'The Game' could be relevant again.
Thanks to Saturday's surprising results, Michigan and Ohio State could decide both the Legends and Leaders Division title when they meet in Ann Arbor on November 26.
Ohio State climbed back into the Leaders battle with an exciting, 33-29 come-from-behind win over the luckless Wisconsin Badgers in Columbus.
For Ohio State to play for the Leaders title, they must run the table, including a defeat over Penn State. The Nittany Lions would also have to lose to either Nebraska or Wisconsin.
Michigan helped its cause with a convincing 36-14 win over upstart Purdue, while Michigan State was pummeled at Nebraska 24-3.
For Michigan to play for the Legends title, the Wolverines must run the table while the Spartans lose at either Iowa or Northwestern. Iowa dimmed its hopes by losing to Minnesota 22-21.
Sounds a bit far-fetched, but not in the topsy-turvy 2011 Big Ten.
You'll be hearing more and more about the different possibilities and scenarios as the last month of the season progresses.
Of course, there might be a tie or ties in either division. If two teams tie for the division crown, the winner of the head-to-head matchup goes to the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis, Dec. 3.
Here's how the Big Ten Conference will settle the many different scenarios:
"The following procedure will determine the representative from each division in the event of a tie:
a. If two teams are tied, the winner of the game between the two tied teams shall be the representative
- b.If three or more teams are tied, steps 1 through 7 will be followed until a determination is made. If only two teams remain tied after any step, the winner of the game between the two tied teams shall be the representative.
- 1.The records of the three tied teams will be compared against each other
- 2.The records of the three tied teams will be compared within their division
- 3.The records of the three teams will be compared against the next highest placed teams in their division in order of finish (4, 5, and 6)
- 4.The records of the three teams will be compared against all common conference opponents;
- 5.The highest ranked team in the first Bowl Championship Series Poll following the completion of Big Ten regular season conference play shall be the representative in the Big Ten Championship Game, unless the two highest ranked tied teams are ranked within one spot of each other in the BCS poll. In this case, the head-to-head results of the top two ranked tied teams shall determine the representative in the Big Ten Championship
- 6.The team with the best overall winning percentage [excluding exempted games] shall be the representative
- 7.The representative will be chosen by random draw."
During the offseason, very few expected the Michigan-Ohio State battle to have such consequences. The Wolverines were smarting after three bad seasons under Rich Rodriguez, and the Buckeyes were battling the NCAA.
When the smoked cleared, Michigan hired Brady Hoke as its new coach, and Ohio State appointed Luke Fickell as the interim mentor.
The Wolverines have made it this far with their defense, which has allowed just 14.6 points per game, a far cry from the 35.2 a season ago.
Ohio State is still alive due to a pair of devastating losses for Wisconsin. Two weeks in a row, the Badgers have lost in the final seconds.
So call it luck, fate or just what Michigan-Ohio State usually becomes.
No, the two teams won't be playing for all the marbles, but there could be a title, or two, on the line. That is if 'The Game' actually needs it.