Big Ten race update: Week 12

Saturday's results provided a bit more clarity to the Big Ten division races heading into the final two weeks. It left three teams in control of their own fate -- Michigan State, Wisconsin and Penn State -- and put several others (Iowa, Ohio State) behind the proverbial 8-ball.

Here's where things stand heading into the final two weeks:


Controls own fate (can reach league title game by winning out): Michigan State (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten)

Alive but needs help: Nebraska (8-2, 4-2); Michigan (8-2, 4-2)

On life support: Iowa (6-4, 3-3)

Michigan State put itself in the driver's seat Saturday with an impressive 37-21 win at Iowa, its first at Kinnick Stadium since 1989. The Spartans can clinch the division title this week if they beat Indiana at home and Michigan beats Nebraska in Ann Arbor. While it might pain Spartans fans to pull for the Maize and Blue, this is the week to do so.

Michigan State also can clinch with wins against Indiana and next week at Northwestern.

Nebraska will be rooting against Michigan State the rest of the way. If the Huskers win out and the Spartans stumble once, Big Red will head to Indy. Michigan also will need the Spartans to stumble down the stretch, as the Wolverines will lose a head-to-head tiebreaker with Mark Dantonio's team.

Iowa needs to win out and hope both Michigan State and Michigan lose.

Basically, it's all in Michigan State's hands right now.

Here are the full division tiebreakers.

Cumulative records of the remaining opponents on each contender's schedule:

Michigan State: 6-14

Nebraska: 14-6

Michigan: 14-6

Iowa: 13-7


Controls own fate: Penn State (8-2, 5-1); Wisconsin (8-2, 6-2)

Alive but needs help: Ohio State (6-4, 3-3)

On life support: Purdue (5-5, 3-3)

As long as Wisconsin beats Illinois this week in Champaign, the Leaders Division title will be decided Nov. 26 when the Badgers host Penn State.

The Badgers will head to Indianapolis if they win out because they'll be the only Leaders Division team with two Big Ten losses. Penn State will clinch the division with a win this week at Ohio State and a Wisconsin loss to Illinois. Even if Penn State loses and Wisconsin wins, the Lions can win the division by beating the Badgers in Madison.

Ohio State really hurt itself with Saturday's loss to Purdue. The Buckeyes need to win out and hope Wisconsin loses once. Ohio State also needs to avoid a head-to-head tiebreaker with Purdue.

The Boilers, who have lost to both Wisconsin and Penn State, must win out and hope the Badgers and Lions both lose their Week 12 matchups. Purdue's trump card is its win against Ohio State, and it needs to put itself in a position to use it.

Cumulative records of the remaining opponents on each contender's schedule:

Penn State: 14-6

Wisconsin: 14-6

Ohio State: 16-4

Purdue: 7-13