Big Ten Football: A Championship Game Would Not Have Helped This Year
A lot of people have been talking about a Big Ten Championship Game solving the three-way tie in the Big Ten.
While it would decide an outright champion, it is not the solution this year.
Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State all finished 11-1 overall and 6-1 in the Big Ten. Michigan State beat Wisconsin, Wisconsin beat Ohio State and Michigan State and Ohio State did not play each other.
First of all, you cannot split 11 teams into two divisions. If they did use the divisions that will start once Nebraska joins, Michigan State would have won their division and Wisconsin would have won theirs.
Michigan State and Wisconsin would play in the Big Ten Championship at a neutral site. Whoever won would go to the Rose Bowl. Whoever lost would have two losses.
Unfortunately, this would cause some problems with the BCS.
OSU would be sitting at 11-1 and sixth in the BCS. They would probably still get in to the BCS. The loser of the championship game would have an argument that it would be better to finish third in the Big Ten and not play than to play and lose a Rose Bowl berth.
If they did not have divisions, how would they choose two teams to play for the Big Ten title this year?
Who Should go to the Rose Bowl?
No matter who played in the Big Ten Championship Game this year, the other team would be slighted. This is the same problem you have now. And again, the third place team left out of the game would be in a prime spot for a BCS berth, just not the Rose Bowl.
There is no easy way to break three-way ties, especially when all the teams do not play each other. The only solution this year would have been a 10-game Big Ten schedule. That way, OSU and MSU would have played each other.
Everyone could have dropped Notre Dame from their schedules, played two “cupcake” games and a 10-game regular Big Ten season. This way, either OSU or MSU would have two losses. The winner of that game would have head-to-head against Wisconsin.
Any way you slice it, someone is going to feel slighted.
Wisconsin looks like they are headed to the Rose Bowl. Yes, they lost to MSU, but they beat OSU. They were the only team to play both other title contenders. They also did host a Pacific-10 Arizona State team and travel to Las Vegas to face UNLV.
OSU will probably get the other BCS bid. They hosted Atlantic Coast Conference's Miami (FL) and did not play an FCS team. Plus, OSU has some crazy fans that will go anywhere in the country to watch their team. They usually sell out their allotment.
MSU did beat Wisconsin, but who else? They beat eight bowl-bound teams. Besides Wisconsin, the best team is 7-5. They also played nine games in the state of Michigan. When they left the state, they struggled and barely won or lost (Iowa).
In any situation, championship game or not, one team that deserves to go to a BCS is not going. This is not the year that a Big Ten Championship Game would have helped.
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