolis against Wisconsin in December.
Michigan Must Play Ohio State
Ohio State is one of the best teams in college football. They have not been talked about in the same breath at Notre Dame, Kansas State and Oregon because the Buckeyes are not bowl eligible. However, there is nothing that Oho State wants more than to beat Michigan in the Horseshoe in front of a national television audience.
Michigan has been playing great football as of late. Devin Gardner's emergence has allowed Brady Hoke to use Denard Robinson in a variety of ways. Furthermore, the Wolverines defense has only given up an average of 18 points per game. This will not be a cakewalk for the Buckeyes.
However, Michigan has not beaten Ohio State in Columbus since 2000. Braxton Miller is a Heisman Trophy candidate and has allowed the Buckeyes to run a dynamic spread-option offense. Ohio State will be favored in this one.
Nebraska Is Better Than Iowa
Will Nebraska Play for the Big Ten Championship?
Nebraska has had some shaky performances on the road this season. Both of their losses came on the road, and they allowed Northwestern to play them to within a point in Evanston. However, the Cornhuskers are undoubtedly a better football team than Iowa.
There is no reason the Cornhuskers should not be able to beat a Hawkeyes team that was embarrassed in Ann Arbor on Saturday afternoon. Iowa has nothing to play for, while Nebraska has a trip to the Big Ten Championship on the line.
Furthermore, Iowa has lost their last five games in a row. They possess the nation's 101st-ranked rushing defense and the 96th-ranked pass defense. There is no way the Hawkeyes are going to be able to stay with Taylor Martinez and Co. if the game turns into a shootout.
Anything can happen in college football. It is truly a game of parity. However, Nebraska could not ask for a better scenario heading into the final week of the regular season. With Michigan playing the best team in the Big Ten, the Cornhuskers should be able to coast to the conference title game against Wisconsin.