Big Ten race update: Week 11

The Big Ten title race remained intact despite some shaky moments in the state of Indiana.

Iowa received a real scare in Bloomington before escaping Memorial Stadium with an 18-13 victory. Wisconsin came out flat in West Lafayette before turning things around with authority in the second half against Purdue.

Michigan State, meanwhile, avoided any anxiety in handling Minnesota to enter its open week at 9-1.

So we're still looking at four teams with just one conference loss and three weeks left in the regular season. The picture isn't expected to change in Week 11 as Wisconsin, Ohio State and Iowa all will be favored in their matchups, while Michigan State is off. Then again, these teams should learn from Week 10 never to take their foot off of the gas.

Northwestern has given Iowa all sorts of trouble, winning three of the teams' last four meetings, while a confident Penn State team heads to Columbus on a three-game win streak. Wisconsin gets the more favorable draw with Indiana, but the Hoosiers played the Badgers tough last year.

Many of you still ask about the Big Ten tiebreaker scenarios, and they're worth another look.

If two teams are tied: Head-to-head result is the first tiebreaker, followed by overall record and then highest-ranked team in the final BCS standings

  • Example: If Ohio State and Michigan State both are tied at 7-1, the team ranked higher in the final BCS standings would earn the berth because the teams would have identical overall records (11-1) and didn't play each other

If three teams are tied, here are the tiebreakers in order ...

  • If one team beat both of the other teams, it earns the berth

  • If two teams beat the third team, the third team is eliminated and the two-team tiebreaker commences

  • If two teams haven't played, overall record is used to eliminate. If one team has a better overall mark than the other two, it earns the berth. If one team is eliminated because of a weaker overall record, the other teams revert to the two-team tiebreaker.

  • If all three teams have the same overall record, the team ranked highest in the final BCS standings earns the berth


  • If Michigan State, Wisconsin and Iowa tie at 7-1, Iowa would be eliminated because of a weaker overall record (10-2 vs. 11-1). The two-team tiebreaker then goes into effect and Michigan State would win based on its head-to-head victory against Wisconsin.

  • If Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State tie at 7-1: All three teams would have the same overall record (11-1), and because Michigan State and Ohio State don't play, the team with the highest ranking in the final BCS standings gets the berth.

Enjoy the race. I know I will.